Meat is not usually considered a healing food. There’s been lots of bad press about how meat can up your cholesterol and contribute to the development of heart disease. Meat is also considered an acidic food that can unbalance the pH levels in your body and potentially cause health problems.
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But meat is not all bad — especially when it comes to your muscles. Muscles need protein, plain and simple. And meat happens to be one of the best sources of protein for strengthening muscle tissue, especially as you age.
The medical profession has a word for the loss of muscle tone as you get older — they call it “sarcopenia.” From a health perspective, this loss of muscle mass is an underappreciated consequence of the normal aging process, because it impacts health beyond the obvious effect on locomotion and mobility.
Sarcopenia is thought to proceed at a rate of approximately one percent per year. However, if you experience periods of inactivity due to illness or recovery from orthopedic procedures such as hip or knee replacement, accelerated sarcopenic muscle loss can happen. This can be particularly difficult for older persons to recover from. The consequences of age-related sarcopenia include weakness, reduced mobility, an increased risk for poor glucose control, and a predisposition toward weight gain.
A recent team of researchers says there are two stimuli that can counter this age-related muscle loss:Â physical activity, specifically resistance exercise (weightlifting); and nutrition. What kind of nutrition are they talking about? Nutrient-rich meat proteins.
This is not to say that you should suddenly start eating a steak every day if you’re over the age of 65, but you should consider keeping some meat protein in your diet. Lean beef, pork or veal could be eaten once or twice a week. Other non-red meats, such as chicken and turkey, can be eaten more often. Make sure you combine your meat protein with healthy fats that don’t up your cholesterol
levels. Olive oil, pure canola oil and/or safflower oil are all good choices.