- After the age of 30, people begin to lose muscle mass. We share four habits that help slow muscle loss, which is important for greater strength and independence.
After the age of 30, people begin to lose 3-5% of muscle mass per decade. Harvard Health explains that less muscle means greater weakness and less mobility.
In addition to exercise, some eating habits can also help slow muscle aging. Building muscle mass is important for greater strength and independence. Getting up from a chair or going down stairs requires muscle strength.
“The loss of muscle mass with aging can limit people’s ability to function in their home environment and live independently,” says Dr. Wendy Kohrt, an expert on aging at the University of Colorado.
1. Eat quality protein
To preserve muscle mass it is necessary to consume enough high-quality protein. “Protein is the king of muscle foods…if you’re older, you need more,” shares Harvard.
A daily intake of 1 to 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is suggested for older adults who perform resistance training. A 175-pound person would need between 79 g and 103 g daily. To maximize protein synthesis, divide your intake evenly between meals.
2. Get vitamin D
Muscles need vitamin D to move, and nerves need it to carry messages between your brain and your body. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) note that vitamin D also helps the body absorb calcium and helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
According to the NIH, fatty fish (such as trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best natural sources of vitamin D.
3. Eat fatty fish
Oily fish is not only a source of quality protein, it is also rich in omega-3. Georgia State University shares that the natural anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may benefit muscle damage from exercise.
“The lower the rate of inflammation in the body, the less likely muscle cells are to break down or be damaged,” dietitian Trista Best told Eat This Not That.
4. Eat healthy carbohydrates
To build and maintain muscle you don’t just need strength, you need energy. “Carbohydrate-rich foods are an important part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted into energy that is used to support bodily functions and physical activity,” notes the Harvard Nutrition Source.
The consumption of healthy carbohydrates supports the development and maintenance of muscle strength due to the energy they provide the body for exercise.
Healthiest sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, unprocessed or minimally processed vegetables, fruits, and beans.