Fruits and vegetables prevent acidification of the internal environment of the body
A typical diet of the modern "Western" type contains a large amount of protein, cereals and other products, the use of which leads to the daily synthesis of a small amount of acid in the body. As a result, as we age, a small but slowly increasing metabolic acidosis develops – acidification of the internal environment of the body.
Acidosis triggers the process of muscle tissue atrophy, so scientists at Tufts University (Boston, Massachusetts), working under the guidance of Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes, decided to study the relationship between the fat-free component of body weight and a diet relatively rich in fruits and vegetables containing a large amount of potassium, during digestion of which alkaline detritus is formed. Such a diet helps to neutralize acidosis. (Products should be divided into "alkaline" and "acidic" not depending on the acid content in themselves, but depending on the acidity of detritus formed after their digestion. For example, when digesting sour grapefruit, alkaline detritus remains.)
The authors conducted a cross-analysis of data on about 400 volunteers of both sexes aged 65 years and older who participated in a three-year project. At the beginning of the work and three years later, the researchers recorded the physical activity of the participants, their height, weight and the percentage of the fat-free component of body weight. At the beginning of the project, potassium levels in urine were also assessed, and 18 months later, data on the dietary habits of the participants were collected.
Data analysis using a regression model showed that the consumption of potassium-rich foods corresponds to the preservation of an average of 1.6 additional kilograms of the fat-free component of body weight compared with the consumption of potassium-poor foods. This almost completely compensates for almost 2 kg of the fat-free component of body weight, lost on average over a decade by healthy men and women over 65 years of age.
Sarcopenia – loss of muscle mass – as a result of weakening of the leg muscles increases the likelihood of falls and, accordingly, fractures. The authors believe that further research is needed on the effect of food, the breakdown products of which contribute to reducing the acidity of the internal environment of the body, on the mass and functionality of muscle tissue.