Diet and Aging Muscles: Research Highlights Importance of Avoiding Inflammatory Foods

by Ella

Researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia have unveiled new insights into the impact of diet on muscle health among individuals aged over 65. Corey Linton, a Dietetics graduate, conducted nearly three years of Ph.D. research that sheds light on the correlation between inflammatory foods and muscle degeneration symptoms in older adults.

Published in the 2022 issue of the journal Nutrients, the study, co-authored by three UniSC academics, emphasizes the significance of diet in maintaining muscle mass and strength in the aging population. According to Mr. Linton, participants with lower scores on the dietary inflammatory index exhibited higher muscle mass and strength compared to those with higher scores on the index.


While existing research has explored various factors influencing muscle health, including exercise and genetics, this study specifically delves into the associations between individuals’ diets and muscle health. The findings align with Australian nutrition guidelines, advocating for a diet that includes five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily, emphasizing a balanced diet.


Mr. Linton underscores the importance of considering diet, particularly in the context of the rising prevalence of chronic musculoskeletal diseases like sarcopenia among aging Australians. He notes that muscle health, often overlooked as a chronic disease, plays a crucial role in maintaining independence and community living for older individuals.


The research involved 200 adults aged between 65 and 85, who documented their dietary intake over a 24-hour period. The recorded foods were categorized based on their inflammatory effects, with a focus on vegetables, fruit, meat products, herbs, and spices, both raw and processed. Assessments of musculoskeletal health, grip strength, walking and gait, as well as bone density and body composition, were conducted using the university’s gold-standard DXA machine.


Ph.D. supervisor and UniSC Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr. Hattie Wright, emphasizes that diet is a modifiable tool that can play a significant role in promoting healthy aging. As the prevalence of chronic musculoskeletal diseases rises with an aging population, understanding the impact of diet on maintaining independence and quality of life becomes increasingly vital.



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