Muscles allow us to move and lead life as we know it. However, muscles are subjected to great stress, both as a result of physical activity and the passing years. Here are some remedies that allow you to take care of your muscles at all ages and for all needs. Today we talk about these remedies on the basis of two very recent scientific researches.
Beetroot juice after physical activity for more resistant muscles
The first research was published in the journal Nutrients by a group of Iranian, American and Japanese scientists (Hemmatinafar et al, Nutrients, 2023). The study was concerned with understanding how it is possible to improve muscle endurance and the ability to recover after physical effort. In particular, the researchers recruited a group of professional athletes and asked them to drink 400 ml of beetroot juice for two days after an intense training session. After another two days, parameters concerning muscle health were evaluated, such as resistance, pain and muscle swelling. Well, beetroot juice has been shown to significantly improve all of these parameters. It is believed that what has been observed is due to the analgesic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action of some beneficial substances contained in beetroot such as betalain and polyphenols. Not only that, beetroot also contains nitrates that increase the amount of nitric oxide in the body, which in turn can stimulate muscle repair processes.
Legumes and cereals against sarcopenia
The second study was published in the journal Nutrients by a group of French researchers and dealt with age-related loss of muscle mass (Salles et al, Nutrients, 2023). In fact, advancing age is often associated with a reduction in muscle mass and functionality, with an increased risk of limited mobility, fatigue, falls and fractures. Loss of muscle mass begins as early as age 40 but becomes more pronounced around age 65. Animal proteins have always been considered the allies par excellence when it comes to muscle health, however it is important to evaluate the impact of vegetable proteins, which provide a vast range of amino acids necessary for muscle synthesis and the maintenance of muscle mass. In addition, foods rich in plant-based proteins are more sustainable for the environment and healthy for humans, they provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids and antioxidants and help nourish muscles and support their growth and repair. A high consumption of vegetable proteins leads to a reduction in the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Some examples of vegetable foods that provide proteins are legumes, such as peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas, especially if associated with cereals in order to provide the full range of amino acids. Indeed, studies have shown that a meal made up of pasta and legumes is able to induce the same muscle production as a casein-based diet. Well, the study we are talking about today has shown that pea proteins are able to preserve muscle mass in aged mice, but we can also expect the same action on humans. The effect was even greater when these proteins were combined with inulin, a fiber with a prebiotic action contained in artichokes, asparagus, garlic, onion, leeks, chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, barley and in oats.
To protect our muscles we have some important natural remedies available, such as beetroot juice, but also legumes to be combined with pasta, cereals, such as barley and oats, but also with artichokes, onions, leeks, garlic or asparagus. In fact, in case of effort and physical activity, both moderate and intense, beetroot improves muscle strength and accelerates recovery times, reducing edema and swelling. Against the damage of aging at the level of the muscles a good plate of legumes and pasta, or legumes and barley or even legumes and onion or leek, just to name a few, is able to provide the proteins necessary for maintenance of muscle mass and counteract sarcopenia. In short, only tasty and nutritious foods that also allow you to fill up on vitamins, minerals, fibers and antioxidants for the general well-being of the body.