Feeble movements, difficulty getting around for daily errands, and poor balance leading to serious falls are all signs of sarcopenia. This is a medical term describing the muscle loss that is part of the aging process. A progressive decline in muscle mass and strength starts to set in around age 45. Here is the good news. Debilitating loss of muscle is not inevitable. What you eat is as important as getting enough exercise. Here are five tips on foods and vitamins that can help you lessen the risks of muscle loss.
One contributor to muscle loss is not eating enough protein, which the body needs to repair and rebuild muscles. Studies indicate that if you are an older adult, you may not be getting enough high-quality protein to maintain adequate muscle mass. Fitness experts talk about “high quality” or “good” proteins in reference to complete proteins that contain essential amino acids in concentrations necessary for the body to perform certain functions. Incomplete proteins are proteins that are deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids supplied by food.
Instead of grabbing a morning pastry, eat a protein-rich breakfast of scrambled eggs and lean bacon strips. If you are a vegetarian, try a soy-based meatless patty instead of bacon. Drink a glass of low-fat or skim milk for more protein.
Cottage Scoops, Fish Bites
Cottage cheese is rich in protein. It is a tasty addition to a green salad, especially if you add fresh cubed fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries and pineapple. Just a half-cup of cottage cheese, depending on the brand, contains about 14 to 16 grams of protein.
Salmon, tuna, haddock, swordfish, crab, lobster and shrimp are protein-rich seafood that should be part of any nutritious meal plan. Benefits of fish such as salmon, canned sardines and herring are that they also carry good amounts of vitamin D, which is beneficial in retaining muscle mass.
Research has shown that this form of soluble protein found in milk whey can fight the negative effects of sarcopenia. Whey protein is a high quality protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. Consider this as a supplement to the protein-rich foods that you eat.
Follow directions on whey protein powder packets. You may enjoy adding the powder to water, or use orange juice instead for a smoothie effect, or use skim milk to create a creamy shake. Packet directions will show you the options.
Research indicates that vitamin D helps preserve muscle fibers that are prone to atrophy with age. Consume enough foods each day that are rich in vitamin D. This can easily be done by choosing fortified orange juice, fortified milk, fortified cereal, egg, soy milk, and canned sardines.
Creatine and Other Supplements
Creatine is a naturally occurring acid that helps supply energy to muscles and may help curb the loss of muscle strength. Glutamine is an amino acid that helps preserve lean tissue mass. Together, whey protein, creatine and glutamine are a trio that can help battle sarcopenia.