Doctor Escribano, do older people have to eat meat?
Meat is an important source of proteins of high biological value. It contains essential amino acids and totally necessary for the proper functioning of the body. In the same way it contains minerals such as iron, selenium and zinc and vitamins of group B, especially B12.
These properties are necessary for the body at all times and ages of life, and especially in the elderly, in which the maintenance of health is more complex, but absolutely necessary. For this reason, the myth that you should not eat meat in old age is totally false.
Should the intake of meat have any restrictions based on age?
In general, the dose of meat in the elderly is in a portion of 100-120 grams of 3.4 and even 5 times a week depending on the levels of muscle mass.
But at these ages it is very normal to suffer from some anemia and neurological disorders. The Vitamin B12 that meat contains is especially indicated in these cases since it intervenes in the formation of red blood cells and the functioning of the nervous system.
The iron contained in meat is very valuable for these anemia problems and qualitatively superior to that contained in vegetables.
For these reasons, not only do you not have to restrict its consumption, but be very careful to comply with the aforementioned amounts and in any case increase them.
What does meat contribute to the health and nutrition of an elderly person?
As I have mentioned, maintaining health is increasingly difficult depending on age, since the different organs deteriorate and the appearance of diseases can increase.
The two factors that help most to maintain health are diet and physical activity, along with smoking and alcohol cessation.
As we are more and more careful with food as we get older, we must maintain the appropriate consumption of each of the foods in force and therefore respect the amount of 0.80 to 1.0 grams per kilo of weight per day.
For a person weighing 70 kg, it is about 65 grams of protein per day of which 20-25 percent must be provided by meat.
With a chronic disease or multiple pathologies, common in the environment of 70 years or more, what should be the consumption of meat?
When they are over 60-65 years old, they are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, anemia, hypertension, etc. For this reason, we must be even more careful than what we have said about following an adequate diet.
In many cases and to avoid weight loss as a consequence of muscle mass loss, the amount of protein must be increased to 1.3 to 1.5 g / kg of weight / day.
Meat provides significant amounts of zinc which, in addition to its function on the endocrine system, helps the physiology of sight and smell, which undergoes considerable deterioration at these ages.
There are elderly people with excellent health, and even with intense sports practice, how should they eat meat?
In many cases, increase it to maintain a dose of natural proteins of more than 1.00 g / kg / day. In the case of athletes of the third age, sometimes they resort to the supplementary intake of synthetic proteins, which is a mistake and can cause kidney problems and other levels.
We must insist on the natural proteins of high biological value in meat as the only option and not forget the essential amino acids that meat contains such as vallina, leucine and isoleucine that even contribute to improving certain biochemical structures that must be optimized during sport.
For the practice of sports, apart from the aforementioned Vitamin B12 and iron, we must not forget that meat has significant amounts of selenium, which is a natural antioxidant that neutralizes the action of free radicals that are generated during sports practice and that accelerate tissue aging, apart from acting directly on thyroid function.
Doctor, is some type, cut or part of the animal better for consumption by the elderly?
Of the 3 to 5 times a week that we have mentioned that it is necessary to optimize its consumption. At least once and even twice a week the meat must be red, since that way we ensure the consumption of iron and the vitamins and minerals mentioned.
The way of presentation and cooking must always be the least intense in terms of time and temperature. Long cooking time and kept in the grill or stew, alters the structure of its components and modifies its properties.