The decisions we make with regards to what we eat not only affect how much fat we gain or lose but also muscle. Particularly as we get older, changes in our metabolism and lifestyle mean that our muscles often deteriorate and are replaced by build-ups of fat but regardless of our age or current physique, the right diet evidently plays a crucial role in the building and maintenance of healthy muscles.
- Eggs: One of the most important things we need from our diet to be able to build and maintain muscle is protein and eggs are among the best natural sources available. The vitamin B12 found in the yolks also helps with the breakdown of body fat, another helpful attribute of the humble egg.
- Chicken: Chicken has one of the best fat to protein ratios when it comes to muscle building. It is hugely versatile in its use and has rightly become the staple meat for those looking to pack on the pounds in all the right ways.
- Beef: Red meats are often feared for being “too fatty” but if you opt for lean cuts, you can enjoy the high levels of muscle building zinc, iron and creatine without feeling guilty.
- Oysters: With regards to foods that are high in zinc, you can’t find much better than oysters. Low in fat and high in protein, these unexpected wonders from the water are a bodybuilder’s best friend.
- Almonds: Almonds are known to be an excellent source of vitamin E, which helps the body to recover after an intense work-out and let’s face it, if you plan to build muscle, you will have to go through quite a few of them.
- Water: Water really is the ultimate superfood; fat free, calorie free and the optimum hydrator. When we consider that muscle is in fact made up of 80% water, it is no wonder we need to make sure we get plenty of the stuff when we plan to hit the gym, as the more dehydrated we are, the more pressure we put on our body and the more susceptible we therefore become to injury and fatigue.
- Salmon: Salmon is good for your heart health, which is vital if you intend to partake in vigorous exercise. The omega-3 essential fatty acids found in salmon also reduce the breakdown of protein, which is very useful since you need to store new protein faster than you burn old reserves to be able to build muscle.
- Soy: For those who prefer not to include too much potentially fatty meat in their diet, soy beans are the perfect solution. It can be enjoyed easily in the form of soy milk or tofu and is the best plant source for protein. It also boasts a variety of different vitamins and minerals that all benefit the body, all the while being low in fat.
- Cottage cheese: This one almost always surprises people but low-fat cottage cheese provides huge amounts of protein along with very low calorie and fat intake.
There are so many ways to work with and study food these days and people dedicate their entire working lives to doing so. Whether or not that is the path you take as an individual, we would be foolish not to heed the advice the experts give us in regards to dietary and nutritional information if we want to maximise the health and fitness of our bodies and with such simple foods helping to maintain our muscles, there really is no excuse not to take care of ourselves and enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.