Muscle mass, strength, and physical performance are key to maintaining health. With increasing age, especially from age 50 onwards, the body shows a physiological loss of muscle mass favored by hormonal changes, a sedentary lifestyle, and an unbalanced diet. When it comes to increasing muscle mass, many of us imagine endless hours in the gym, while we rarely think about nutrition. Still, this is key:
- Additional energy (calories) with good protein is needed to grow muscle tissue, and a protein with branched-chain amino acids to repair muscle tissue damaged by activity.
- Between 200 and 300 extra kilocalories per day are sufficient to increase muscle mass while minimizing fat gain and thus maintaining a slim figure.
Therefore beware of too restrictive diets and fasting; a balanced diet is better, plus, of course, physical activity, in particular anaerobic.
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What To Eat To Increase Muscle Mass
Muscle hypertrophy, i.e., the increase in mass, occurs when cells work to regenerate muscle fibers. If we don’t provide enough protein, the body won’t be able to rebuild muscle fibers. But what are the important foods for building mass?
These macronutrients are essential for building muscle mass, but eating exaggerated quantities of them is not necessary to increase muscles; moreover, too much protein strains the work of the liver and kidneys. Where are proteins found? Good protein sources include meats, eggs, fish, cheeses, and legumes. Incorporating these foods into a varied diet consisting of balanced meals is essential for muscle health.
What types of proteins are there? Proteins are not all the same, and it is certainly useful to know and take those ads more frequently. High biological value. Many proteins are of animal origin. However, it is now demonstrated that many vegetable proteins, if taken correctly and frequently, help maintain and increase muscle trophism.
How much protein to take per day? At least 0.8-1.0 grams per kilo of body weight, even if the quantities should be personalized, considering gender, age, levels, and amount of physical activity, e.g., a professional athlete with intense workouts can even reach 2.0 g per kilo. A good tip is to eat five or more small, balanced meals each day to maintain a high and constant level of proteins in the blood so that they are always available for the regeneration of muscle tissue.
Proteins with branched-chain amino acids ( Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine ) are immediately available to provide immediate energy and repair muscle fibers as they are captured directly by the muscles without passing through the liver. Foods such as Grana Padano DOP provide 33% of high-biological value proteins with nine essential amino acids, including the three branched ones. This cheese also provides good quantities of vitamins and antioxidants such as zinc, selenium, vitamin A, and group B B12 and B6, the latter being important because it is involved in the metabolism of amino acids.
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Fats should not be banned: introducing insufficient quantities can reduce the concentration of hormones useful for increasing muscles. Where are fats found? We find quality fats useful for muscle building in avocados, peanut butter, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel), eggs, and cheeses., the choice of which must be made by favoring the number of proteins over fats; for example: in Grana Padano DOP, we find a fat content of 29% (one-third of which is unsaturated) and proteins of 33%. Day? The ideal daily fat intake is around 25-35% of total calories (kcal) daily.
Carbohydrates cannot build muscle, but they are the ideal fuel for physical exercise and must therefore be consumed at every main meal, preferring wholemeal ones. Where are carbohydrates found? We find them in pasta, rice, beans, potatoes, cereals, and wholemeal flour. Foods to avoid or reduce
- Let’s limit the consumption of simple sugars, such as those present in sweets, juices, and drinks;
- Avoid the empty calories in wine, beer, and spirits.
Breakfast: Why It’s Important To Increase Muscle Mass
Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of breakfast in increasing muscle mass due to chronobiological mechanisms. In the morning, we are metabolically more active and in a potentially anabolic state (increased ability to carry out protein synthesis) for muscle growth.
Three types of useful foods to eat for breakfast:
Blueberries, for example, can help muscles recover faster after exercise;
It is an excellent source of protein, preferably natural, with no added flavors or sugars. The probiotics in yogurt will also aid digestion;
OilseedsI And Dried Fruit
For example, flax seeds are rich in protein and precious Omega-3 fatty acids. The same goes for walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews: they are foods rich in good fats and magnesium, a mineral necessary to keep muscle tissue healthy throughout the body.
Water And Training: The Perfect Alliance
Drinking water before, during, and after a workout is important: dehydration lowers performance and makes recovery more difficult. You shouldn’t lose more than 2 percent of your body weight in fluids during a workout, so weigh yourself before and immediately after a workout. The difference between the two values represents the amount of fluids lost. For every 500ml, you need to drink about 600-700ml of water to recover.
The Supplements For Increasing Muscle Mass
Supplements are certainly useful, but only if there is an established deficiency and therefore prescribed by the doctor. They serve to supplement the diet: we must not abuse them or use them to replace food or an entire meal. Supplements such as:
- Whey proteins (milk whey proteins)
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