It is quite unlikely for you to believe that you can improve muscle health even if you are not into intense workouts. Well, the fact is you can. And the secret lies in the kind of food you eat. Most of us believe that proteins are the only macronutrient essential for muscle growth. But there’s more to it. Along with proteins, your body requires a lot of other nutrients like carbs to both compensate muscle glycogen stores and to enhance insulin so as to transfer amino acids into the muscles.
When you are working out, the pressure of weightlifting destroys your muscle fibers. This damage stimulates a special repair process that eventually pushes your muscles develop. If you are training hard and at the same time ignoring the nutrients required by your body, then it will be difficult for you to attain desired results. It is imperative for you to know how nutrition works as it helps you utilize the same for your fitness and strength gains. One must keep in mind that fitness is achieved with the right combination of workout and nutrition.
1. Chicken breasts
Chicken is a staple food and an extraordinary source of lean protein that is important for muscle maintenance and repair, bone health, and weight maintenance. 30 grams of protein in a 100 gram serving of chicken breast is just what you need for proper muscle growth. You either boil it or mix it with vegetables to have a great bowl of chicken salad!
Let’s rephrase an old saying to this: an egg a day keeps the doctor away. Eggs are known to be incredible sources of high-quality protein. Proteins increase the biological value of any whole food and does wonders to your body in terms of increasing immunity and strength. This also means that the proteins found in eggs are very important for muscle growth. Along with proteins, all the essential amino acids, choline, the right kind of fat, and vitamin D are also present in eggs. 1 or 2 eggs in a day is good enough to make up for your requirements.
If you are looking for the right vegetarian alternative for chicken or fish, your fight is over. Quinoa is a complete protein source; it comprises all nine of the essential amino acids. In every 100 grams of quinoa, there are 14 grams of protein. This gluten-free food is also easily digestible, high in fiber, magnesium, and iron. Studies have shown that it is a better alternative to rice.
Fish like tuna and salmon can beat any other foods when it comes to muscle building. Fishes are high in protein, low in fat, and rich in omega-3 fatty acids which is important for aiding fat loss and assuring the proper body functions such as your metabolism. Salmon is also a great source of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids which are healthy fats. A 100 gram serving of salmon contains 25 grams of protein.
This plant-based food contains vitamin E which is beneficial for muscle growth. Just 1/4 cup of almonds carries 8 grams of protein, that is approximately 2 grams of protein more than what you can get from an egg. Almonds are also an important source of monounsaturated fats and magnesium, a mineral that is used in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is primarily implicated in energy metabolism and integrating protein. You can have it with milk in the morning or even eat it as a healthy snack.
6. Cottage Cheese
Bodybuilders include cottage cheese in their diet due to the casein protein content. Casein is a slow-digesting protein that is ideal for muscle maintenance. Half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese packs a whopping 14 grams of protein with only 80 calories and less than 2 grams of fat. Apart from this, cottage cheese is enriched with nutrients like Vitamin A, B-12, C, D, magnesium, calcium.
Along with these, different types of fruits like banana, pineapple, and papaya; and vegetables like broccoli and spinach, soy, lentils and chickpeas, brown rice help in building and improving your muscle health.