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Originally published July 17 2008

Diet Rich in Plant-foods Aids in Preserving Muscle Mass in Older Adults

by Ella Andersen

(NaturalNews) The strength that sometimes leaves many older adults could be maintained and restored by consuming raw vegetables and fruit, a study, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has suggested. In a society where grain- and protein-rich diets rule, this is refreshing news that can help older adults live more healthily and happily.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass, and can lead to falls and injuries due to the weakened musculature of older adults. Because of the high-protein, high-grain diet of Westerners, acidosis occurs more readily, which in turn triggers the loss of muscle mass experienced by the elderly. Though acidosis is naturally a part of the aging process, it can be greatly slowed by re-evaluating dietary choices at ages sixty-five and above, or better yet, eating healthfully and living healthfully in the youthful years to maintain an adequate muscle mass.

The study, conducted by nutrition specialist and doctor Jean Bess Dawson-Hughes, utilized cross-sectional analysis of 400 older adults (male and female) who were sixty-five and above and who also participated in an osteoporosis intervention trial. At the start of the study, height, weight, activity level, and percentage of lean body mass were taken and taken again three years later. Furthermore, urinary potassium levels were additionally measured at the beginning of the study, and dietary information was collected at eighteen months. Those who ate potassium-rich diets could have 3.6 more pounds of lean muscle than those with elevated, but not as high, potassium intake. Meaning, the muscle mass loss that older adults 65 and over experience -- approximately 4.4 pounds in a ten year span -- could be greatly reduced, leading to less falls and injuries from damaged muscles.

Potassium-plentiful food stuffs consist of a wide spectrum of vegetables and fruits. From broccoli to kale, and from watermelon to strawberries, finding foods abounding in potassium is not a difficult task (alas, what most people find is that actually consuming such large quantities of wholesome and nourishing foods is more difficult than finding them, since many were raised on a cookie-and-ice-cream diet). In order to maintain vigor well into old age, steps need to be taken towards a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins and fats, and low in insulin-raising grains.

The best way to receive these benefits is to consume these foods raw. In their raw state, they contain all the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals that will not only give and maintain the kind of spring-in-the-step health we all desire, but it also will foster glowing skin and a healthy body well into the golden years.

Bottom line, staying "in the pink" and in good physical shape is a choice. Whether you are eighteen and young, or more advanced in years, each day is an opportunity to make a healthy choice -- we do not have to be prisoners of our own bodies. If a hearty life is what you want, make that choice today.


1. U.S. Department of Agriculture (2008, May 27). Plant Foods For Preserving Muscle Mass. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 30, 2008, from (

About the author

Ella Andersen is a college student who intensely researchs topics on health and nutrition. In college, she is furthering her love of nutrition by pursuing a degree in clinical dietetics.
She also runs her own blog:

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