I’ve frequently stressed the importance of maintaining a strong, swift gait (walking pattern) as you get older. In fact, research suggests it’s the single-best overall predictor of longevity.
And now, a new study found there’s something you can do—starting today—to not only improve your gait…
But to SLASH your risk of dying from ANY cause!
It all starts by adding more of these “power” foods to your diet…
“Power” foods tied to increased strength, walking speed, and longevity
As you know, I routinely recommend following a healthy, Mediterranean-type diet—which includes delicious, wholesome foods like meats, seafood, eggs, and dairy.
These “power” foods are the best sources of complete proteins, which the human body desperately needs to build and maintain muscle strength as we age.
And in a new study, researchers looked at the effect of eating more protein on leg strength, gait, mobility, and mortality (death) risk, in particular. They analyzed nearly 300 older adults living independently in Amsterdam and in Helsinki.
At the study’s outset, researchers randomly divided the participants into three groups:
- The first group was advised to increase their daily protein intake to 1.2 gram per kilogram of body weight.
- The second group received the same advice as the first, plus they were told to consume the protein within 30 minutes of exercising.
- The third (control) group received no advice regarding protein—so they continued to eat and conduct their daily activities as before.
After six months, both protein groups showed faster walking times (gait) and leg strength compared to the control group. Specifically:
- The first group completed a 400-meter walking test 12 seconds faster than the control group.
- The second group completed the 400-meter walking test five seconds faster than the control group.
Plus, those in the protein groups with the slowest walking speeds at the study’s outset showed the greatest improvements. In fact, they completed the walking test between 15 and 18 seconds quicker than during their initial test.
After collecting these impressive results, the researchers went one step further and estimated the effect of improved walking speed on death and disability risk…
They estimated that a 12-second improvement would correspond to a:
- 6 percent lower mortality risk
- 10 percent lower risk of disability or reduced mobility
And a 17-second improvement among the slow walkers would correspond to an:
- 8 percent lower mortality risk
- 15 percent lower risk of disability or reduced mobility
Now, let’s talk about what all of this means for you…
Set new goals for daily protein intake
This excellent study on the impact of protein intake and gait on longevity came out of Finland and the Netherlands. And I’m not the least bit surprised…
Because while at the National Institutes of Health in the mid-to-late 1980s, I worked with researchers from Finland. Even back then, they were way ahead of American researchers in terms of accurately measuring body composition, weight, and lean body mass (muscle). In fact, they were already using measurement tools that went way beyond the inadequate body mass index (BMI).
They also seem to have a better understanding about the importance of protein intake for older adults. In fact, I would venture to say that most older adults in America don’t get nearly enough daily protein. And I partly blame the U.S. government’s so-called health “experts,” who warned us for decades to avoid these wholesome “power” foods.
But guess what? Those recommendations were all wrong, all along.
To make matters worse, the government’s current recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is about HALF of what it should be.
In other words, we simply can’t rely on the government’s health “experts” to get diet right. They continue to lag decades behind the science. Instead, we must keep up with the current science by following guidelines established in studies like this.
Overall, I suggest you aim to eat between 1.0 to 1.5 grams of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight a day. Which means:
- If you’re a 200-pound man, strive to eat between 90 to 135 grams of protein per day. Or about 3.2 to 4.8 ounces of protein daily.
- If you’re a 150-pound woman, strive to eat between 68 and 100 grams of protein per day. Or about 2.3 to 3.5 ounces of protein daily.
To calculate your optimal protein intake, simply divide your weight by 2.2 (since there are 2.2 kilograms in one pound).
I should also note that your protein should come from whole foods that contain “complete proteins”—such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. (By comparison, plant sources of protein, such as legumes, don’t contain all the amino acids required by the human body. Therefore, we don’t consider them to be “complete proteins.”)
As a good “rule of thumb,” try to enjoy one daily serving (about the size of your hand) of organic, grass-fed or -finished meat or wild-caught fish. Then, other protein-rich foods like organic eggs from free-range chickens and full-fat dairy can supplement your intake.
If you’re interested in learning more simple, natural strategies to stay vibrant, youthful, and healthy well into your 70s, 80s, 90s—and beyond—I encourage you to check out my protocol, The Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age.” For more information about this unique online learning tool, or to enroll today, simply click here.