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Protein and the Older Woman



The Anti-Aging Effects of Protein

By Leokadia Angela

Protein is the chief building material of your body. Eighteen per cent of your total body weight is pure protein.

For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then approximately 27 pounds of you are pure protein that needs constant repairing, replacing and rebuilding-with more protein, of course.

If you were to analyze a single cell taken from any part of your body-a hair in your head, the tissue in your heart, the lining of your intestines, the muscles in your legs- you would find this tiny cell composed chiefly of protein.

And, like the parts of any constantly operated, non-resting machine, your body cells are continually wearing out, needing repairs or replacements. So what are you going to do? Patch up your protein body cells with carbohydrates? Just try patching a rubber tire on your car with flour-and-water paste, and see how far you'll get! Protein should be the featured food in your diet at all times.

The perpetual-motion human machine must have abundant protein every day in order to repair, replace and renew worn-out cells in every part of your body. When you don't supply enough high-protein foods in your daily diet to make certain that these vitally needed cell repairs and replacements can go on without interruption, you're inviting old age to take over.

In the laboratories, nutritional scientists and biochemists have proved that a diet poor in proteins hastens aging in the human body. I could cite you case after case of elderly persons, weakened by tea-and-toast diets to the point of imminent death, who have been restored to life and usefulness by gradually converting their meals to high-protein foods. Their weakened bodies gained new vigor, and their minds become keen and alert once more.

Nobody who has witnessed these recoveries, as I have, could ever deny that protein foods are truly nutritional wonders. A grievous error has been committed for many years by some medical men who ban high-protein foods such as red meats and cheese as "too heavy" for older digestions.

Through this ignorance of the vital part protein plays in preserving youthfulness and maintaining life, such men have "prescribed" invalidism and premature death for many an older person who otherwise could have enjoyed many more years of an active, useful life.

Protein foods are the main factor in prolonging youth for the past-forty group, and in maintaining physical vigor and mental alertness in the aged.

Several things start happening to your body cells as the calendar years begin slipping past the forty mark. Biologists tell us that "aging is a matter of changes in your tissue cells."

First, the tissue cells in older bodies are less elastic, less resilient, less able to recover quickly from fatigue and injury than the cells in younger bodies. Second, the active cells in the older body (especially those in your glands and muscles) gradually grow fewer.

Bearing in mind what I've already told you about the great restorative powers of protein on body cells (as evidenced by the case histories of those protein-starved elderly patients miraculously restored to life and usefulness), isn't it sheer logic that the more years you carry, the more repair material you need each day?

And what is that "repair material" except food protein. The more enlightened of our physicians today recognize how wrong it is to eliminate high-protein foods from the diet of the average patient.

Yet there still remain the diehard doctors who cling to the out-of-date theory that certain ailments such as arthritis, high blood pressure, certain kidney diseases, hardening of the arteries and diabetes mean "cutting down on," if not eliminating entirely, meat in the patient's diet.

There is the case of a thirty-nine-year-old woman, well known to me, who developed rheumatoid arthritis several years ago. Weighing all of a scant 105 pounds, she had dieted strenuously for years to keep from getting fat; she had existed mostly on tea and dry toast.

Since becoming arthritic, her physician had kept her on a no-meat diet, his reasoning being that meat was "bad" for her condition.

About the time I started writing this book, word reached me that she had collapsed from weakness and severe nutritional anemia and had been rushed to the hospital.

This came as no surprise to me, for I had anticipated some such climax to her case in view of her "no-meat" diet. For days, while she remained in the hospital, she was given injections of various concentrated nutriments in an effort to overcome the anemia, and to give her strength enough to sit in a chair.

I don't need to tell you that this woman, although only thirty-nine years old, looked a good twenty years older on the day she was taken to the hospital.

A flagrant case of induced premature aging-induced by both her own senseless dieting and her doctor's ignorance.

Like most stories, this one has a sequel. Thanks to the common sense of the young doctor now in charge of her case, this woman is taking mineral capsules containing iron in order to build up her blood hemoglobin. Also, he has ordered her to eat three high-protein meals a day.

When last I had word of her, she had recovered sufficient use of her swollen arthritic hands to do some sewing-and to wash the Venetian blinds in her home-all this in only three short months from the time she was carried to the hospital, a victim of extreme nutritional exhaustion.

But, as a rule, you cannot look to your doctor to help you stay young. He is a repair man, not a rejuvenator. Your determined campaign to retain the wonderful feeling of youth which seems to be slipping away should begin with your next meal-a meal built around protein.

"How much protein? And what kind?" you ask. Which leads us to the old riddle: How much is enough?

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