A REGULAR tuna-mayo sandwich and some gentle activity can slash the risk of falls in elderly Brits, a study claims.
It found eating protein-rich foods – such as milk, chicken, eggs and tuna – alongside some muscle-strengthening exercises can reverse frailty in up to half of OAPs.
Around 10 per cent of over-65s are at increased risk of falls, disability and early death.
But this rises to around half of those in their 80s.
Experts analysed 46 studies on more than 16,000 older participants.
They found frailty can be reversed in up to 50 per cent of people through exercise and greater consumption of protein.
Lead researcher John Travers, from Trinity College Dublin, wants GPs to encourage patients to carry out 20-minute sessions of activity a four times a week to boost stability, and arm and leg strength.
And family doctors should put more emphasis on consuming “milk, eggs, tuna, or chicken” or other protein daily.
He said: “We typically start to lose our muscle mass and strength from our forties by 0.5-1 per cent per year.
“Strength exercises and a good diet including protein, delays and reverses this process and gives us a better quality of life.
“The mechanism is primarily improvement of muscle and bone strength.
"But there are multiple other related benefits such as increasing physical speed and balance, reducing the sense of feeling tired and improving mental health.”
The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, recommends as well as tweaking OAPs diets, they should be told to regularly carry out 15 strengthening exercises.
Researchers said while walking is good for heart health, it was not as effective at tackling frailty.
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Official NHS guidance says all adults should get 150 minutes of exercise each week.
Dr Richard Vautrey, British Medical Association GP committee chair, said older patients need better access to support services.
He said: “Patients who are frail will benefit from muscle strengthening through exercise and a focus on diet can help to reduce malnutrition which can lead to more vulnerability for other illness.
“GPs take all appropriate opportunities to discuss these issues with their patients but what is often needed is improved access to suitable support services for patients to be referred to."