Apples and tomatoes are two of the most versatile fruits available. (Yes, a tomato is a fruit!). They can be eaten raw, chopped, sliced, seasoned, stewed, and sauteed. They are delicious in salads, pies, and relishes. They are plentiful, readily available in any region of the country, range from tart to sweet, and are inexpensive as well. As if all of that weren’t enough, scientists have now discovered that the humble apple and tomato may also be able to fight off muscle loss and weakness as we age!
Researchers from the University of Iowa say they have discovered a compound in the two fruits that turns off a protein in the body that is responsible for aging muscles. The finding could lead to new supplements and drugs for treating muscle weakness in the aging.
The “magic” compounds are the urolic acid found in apple peels and tomatidine compounds in the skin of green tomatoes. They turn off the protein ATF4 in the body that causes the loss of muscle mass in aging by depleting muscle “protein synthesis”, or the muscles’ ability to use protein to rebuild itself. In scientific language, the researchers said that the protein ATF4
“changes the formation of genes typically seen in the muscle wastage of older individuals.” Researchers believe that turning it off may stop the cyclical process of age-related muscle atrophy altogether.
According to physicians, muscles continue to grow larger and stronger from the time of birth to around the age of 30. After that, human beings can lose as much as 3 to 5 percent of muscle mass every 10 years. After the age of 75, atrophy tends to accelerate. Inactivity contributes to that natural loss. Without regular activity muscles tend to atrophy and become weaker. So once again, the old adage of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” holds true.
This discovery is good news, but don’t wait for the supplements and drugs to be developed. You can help keep your muscles strong and fend off atrophy by walking and lifting light weights. That is why being active is the key to a long and healthy life. Your heart remains strong, your blood pressure stays at a healthy level, your lungs are filled with clean air, and your muscles stay strong through walking. Exercise reduces aches and pains and fights depression and sadness. So it’s time to grab an apple, take a walk, and know that you have just doubled up on the benefits for your heart, joints, bones and muscles.