Adults 65+ are staying engaged, healthier and active longer. Good nutrition is key for supporting this vibrant living as we age, especially so as we are expected to live longer.
To stay healthy and independent as we grow older, it’s important to tackle common challenges like chronic illnesses, muscle loss, frailty, and falls, all of which can be improved with good nutrition.

This is not medical advice. Always follow the advice of your health care provider.

A diet rich in protein and other nutrients is essential for aging well. Eat well to:

Startling Canadian stats for adults aged 65+

Navigating Nutrition: Unique Considerations for Older Adults

Protein for health and strength

Older adults need more protein because our bodies are less efficient at using protein for muscle repair and growth. With adequate protein and regular resistance exercise we can slow down and even reverse muscle and bone loss as we age.10



How much protein do older adults need for optimal strength?

Protein needs can vary. Talk to your health care provider for personalized advice.

Dietitian tip: Animal foods (meats, seafood, dairy) are richer in protein compared to plants (grains, legumes, and nuts) so including animal foods allows older adults, especially those with reduced appetites, to more easily meet their protein needs.
For overall good nutrition, aim to have a mix of animal and plant-sourced protein foods.

Here’s what 35 grams of protein looks like

Source: Health Canada, Canadian Nutrient File, 2015, Beef 6172, Almonds 2534, Peanut Butter 6289, Hummus 4870, Black Beans 3377. Nutrient amounts rounded as per 2016 CFIA labelling rounding rules *Table of Reference Amounts for Food:

How the nutrients in beef support healthy aging

A little beef goes a long way to provide many of the key nutrients needed for healthy aging. Beef provides an excellent source of protein for a modest serving –  about 100 grams, the size of the palm of your hand. Beef also contains 7 of the nutrients that many Canadians are lacking in their diets: iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B12, B6 and thiamine all of which support optimal good health and wellbeing.13

Animal-sourced foods provide unique benefits

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
3 key findings of a recent FAO report, based on the most comprehensive analysis to date of the role of animal-sourced foods in diets.14
Animal-sourced foods are especially vital for older adults.
Eating lean red meat has positive effects on muscle health.
Meat, eggs, and milk provide much-needed essential nutrients that cannot easily be obtained from plant-based foods.

Cook once, eat twice.

Enjoy this delicious Bombay Beef Steak with Curried Roasted Cauliflower dinner and transform the leftovers into a speedy lunch.
Concerned about cholesterol?
Over 20 years of research has shown that eating unprocessed red meat (ground beef, steaks, roasts) will not raise your cholesterol.16 For most people it’s the highly processed foods you need to focus on cutting back on such as crackers, cookies, ice cream, frozen waffles or pizza, pop, chips and chocolate.
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Click For References

1. Globe and Mail article by Ann Hui. 2023. To avoid malnutrition in seniors, ‘tiny little interventions’ can  go a long way.

2. Canadian Frailty Network – What is Frailty?

3. Osteoporosis Canada. 2023. Clinical practice guideline for management of osteoporosis and fracture prevention in Canada: 2023 update.

4. Papadopoulou SK et al. Differences in the prevalence of sarcopenia in community dwelling, nursing  home and hospitalized individuals. A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Nutr Health Aging  2020;24(1):83-90.

5. Elections Canada. 2012. Research note – Canadian seniors: A demographic profile. 

6. Azevedo, F. A., Ludmila, R. B., Carvalho, L. T., et al. (2009, Apr 10). Equal numbers of neuronal and nonneuronal cells make the human brain an isometrically scaled-up primate brain. J Comp Neurol. 513(5):532-541.

7. Bourre, J. M., (2006 Sep-Oct). Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 2: macronutrients. J Nutr Health Aging. 10(5):386-399.

8. Volpi E, Nazemi R, Fujita S. Muscle tissue changes with aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004 Jul;7(4):405-10.

9. You W, Henneberg R, Saniotis A, Ge Y, and Henneberg M. Total meat intake is associated with life expectancy: A cross-sectional data analysis of 175 contemporary populations. Int J Gen Med 2022;15:1833-1851.

10. Traylor DA, Gorissen SHM, Phillips SM. Perspective: Protein Requirements and Optimal Intakes in Aging: Are We Ready to Recommend More Than the Recommended Daily Allowance? Adv Nutr. 2018 May 1;9(3):171-182.

11. Osteoporosis Canada. 2023. Clinical practice guideline for management of osteoporosis and fracture  prevention in Canada: 2023 update.

12. Hengeveld LM, Chevalier S, Visser M, et al. Prospective associations of protein intake parameters with muscle strength and physical performance in community-dwelling older men and women from the Quebec NuAge cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021;113(4):972–83.

13. Based on 100g Cooked Beef, Health Canada, Canadian Nutrient File, 2015. Food code 6172. % Daily Values calculated based on Health Canada’s 2016 Nutrition Labeling Table of Daily Values.

14. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Contribution of terrestrial animal source food to healthy diets for improved nutrition and health outcomes – An evidence and policy overview on the state of knowledge and gaps. 2023.

15. Johnston BC et al. Unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption: dietary guideline recommendations from the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS)  Consortium. Ann Intern Med 2019;171:756-764

16. Mente A, et al. PURE – Association of dietary quality and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in more than 218,000 people from over 50 countries. European Society of Cardiology Congress, 2018; Abstract 5160, as reported by the American College of Cardiology: PURE: Healthy Diet Including Dairy and Meats May Be Good For Hearts Worldwide and Medscape: PURE Diet Score Recommends 7 Foods, Including Dairy and Meat.

17. Roussell MA et al. Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet Study: effects on lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins. Am J Clin Nutr 2012; 95(1): 9–16.

18. Iqbal R et al. Associations of unprocessed and processed meat intake with mortality and cardiovascular disease in 21 countries [Prospective Urban Rural  Epidemiology (PURE) Study]: a prospective cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr 2021; 00:1-10.


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