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Food & diet

Meat, well cooked for the elderly is better

January 29, 2019

Medium rare steak? For the elderly better if well cooked. This is what emerges from a study led by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research and Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. According to the researchers who conducted the survey, in fact, the digestive system of over 65s would have difficulty absorbing and breaking down proteins if the meat ingested is blood. We talked about it with Dr. Elena Maria Abati.


If meat is well cooked the proteins are better absorbed

With blood on the flesh, less protein is absorbed. The digestive system of over 65s has difficulty breaking them down and then absorbing them. Scholars have recruited ten volunteers aged between 70 and 82 years, who on different occasions have eaten meat in blood, ie cooked for five minutes at 55 degrees or well cooked, or cooked for at least 30 minutes at 90 degrees and then chopped. At the end of each meal, blood tests were carried out, which indicated a lower absorption of proteins and therefore a lower concentration of amino acids, the building blocks of the proteins themselves, when the meat was in the blood.

And for the youngest?

According to researchers at Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital to prevent sarcopenia, i.e. degenerative loss of muscle mass, the elderly should be advised to prefer the consumption of well cooked meat. On the contrary, for younger people there are no differences in protein assimilation between the two types of meat cooking.

The bogeyman for all those who have always practiced sports and would like to continue to do so even in old age, the sarcopenia is in fact the tendency of our body to lose strength, from 50 years onwards, due to the progressive decrease in our muscle mass.


Anti-aging foods

“But meat is not the solution to this problem – commented Dr. Abati, on sarcopenia – If we want to return to the subject of food, it is necessary to expand the topic to environmental sustainability: the¬†reduction of meat production and therefore of intensive farming as one of its future objectives that goes hand in hand with the modern subject of food diversification.

It has been known for decades that one of the examples of an anti-aging diet is represented by our beloved Mediterranean diet, studied as a food model linked to longevity. Also the dietary model of Okinawa, Japan, characterized by an abundance of fruits and vegetables, seems to have important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. This is what emerged at the last National Congress of the Italian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology.

“Speaking of¬†sarcopenia – continued the specialist -, we now list a series of “nutraceuticals” (food components or active ingredients present in food and that have positive effects for health and well-being including prevention and treatment of diseases):

– leucine and its metabolite hydroxymethyl butyrate (yellow fin tuna, grapefruit);

– creatine (salmon, herring); vitamin D; ursolic acid and tomatidine (apples and green tomatoes);

– phosphatidic acid (legumes, soya);

– apigenin (parsley, onion, celery, grapefruit, chamomile, red wine and beer);

– nicotinamide (dried fruit); riboside (brewer’s yeast).

Very promising for their ability to act on various processes determining sarcopenia (inflammation, oxidative stress, cellular self-control systems) seem to be:

– polyphenols (cocoa and dark chocolate, berries, onions, garlic, citrus fruits, tomatoes and broccoli);

– curcumin; quercetin (caper, grape and red wine, red onion, green tea, blueberry);

– ellagitannins and derivatives such as urolitin A and B (pomegranate and red fruits such as currants and strawberries).

Food diversification guarantees a diet that, together with physical exercise, allows us to tackle the problem of sarcopenia in ageing, with an attitude that combines respect for the environment with the possibility of having good, clean, fair and healthy food on our tables (Slow Food, Carlo Petrini)”.


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