Credit: Contributed

Can you recall the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet?” It goes “Little Miss Muffet /Sat on a tuffet/Eating her curds and whey/Along came spider/Who sat down beside her/And frightened Miss Muffet away.”

Now, for Miss Muffet to jump up and run, she had to depend on strong muscles in her legs. I’m sure she didn’t know or care that the whey she was consuming is a protein found in human breast milk as well as in cow’s milk. This wonderful, natural protein contains the branched chain of amino acids, valine, isoleucine and leucine, which are known muscle builders. These three amino acids make up three of the eight essential amino acids that are not produced in the body and must be obtained from outside sources. They repair muscle and prevent the breakdown of muscle.

These three amino acids are also known to promote wound healing, increase athletic performance, reduce fatigue, increase energy, strengthen heart muscles, control diabetic symptoms and relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea. The leucine in whey also is used to produce the most powerful antioxidant, glutathione, which protects the body from the destructive forces of free radicals that are produced in the body. I hope you remember that free radicals are those little electrons produced from chemical reactions that are capable of destroying cells in the body. Leucine also provides you with a more restful sleep. In fact, it is better than sleeping pills, which are foreign to the body.

Finally, leucine has also been found to be effective in preventing the breakdown of muscle in patients who have Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and other debilitating muscle-wasting illnesses. Patients who are restricted to bed for long periods also experience muscle deterioration and would benefit from this powerful amino acid.

Leucine is found abundantly in whey, which is the watery part of milk that separates from the curd, which is produced when milk sours and become coagulated. Whey has been found to ensure healing after surgery. In fact, this product should be used even before surgery to prevent healing complications. This wonderful, natural product reduces also serotonin in the brain and thus makes us feel less fatigued. Many athletes will use whey for muscle strengthening, thus increasing their ability to perform.

Whey can be purchased at any health food store in a powdered form and can be used as instructed on the label. Always allow your physicians to know about supplements that you are taking that he or she has not prescribed.

If you want to maintain strong muscles, it is essential also to exercise by walking at least 30 minutes daily.

Remember, a little whey will keep you fit and out of the way of muscle weakness. By the way, Miss Muffet is doing well!