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The importance of retaining muscle mass as we age is more important than simply looking great; it can have a domino effect on virtually every aspect of both physical and mental wellbeing. Well-toned muscles support and strengthen weight-bearing joints to alleviate arthritis-associated pain, while a firm and fit core—down to your thighs and butt—elevate your proprioceptive status for better balance. Balance is something we take for granted; however, fragility fractures of the hip, ankle, and wrist are less common for people with more muscle mass.

Sunrise glow on a field of Lupines (Lupinus sp.) and the Teton Range; Grand Teton National Park, WY

The results of a research study featuring 595 men and 1066 women with a median age of 69 support the importance of muscle strength for reduced risk of fragility fracture. Strength of the quadriceps (thigh muscles) was measured twice per year over an 11‑year period. Loss of muscle strength correlated with an increased probability of fragility fracture over the course of the study.

It’s no secret we lose muscle mass as we age; however, research conducted at the University of Alabama Center for Exercise Medicine

suggests we can maintain or regain muscle mass and strength after 60. Some muscle fibres die off, but others shrink and atrophy from lack of exercise and protein-laden nutrition; this can be reversed. Participants in the research trained using weights they could perform up to ten repetitions with until exhaustion. Training resulted in rejuvenation of atrophied muscle fibre and restored strength. Here’s where targeted nutrition comes in: There’s no substitute for protein when it comes to muscle growth and recovery, but there is an alternative to animal-sourced protein with its inherent elevated levels of cholesterol, omega‑6 arachidonic acid, and saturated fatty acids.

Organic lupine and pumpkin seed powder have emerged as nutritional juggernauts for protein supplementation. They’re rich in protein, minerals, B‑complex vitamins, healthy fibre, and more. Indeed, it’s commonplace to see folks of all ages scooping protein powders into their shaker bottles at health clubs. Relax; you don’t have to be a body-builder to bulk up a little.

Look for certified organic and non‑GMO protein powders; they’ll pump up the protein quotient of soups, smoothies, muffins, and virtually any culinary creation. Lupine seed has a neutral flavour, while pumpkin seed has a mild nutty flavour profile. Both deliver over 4 g of protein per tablespoon.

So, reward those aching muscles and your inner athlete with healthy protein: You’ve earned it!

 

Learn more about lupine protein powder here.

Learn more about pumpkin seed powder here.

 

Gordon Raza, BSc

As the technical writer for Flourish, Gord shares his
unique perspective on natural health products, nutrition,
and active living.

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