Loss of muscle mass

The loss of muscle mass, scientifically known as sarcopenia, is due to a physiological phenomenon associated with ageing that affects the functioning and strength of the body. However, the decrease in muscle can also occur as a consequence of cancer and some types of antineoplastic treatments.
In prostate cancer, the decrease in testosterone production can promote muscle loss, intensifying the feeling of fatigue and tiredness.
To prevent or improve the symptoms of sarcopenia, it is essential to follow a balanced diet that ensures an adequate energy and protein intake and to exercise regularly, always according to the situation of each patient.


To ensure that the body receives both the necessary energy and protein (to maintain or increase muscle mass), it is important to follow a sufficient and balanced diet that includes vegetables (raw and cooked), starchy foods (tubers, cereals, pulses) and protein foods (meat, fish, eggs, pulses). Following the plate method is a good way to ensure this.

The highest quality proteins are from fish, seafood, white meat, eggs, dairy products, and legumes such as soybean.

High-quality protein can also be obtained through cereals, pulses, nuts, and seeds throughout the day. To ensure this, prepare dishes that combine these foods.

Protein-rich foods
Foods of animal origin
  • White fish: monkfish, pike, cod.
  • Blue fish: sardine, mackerel, salmon.
  • Seafood: squid, octopus, mussels, cuttlefish, shrimp, crayfish.
  • Canned fish: tuna, sardines, cockles.*
  • White meat: chicken, rabbit, turkey.
  • Eggs (especially the egg white).
  • Dairy: protein-rich natural yogurt, fresh cheese, cottage cheese.
Foods of vegetable origin
  • Dry and roasted pulses without salt for chopping: chickpeas, fava beans.
  • Dried or cooked legumes: lentils, chickpeas, beans (red, black, white…), soy.
  • Derivatives of soy: textured soy, soy flour, tofu, tempeh.
  • Unsalted raw nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  • Seitan: wheat gluten or other grains.
* Limit intake in the case of hypertension.
** Choose skimmed versions in case of hyperlipidaemia.

Protein enhancement consists of increasing the protein content in meals without increasing the volume of the dish or culinary preparation, by incorporating small amounts of protein-rich foods (egg whites, meat, fish, cheese, protein-rich yoghurt, pulses, nuts, etc.).

Ingredients and suggestions for increasing the protein value in dishes and recipes.
Egg white Very versatile due to its neutral taste. It can be cooked and can be prepared in the following ways:

  • Crushed into a puree or cream.
  • Grated on a soup, puree, cream or pasta dishes, rice, vegetables…
  • Incorporated in slices in a salad or vegetable dish.
  • Melted in sauces to accompany pastas, meats…
Cheeses (fresh cheeses, matured or aged…) Very versatile and suitable for many cooking methods.

  • Blended into a soup or purée.
  • Grated on top of a soup, purée, pasta dish, rice, salad, vegetables…
  • Incorporated in small cubes in a salad or vegetable dish.
  • Melted in sauces to accompany pasta, meat…

Skimmed and low-salt versions should be chosen in case of hyperlipidaemia or hypertension.

Skimmed and powdered milk Very easy to add.

  • Mixed into a purée or soup (two tablespoons).
  • Added to yoghurt, fruit smoothie, or cream-based sauce (one tablespoon).
Nuts Can be incorporated whole, chopped, or ground:

  • In a purée or soup.
  • On top of any pasta or vegetable dish.
  • In any stew, meat, fish, or legume preparation.
  • In yoghurt.
  • In a fruit smoothie.
  • In desserts (fruit salads, puddings, custards…).
Chicken or turkey breast Very well cooked and cut into cubes, it can be added to broths, soups, purées, creams, salads, pasta dishes, etc, (about a couple of tablespoons).
fish Cooked and shredded, it can be added to broths, soups, purées, salads, pasta dishes, etc., (about a couple of tablespoons).
Canned (tuna/sardines in olive oil, drain the oil very well)
On top of salads or dishes with cooked vegetables.
Legume flour Add a tablespoon to vegetable purées or soups remembering to stir well when hot.

Exercising regularly can improve muscle strength, physical condition, and body composition, and can reduce fatigue as well as improve other side effects from treatment.