Beefed Up Veggies

The older you get, the harder it is to maintain lean mass. This age-related loss of muscle is called sarcopenia. It begins with a condition called acidosis which develops during your golden years and continues to increase with age. Scientists from the USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging wanted to know if diet affected this process, so they recruited 400 male and female 65+ volunteers, and analyzed their eating habits for 18 months.

The research team found that diets high in potassium-rich, alkaline-resistant fruits and vegetables did help neutralize the effects of acidosis. These seniors kept nearly 4 more pounds of lean mass as compared to those who consumed a low-potassium diet. The difference almost completely offsets the 4.5 pounds of lean mass typically lost in healthy men and women during a decade of old age.

The Bigger Picture: There are two points to consider here. First, fruits and vegetables aren't always processed in the body as expected. Take grapefruit, for instance. It's acidic, but is metabolized to alkaline residues. So do your homework when shopping for potassium-rich choices. The other key to maintaining lean mass is regular resistance training. Don't quit working out, even if you've retired from the workplace.
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