New research has found maintaining muscle mass is key for living longer

Diet has an important role to play if you want to keep your body strong and healthy as you age

Man eating a salad for lunch
(Image credit: Getty)

If you want to avoid adverse health risks as you age then you should consider how best to maintain muscle mass. Having low muscle mass in your body can make daily tasks and activities feel more challenging, it can lead to reduced mobility, and could put you at an increased risk of experiencing fall-related injuries.

However, there are things you can do to protect your health as you grow old such as taking the best vitamins for women over 50 or best fish oil supplements as a way to increase the number of nutrients in your body. 

Afterall, diet is a very important place to begin. This study was recently published in Scientific Reports and found that poor nutrition among older adults can significantly decrease muscle mass. 

Considering that muscle mass already decreases with age it is crucial we don't let a poorly nourished diet further this decrease in muscle.

After analyzing various lifestyle factors of 1,211 participants aged 65 or over, the research team found that poor nutrition was an overbearing factor for loss of muscle among the participants.

The study reported that the odds of having low muscle mass as a malnourished adult was 12.5 times higher than those who consumed a well-nourished diet.

Moreover, they discovered a 6% increase in the likelihood of participants having low muscle mass for every year older past the age of 65.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that over half of the participants (57%) either had a vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency to it. 

Various studies on vitamin D highlight the importance this vitamin plays in muscle growth and development. For example, this study published in The National Center for Biotechnology revealed that vitamin D deficiency is linked to reduced muscle size and strength. Vitamin D is something you can get more of via a supplement or certain foods like fatty fish or mushrooms.

David Stache, Nutritionist from leading sports nutrition brand Warrior said that losing muscle mass is a common part of aging but making an effort to maintain muscle mass is critical to living a healthy and happy life as you get older.

He added, “The good news is that you can prevent or delay muscle loss as you age by taking the appropriate precautions, particularly following a healthy diet full of protein, vegetables and fruits.”

Protein-rich foods to incorporate into your diet could be eggs, oats, red meat, Greek yogurt, salmon, tuna, cottage cheese, turkey breast. 

These are all lean proteins that help to maintain muscle mass. Stache said most supermarkets sell things like protein bars that are a good snack for upping your protein intake, like the Warrior RAW bar and Warrior CRUNCH bar. 

Alternatively, you can find deals happening now on best protein powders below.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.