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Diet & Nutrition

Protein from Meat, Fish, and Vegetables Is Good for Muscles as We Age

Researchers from Hebrew Senior Life’s Institute for Aging Research and University of Massachusetts Lowell have discovered that adults with higher intakes of dietary protein from both animals and vegetables see greater benefits in muscle mass and strength. Results from this study were published February 8th 2017 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

A release from the institute explains that using data from the Framingham Osteoporosis study, researchers found that greater dietary protein intakes are related to better muscle health in both men and women. Moreover, the observed higher muscle strength and muscle mass occurred regardless of the major food sources which provided protein — suggesting that higher protein intake from any protein dense food source (animal or vegetable) can improve muscle health. These findings are particularly important as age-related musculoskeletal losses are a major health burden that can lead to physical disability and increased mortality.

The release quotes lead author Dr. Kelsey M. Mangano as saying, “We know that dietary protein can improve muscle mass and strength. However, until now, we did not know if one protein food source was better than another in accomplishing optimal results. This study is significant as it suggest that higher protein intake form any food source will benefit muscle mass and strength in adults.”

Mangano is an assistant professor of nutritional sciences at UMass Lowell and an adjunct faculty member at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research, a Harvard Medical School affiliate.