These Fruits Can Keep Your Muscles Strong

Two red apples sitting on a wooden surface.

Within the flesh, skin, and seeds of many fruits and vegetables lie hidden chemical compounds that can help to maintain a healthy body into old age. (Image: congerdesign via Pixabay)

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.

A protein called ATF4 has recently been unearthed by a group of scientists at the University of Iowa. This protein contributes to muscular degeneration in the aging population.

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Up until now, what caused 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.

Asian young male physiotherapist helping patient with lifting dumbbells exercises in office.
Up until now, what caused muscle weakness and loss as we age was a mystery. (Image: Wutthichai Luemuang via Dreamstime)

Not only have these scientists recognized what causes muscle degeneration in the report published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, but they have also 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 tomatine — both compounds greatly reduce the activity of ATF4 and work to not only preserve, but also increase muscle strength.

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 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 with these fruits

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. Tomatine, however, only exists in green tomatoes that are unripe, or green heirloom varieties that remain green when they ripen.

Tomatine only exists in fruits like green tomatoes.
Tomatine only exists in green tomatoes. (Image: Danelle Mccollum via Dreamstime)

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

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