Many people include exercise and healthy eating on their new year’s resolutions list. Most of us want to lose fat while building muscle. While you do need to work out to build muscle mass, your diet can help you to gain muscle. But what should you focus on? Here are some suggestions to implement in your diet:
Gain muscle with healthy food
Although it is important to eat more calories than you burn when trying to gain muscle, it is still important to make healthy food choices. Protein helps with gaining muscle, but you still need to eat enough carbs and fresh produce to stay healthy and have enough energy. You should never skip breakfast, and try to eat at least every three hours. Stay away from fast food and focus on whole foods. Here are some suggestions for great sources of protein:
Beef has always been believed to be the best food for building muscle. The reason for that is because beef contains a unique combination of nutrients which helps your body build muscle. These nutrients include various essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein that our bodies need to function correctly. Other nutrients assisting your body to gain muscle are iron, B-vitamins, a mixture of saturated and monounsaturated fat, and creatine.
Oily fish like salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids that are known to improve heart health, but they also inhibit the breaking down of muscle. It’s also quite protein-dense, which makes it an excellent choice for getting more protein.
Although eggs contain cholesterol, dietary and blood cholesterol are not related. The cholesterol in egg yolks naturally boosts your steroid hormone levels. It also contains amino acids and vitamins A, D, and E.
Dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cottage cheese are good sources of protein. Dairy contains whey and casein, two different types of protein. Casein is digested slower than whey, which means your blood amino acid levels rise slower and stay elevated for longer. Fermented dairy products also contain good bacteria which helps your gut break down and absorb the essential nutrients you need.
What about vegan/vegetarian diets?
If you are vegan or vegetarian, you can still use your diet to help you to gain muscle mass. We discuss it in more detail in our next article, Vegan Muscle Building: A Plant-Based Diet.