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Eat well: Nutrients that are important to combat muscle loss

As we age, we are bound to lose some muscles but the good news is that we have control over how fast it happens. Choosing a well-balanced nutrition can actually help our bodies maintain or rebuild muscle. Since our bodies in our senior years are not able to process nutrients as well as we did in our formative years, it is very important to eat well to slow down muscle loss.1

The effects of poor nutrition on muscle loss

A factor that contributes to a senior’s malnutrition can be as simple as changing of taste and sense of smell due to aging. The causes of malnutrition as a whole are not as straightforward, but they all lead to a lesser quality of life. If a senior is prone to infections, has poor wound healing, chronic muscle weakness, and minor injuries that often results in hospitalization, reevaluating their nutritional intake is a must.1

The important nutrients to deal with muscle loss to age well

When it comes to combating early muscle loss in the elderly, good nutrition and good habits work hand in hand. A good habit can strengthen the immune system and greatly improve a senior’s independence.1

  •  Zinc and lack of taste: Deficiencies in zinc can add to loss of appetite so be sure to include food rich with it. Red meat, clams, chickpeas, nuts, and whole grains are all rich in Zinc. Our muscles are always breaking down and getting built back up so we need all the good nutrition we can get. If we lose our sense of taste, we are eating less and that leads to muscle loss. To improve the taste of food, use a variety of herbs, spices, food combinations, and avoid unprocessed food as much as possible.1, 3
  • 1,800 calories per day: A variety of nutrients are good for specific functions of the body. The key nutrients seniors must focus on are protein for muscle building, calcium for bone strength, and fatty acids for heart health. A 1,800 calorie-a-day diet is optimal for a senior to maintain a healthy life. For muscles, protein is important so make sure a senior’s meals are rich in that. Low-fat yogurts, cheese, milk, lean meats, seafood, and beans can also increase protein intake.1, 2
  • Supplements: If you find that getting it all from food is lacking, look for the help of nutritional supplements. For example Ensure Gold, complete with 28 vitamins, minerals, and HMB (Hydroxymethylbutyrate, a metabolite of leucine), can provide an extra layer of nutrition to combat muscle loss.1

 Reference(s):

  1. https://abbottfamily.com.sg/articles/active-aging/eat-well
  2. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/longevity-foods#1
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/senior-health/art-20044699

Supplemental Reading(s):

  1. https://abbottnutrition.com.my/products/ensure-gold
  2. https://abbottfamily.com.sg/articles/active-aging/the-unseen-role-our-muscles-play-in-getting-older