In your 40s, you lose up to 10% of your muscle mass, which means you're burning about 100 fewer calories a day than you did at age 30. In other words, less muscle mass equals more fat, and that equals more calorie storage. What's more, after age 40, women lose muscle mass, which is tied to a drop in testosterone levels, twice as fast as men. But here's the good news: you can eat certain foods to help naturally increase muscle.
- Roman Beans: To increase muscle mass, eat more protein, the building blocks of muscle. Roman beans are an excellent source, containing more protein than most other legumes. Eat 2-3 cups of these cooked beans each week.
- Salmon: Foods rich in vitamin D are essential for preserving muscle tissue. A 3.5-ounce serving of salmon contains almost 90% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin D (600 international units [IU]). Eat two 3.5 servings each week.
- Broccoli Rabe: A member of the cabbage family, is rich in iron, which carries oxygen to muscles, giving them energy. Sauté this dark green vegetable and then add lemon juice; the acid content helps speed iron absorption. Eat 1-2 cups of broccoli rabe each week.
More Answers from Mehmet Oz, MD