Since many studies show that frailty equals early death in the elderly, keeping strong during ageing is a top priority. Diet is a major factor in that.
A new Japanese study of the elderly confirmed what other research has shown — that higher protein (especially animal protein) and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables keep you stronger in old age. But the big news is that combining protein and antioxidants offers better improvements than either one alone.
In the May 2017 study, a total of 2,108 women aged 65-89 years (average age 74) participated in questionnaires distributed by students at 85 dietetic schools in Japan. Of those women, 481 (22.8%) were classified as frail. The researchers then examined the association between high protein and high antioxidants in their diets with frailty. As you can guess, the group with both the highest total protein and dietary antioxidant intake was markedly stronger (27%) compared to the group with the lowest consumption of both.
Protein intake and dietary antioxidants were also independently associated with reduced frailty. The best diet: eating fruits, vegetables, pulses, fish and shellfish, and drinking green tea and coffee, and reducing rice and sweets/baked goods. In this study, plant protein did not show the high results of animal protein, but the primary animal protein was from fish.
(Satomi Kobayashi, Hitomi Suga, “Diet combination of high protein and high antioxidant capacity strongly associated with low prevalence of frailty…” Nutrition Journal, 201716:29, May 12, 2017, University of Tokyo, Japan)