THE OLDER WE GET, THE GREATER THE MUSCLE LOSS. RESEARCH SHOWS THAT EATING ENOUGH PROTEIN CAN INHIBIT THE LOSS OF STRENGTH. BUT HOW DO WE GET ENOUGH PROTEIN?

Our muscle mass already decreases from the 35th year of life. By the time we are seventy, we have only half left. Dietitian Marjanne Prins and professor Lisette de Groot of Wageningen University in The Netherlands both emphasize the importance of exercise, extra proteins and vitamin D in old age.

TRAINING
"Vulnerable elderly people received strength training and extra proteins in their food. Another group did not receive the extra proteins. The combination of exercise and protein appeared to offer the best outcome. The elderly gained more muscle strength and mass. They also scored better on the function tests, "says De Groot.
The results of that study contributed to the new guideline for exercise for the elderly and adults, which was changed by the Health Council in 2017. At least 150 minutes per week must be moved. A moderately intensive effort, such as walking and cycling over various days. In addition, the recommendation is to do muscle and bone strengthening activities at least twice a week, combined with balance exercises.

PRACTICE
"Physiotherapists and dietitians are now on the move." Dietitian Prins recently took that step after seeing that her parents' muscle mass decreased dramatically. "The clothing was wider, the steps were uncertain. When you get older and you don't take extra protein, you eat your own muscles. That is because we are becoming less sensitive to the stimulating effect of protein on muscle production. High-quality protein, fiber and vitamin D is needed; about 25 grams per day with breakfast. "
However, intake of 25 grams of high-quality protein is a lot. Prins: "These are three or four medium-sized eggs or 600 ml of whole yogurt. You hardly get that at breakfast. ”

VITAMIN D
Vitamin D plays an important role in bone building, maintaining muscle strength and a properly functioning immune system. A deficiency is related to heart failure and an increased risk of failure. Our body produces vitamin D3 in the skin, under the influence of UV radiation from the sun. If the "r" is in the month, there is a greater risk of a shortage. The Health Council advises young children, post-menopausal women and all people aged 70 or over to take extra vitamin D.

GOOD BREAKFAST WORKS THROUGHOUT THE DAY 
Breakfast is very important for the elderly. They wake up with a negative protein balance. This means that more protein is needed for vital processes - such as heart function, brain activity and the immune system - than is available at that moment. That is why the body breaks down muscle mass.
This process is stopped if a minimum of 20-25 grams of high-quality protein is eaten. So if you don't take enough at breakfast, then this continues until lunch or even dinner. This is not only the case with very old people, but also with post-menopausal women.

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