How To Keep Your Muscles Strong
Fact of life: as we age we lose muscle strength. But is pumping iron the only answer? Not according to a new study. The answer to muscle building could be in your diet. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that eating more protein can help seniors slow down muscle loss and stay strong. (High-protein foods include meat, eggs, cheese and peanuts; choose low-fat or lean options whenever possible.) That’s a simple message, but it may be easier said than done.
Studies also show on average, seniors tend to eat less protein than younger people do, and they often don’t get as much as the USDA recommends each day – about 7 grams (g) for every 20 pounds you weigh (so approximately 52.5 g for someone weighing 150 pounds). In fact, 27 percent of older Americans eat less protein than they need in order to stay healthy.
What’s more, the study also reported that even seniors who were physically active still had about 26 pounds less muscle mass than younger people did – meaning exercise by itself may not stave off muscle loss.
The study also confirms aging doesn’t make any difference in how your body uses protein to make muscle. In other words, the more protein you eat the more muscle your body makes.
One caveat: Eating an extremely high protein diet for a long time could weaken your bones. So what’s the answer? Make your goal to get the recommended daily allowance of protein.