Here's Why Women Need More Protein As They Age

There’s no underestimating the importance of protein when it comes to helping our bodies to function optimally. As well as maintaining energy levels and supporting cellular growth and immunity, adequate protein intake is responsible for building muscles, maintaining muscle mass and improving bone health, which makes it especially important as we get older.

As we age our muscles begin to lose mass and the number and size of muscle fibre (found in muscle tissue) decreases. At the same time, natural ageing also causes our bodies to process protein differently and less efficiently, meaning we’re less easily able to get what we need more of, in order to support ourselves. While this natural process happens in both men and women, women have the added physiological stress of menopause, a key stage in a woman’s life where hormonal shifts can cause a huge change in body composition and function and result in decreased muscle mass as a result.

According to research, plunging levels of oestrogen during menopause can impact muscle and bone mass and result in sarcopenia, a condition in which muscle function declines. To help support these changes, consuming enough protein is critical. While the RDA for adults is around 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight, experts recommend that older women or women going through the menopause eat around 1.0g to 1.2g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to support these bodily changes; for scale, a single egg has 7g of protein while 100g of chicken contains 27g of protein. If that seems like a lot, try breaking it down into small, more digestible portions throughout the day, which some experts say is preferable to consuming it all in one go.

Ways to up your protein intake

Replace your usual breakfast choices with an egg-based breakfast, as eggs are a great, easy and digestible source of protein. Three eggs contain about 19g of protein so a quick dish of scrambled eggs on sourdough toast is not only delicious and filling but is a good, protein-packed breakfast option.

Adds chopped nuts and seeds to your meals. Rich in protein as well as fibre and good fats, nuts and seeds are a great way to increase your protein without too much hassle. A small serving of almonds contains around 6g of protein while 100g pumpkin seeds is around 30g.

Bulking out your lunchtime salad with a protein source like salmon (25g of protein) or chicken or turkey (30g of protein) is an easy way to get more protein into your diet quickly.

Protein powders are not only a great choice if you’re working out or need to up your protein intake quickly, they’re convenient and there’s no cooking required. Workshop’s Organic Vanilla Pea Protein Formula is a dairy-free, vegan, easily digestible source.