According to a 2020 study done by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and published in the Journal of Nutrition, the vitamin C content found in fruits and vegetables could improve skeletal muscle mass as we get older.
The study employed 13,000 people aged between 42-82 years and looked at their skeletal muscle mass, vitamin C intake, and vitamin C concentration in their blood (via Science Daily). Dr. Richard Hayhoe from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, explained, per Science Daily, “We studied a large sample of older Norfolk residents and found that people with the highest amounts of vitamin C in their diet or blood had the greatest estimated skeletal muscle mass, compared to those with the lowest amounts.” The researchers believe that incorporating fruits into your everyday diet might stave off age-related muscle loss, sarcopenia, and frailty.
The role of vitamin C is also important in muscle recovery post-exercise, per Healthline. When it comes to protecting our muscles as we age, the team at UEA think that vitamin C keeps muscle cells and tissues sheltered from the harmful effects of free radicals. What does this mean for consumption of fruit? How much should you be eating for overall health, including optimal muscle health?