I highly recommend that you read this entire article! This expert on fitness and strength has a few take aways. Keep in mind muscle mass is important for everyone as far as health goes (makes your stronger, better balance, better metabolism, less diabetes etc…) but especially as we age. Some highlights of the article below, though he goes into much more detail.
1. You can lose muscle mass very quickly if you’re sedentary or in the hospital. Very quickly.
2. For older adults especially, you need more protein for a number of reasons.
3. You want to exercise before you eat protein if possible, because it triggers muscles to incorporate protein. And that means even just walking around the block might help, not necessarily a full blown work out.
4. The optimal “dose” of protein is 20 grams if you weigh 175 pounds. Which means you probably won’t absorb much more than this. And you want to hit this amount 4 or 5 times a day (!!) Which I assume to mean that a big bolus of protein is not as optimal as more spaced out “doses”. This makes it quite clear to me that I’m not getting enough protein for optimal muscle synthesis…
5. If you ingest 40 g of protein before bed it can improve muscle synthesis.
6. We start losing muscle mass as we age, and often it’s all at once. After a fall or an operation. And it’s hard to get it back.
7. Chew your food. The more you do to break it down before it gets into your system the better.