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These Fruits Can Keep Your Muscles Strong

Green tomatoes contain tomatitine, a compound that acts to preserve muscle mass and strength as we age. (Image: Jerry7171 via Compfight cc)
Green tomatoes contain tomatitine, a compound that acts to preserve muscle mass and strength as we age. (Image: Jerry7171 via Compfight cc)

Within the flesh, skin, and seeds of many fruits and vegetables lie hidden chemical compounds that can increase longevity, and help to maintain a healthy body into old age. We’ve always known these natural foods are good for us, but now science is discovering new uses for common fruits we’ve been eating for thousands of years.

Who could have guessed that apples could be a food for keeping muscles healthy and strong into old age? (Image: CO Public Domain Via Pixabay)

Who could have guessed that apples could be a food for keeping muscles healthy and strong into old age? (Image: condesign via Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

A protein called ATF4 has recently been unearthed by a group of scientists at the University of Iowa, for contributing to muscular degeneration in the ageing population.

Up until this point, what causes muscle weakness and loss as we age was a mystery. It was understood by some to be just an unfortunate symptom of getting old, as these physical problems get worse with age.

Until now, muscle degeneration was just a symptom of ageing. Now scientists understand a little more why this happens on a molecular level. (Image: DoctorTac via Compfight cc)

Now scientists understand a little more why muscle degeneration happens on a molecular level. (Image: DoctorTac via Compfight cc)

Not only have these scientists recognized what causes muscle degeneration, in the report published in the The Journal of Biological Chemistry, they have found an easy strategy for reversing the actions of ATF4, thereby preserving our muscles — eating apples and tomatoes!

The skin of apples contains ursolic acid, and green tomatoes contain tomatitine — both compounds greatly reduce the activity of ATF4, and work to not only preserve, but increase muscle strength.

Muscle strength is important throughout your whole life. (Image: CCO Public Domain Via Pixabay)

Muscle strength is important throughout your whole life. (Image: skeeze via Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

In the study, mice affected by age-related muscle weakness were given both fruit-derived compounds for two months. After a trial period muscle mass had increased by 10 percent, and muscle quality and strength was increased by 30 percent. The dramatic results appear to restore the muscle quality to that of a young adult.

This breakthrough has now prompted further development into how these two compounds can be better utilized in the form of food, pharmaceuticals, and supplements.

Keep your muscles strong for life

Ursolic acid can be found in the skin of apples, but it is also found in cranberries, olive oil, and prunes, as well as herbs such as holy basil, peppermint, sage, and oregano. Tomatitin, however, only exists in green tomatoes that are unripe, or green heirloom varieties that remain green when they ripen.

To maintain muscle integrity over the years, it’s also important to include good sources of protein in your diet everyday, and of course exercise — especially resistance training.

Weight training builds strong muscles and has many other benefits, such as weight loss and increasing bone density. (Image: CCO Public Domain Via Pixabay)

Weight training builds strong muscles and has many other benefits, such as weight loss and increasing bone density. (Image: poesiayrelatos via Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

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