Joan on Nutrition


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Muscle development can be done through exercise.  However, as we age it gets harder to maintain and build muscle with exercise alone.  After the age of 40, you start to lose muscle. This process is referred to as Sarcopenia.  Why is this a concern? The loss of muscle mass plays an important role in the tendency to fall.  Falls can result in fractures and other injuries, particularly in people with weak bones due to osteopenia or osteoporosis. International Osteoporosis Foundation | Bone Health.  

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, you can maintain strong muscles through exercise.  Specifically resistance training.


In my research, I have found a variation in the nutritional requirements and the types and amounts of food requirements.  Therefore I will list these requirements and will provide links to different articles which you can read for more information.


Protein is a major requirement in muscle strength.  My findings stated 1.0-1.2 g/Kg of body weight/day. Dietary tips to help prevent muscle loss in seniors | International …  


According to LoveToKnow: Advice you can trust: Advice you can trust the amount of protein required to build muscle mass is 15-25% of calories.


Talk to your Dr. or your dietitian about the amount of protein you require.  Caution these levels of protein are too high for people with renal failure.


In addition to protein to build and maintain muscle mass, you need Carbohydrates,   


Fat is necessary to help build muscle.  However, it must be the right type of fat.  These healthy fats are poly and monounsaturated fats, these are also healthy for the heart.  I would recommend olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.

Leucine is an important amino acid (BCCA) the research shows that Leucine has an effect on Building Muscle. It is very helpful as an additive in Seniors who tend to have impaired protein synthesis.  It is also important for people who eat a low level of dietary protein.


The main source of Leucine is animal protein.  If you do not eat animal protein you should supplement your diet with a powder that contains all three BCCA amino acids.  


HMB is a metabolite of Leucine.  Around 5% of dietary Leucine is oxidized into HMB.  HMB unlike Leucine does not build muscle but helps prevent the breakdown of muscle.


For more information about Leucine and HMB go to Independent Analysis on Supplements & Nutrition and LoveToKnow: Advice you can trust.


The types of food to eat to gain muscle Top 10 Foods for Building Muscle - Calorie Secrets, They suggest #1 Fish 22 grams protein/3.5 oz, #2 Lean Red Meat 7 grams protein/ oz.,  #3 20 grams of protein/½ cup tofu, #4 14 grams of protein/3.5 oz. quinoa, # 5 6 grams of protein/1 large egg,  #6 8 grams of Protein/¼ cup of almonds, #7 8 grams of Protein/1 cup of Milk. Use lower fat milk if you are trying to lose weight.  (an alternate choice would be almond milk). #8 30 grams of Protein in 3.5 oz of a skinless chicken breast. #9 14 grams of Protein in ½ cup cooked beans.  # 10 8 grams of Protein in a ½ cup of cooked peas.


Remember it is possible to have too much protein so consult your Dr. or a Dietitian.

It is important to get all of the amino acids in your diet.  Meat contains all of these essential amino acids. However, you can obtain these through complete proteins.  What is the difference between a complete and incomplete protein? A complete protein contains all nine amino acids that our body can not produce.  These include Dairy, Eggs and Meat. Incomplete proteins may be missing one or more essential amino acids. Incomplete proteins are plant-based foods such as grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.  


Vegans can get enough amino acids as long as they eat a variety of foods.


They should aim for the following:


  • Five servings of whole grains per day
  • Three servings of vegetables per day
  • Two-three servings of legumes per day


International Osteoporosis Foundation | Bone Health Vitamin D for seniors an adequate amount of sunshine (use sunscreen) or a supplement recommended by your Dr. is necessary for musculoskeletal health.


Eating more fruits and vegetables.  Eating an excess amount of acid-producing foods such as meat and grains in combination with low intake of alkalizing foods such as fruits and vegetables is likely to have a negative effect on musculoskeletal health.


Increasing fruits and vegetables is likely to benefit both bones and muscles.


Health Canada recommends that your plate consists of ½ protein and ½ a combination of fruit and vegetables.


Be sure to have some form of protein with every meal.  This website also recommends you drink water as it is a very important part of building Muscle Mass.  Water greatly enhances your body’s ability to absorb and metabolize nutrients you are taking in from your food.  The recommend 125 oz.  For men and 91 oz. for women.    I would speak with your dietitian or dr. About your specific requirements.


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The Advice on this site is not meant to replace the advice of a physician or dietician.  Please consult a Doctor before starting any new diet plan.  Remember to tell your physician and pharmacist about any Supplements you may be taking.