Diet plays as large a part in keeping your muscles strong and healthy as exercise does. So if you’re taking the trouble to exercise on a regular basis, looking after your muscles by taking care of what you eat will pay huge dividends in the long run.
Food that’s rich in protein is good for your muscles because is provides the necessary building blocks for repair, it promotes protein synthesis helping you to keep and build more muscle and also helps with satiety, keeping you fuller for longer. When you work out, especially if you’re strength training or anaerobic training, there’s a greater need for protein because you’re more likely to experience muscle damage.
Good foods for muscle health
Spinach – a single serving of spinach gives you around 5g of protein, as well as other nutrients that are good for your muscles, including iron. Interestingly – and sadly – the popular notion that downing tins of spinach will result in Popeye-like muscles is nothing more than a myth. The spinachy-superhero Popeye was created purely as the result of a typo in 1871. A decimal point was put in the wrong place when listing its minerals, leading everyone to the erroneous conclusion that spinach was jam-packed full of iron. In reality, a man would have to eat eight 13.5oz cans of spinach and a woman 18 cans in order to get their RDA.
Lean meat – lean meats are rich in the proteins that help muscle repair. Red meats are also rich in zinc which helps promote a healthy immune system. These days people are being more experimental with red meat because exotic meats such as ostrich and kangaroo are a lot less fatty than beef, but have similarly high protein levels.
Fish – eating fish is as good for your muscles as meat, but has the advantage of less fat content. It is also the best source of omega-3 oils. Tuna is a very popular fish amongst bodybuilders and athletes, but halibut also deserves a special mention as it is one of the few foods rich in vitamin D which is very good for muscle strength.
Baked potato – a tattie is surprisingly good for muscles as long as you eat all of it – potato skin contains around a fifth of your RDA of potassium, an electrolyte that helps conduct electricity across your cells. The humble potato also gives you around 10% of your daily protein needs.
Breakfast porridge – porridge and milk are a superb combination when it comes to muscles, giving you carbs, protein, fat, calcium and phosphorus, all of which help you to keep your muscles in good shape.
Beans and legumes – a great and inexpensive source of protein, fibre, calcium and iron. Readily available examples are baked beans, soy beans, lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, French beans, and chick peas (including hummus).
Peas – who knew the humble pea was so good for you. One serving will give you around 8g of protein, as well as lots of vitamin K and vitamin C… as long as you don’t boil the goodness out of them of course.
Quinoa – pronounced ‘keen-wah’, it is richer in protein than any other kind of grain – almost twice as much as couscous. And it doesn’t have to be boring – here are some recipes.
Oranges – the vitamin C in citrus fruit works as an antioxidant which helps to not only protect your muscles against damage, but also helps them heal.
Ginger – the compounds in ginger help to fight inflammation and help to soothe sore muscles. Daily ginger capsules have been shown to result in less pain after doing exercises designed to put a strain on muscles.
If you are having problems with muscular aches and pains, contact us to book an appointment.