In case you hadn't noticed, middle-aged men - think George Clooney (51), Denzel Washington (58) and Jeff Bridges (63) - are all the rage these days. But to stand up under this heavy burden of adoration (it can weigh on sore joints), men of that certain age need to add more protein to their diets.
If guys heading toward the big 6-0 want to keep or build muscle mass, they need to increase the amount of protein they eat - especially after each resistance workout. (You do lift weights, right?) One study found that doubling intake from 21 grams to 42 grams of protein is optimal for building more muscle fibers and keeping a toned physique. (The Institute of Medicine recommends that men ages 19 to 70 and up eat 56 grams of protein a day.)
But no one should get all that protein from fatty meat. Get some from more healthful, skinless poultry and omega-3-rich walnuts, and fish such as salmon and trout. You don't want extra saturated fat (it clogs arteries, wrinkles skin, ruins your sex life and clouds the brain).
Instead, add an extra dose of protein to your diet from grains and vegetables: A cup of beans has 16 grams of protein; lentils have 12 grams; 1 cup of brown rice has 5 grams; and almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews and pine nuts are all loaded, as are spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, chia, tofu and tempeh (1 cup has 41 grams!). So dig in, and by the time Clooney's new movie "Tomorrowland" hits theaters in December 2014, you should be looking pretty buff.