To build muscles and increase muscle strength one must include a variety of veggies, proteins, fruits, carbohydrate and healthy fats in diet. Protein is the key nutrient required for building and strengthening muscles. In addition to muscle build up, protein also helps in fat loss. It is essential to add foods that contain vitamin and minerals to diet while building muscles and increasing muscle strength. Foods containing carbohydrate adds fuel to muscles and provides energy while exercising. Besides following a healthy diet it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle while building muscles and increasing muscle strength. These include adequate sleep and rest, refrain for using recreational drugs and steroids, limit alcohol intake, quit smoking etc. Over exercising and over straining can also be harmful to the body. Exercise regimen should be planned by an experienced professional and should be modified based on each individual’s need and requirement.
Foods that Help Increase Muscle Strength
The following food items when taken in combination, provides adequate nutrients for building and strengthening muscles:
- Whole Eggs for Increasing Muscle Strength: Eggs are very rich in protein. 1 whole egg contains about 7 grams of protein. The yellow portion of the egg or the yolk contains 50 percent of the total protein content in addition to vitamin A, D, E and cholesterol. This aids in increasing the testosterone levels which in turn helps in building muscles and increasing muscle strength.
- Fish Oil Benefits for Strengthening Muscle: Fish oil can be attained from fatty fish or fish oil supplements. Fish oil helps in lowering body fat and elevates testosterone levels. It also reduces inflammation in joints and skin.
- Salmon: Salmon contains omega 3 fatty acid and is also a good source of protein. (20gms of protein per 100gms serving). Wild salmon contains more omega 3 fatty acid than farm raised salmon.
- Add Berries to Your Diet to Increase Muscle Strength: These include raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries etc. and are found fresh and in frozen form commercially. Berries are rich in anti-oxidants and are beneficial in building muscles. In addition, they help in reducing the risk of developing cancer, heart and eye disease.
- Yogurt: Plain low fat yogurt with berries and flax seeds is an excellent wholesome meal for individuals trying to lose weight and build muscles. It contains healthy bacteria that help in maintaining the gut flora. It is advised to avoid frozen yogurt or yogurt with added sugar.
- Flax Seeds: Flax seeds are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acid, protein and fibre. It can be consumed as it is or after crushing it to help increase muscle strength.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil contains polyphenols. It has 70% of mono unsaturated fats which aids in prevention of cancer and coronary disorder.
- Mixed Nuts Helps in Increasing Muscle Strength: Nuts are rich in calories and at the same time, they are rich in mono saturated and poly saturated fats, proteins, vitamin E, zinc, potassium, magnesium and fibre.
- Red Meat: Red meat is a good source of protein, iron, omega 3 fatty acid, zinc, vitamin B 12, creatinine, and carnosine. So if you intend to increase your muscle strength, then adding red meat to your diet can be helpful.
- Cruciferous Vegetables Helps in Increasing Muscle Strength: These include cabbage, bok choy, kale, broccoli etc. They are rich in soluble fibre and are low in calories. Cruciferous vegetables help in strengthening muscle and in weight loss.
- Turkey Meat: Turkey meat has close to 0 grams of fat per serving. When served with spinach and quinoa, it will be a healthy meal for individuals trying to build muscles and increase strength.
- Quinoa for Increasing Muscle Strength: This has higher fibre and protein content than rice or oats. It helps in staying full for a longer period of time. The protein content helps in increasing muscle strength.
- Oats: Oats contains soluble fat and provides energy. It also helps in reducing cholesterol.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Food items dressed with tomato sauce and olive is an excellent choice post work out.
- Apples: Apples contain pectin which aids in weight loss. It is also a rich source of anti-oxidants.
- Carrots for Strengthening Muscles: These are rich in fibres and low in calories.
- Water: Adequate hydration helps in muscle recovery and increasing muscle strength.
- Green Tea for Increasing Muscle Strength: Green tea helps is weight loss, detoxification, prevent cancer and improve blood glucose level and circulation.
Foods to Avoid While Trying to Increase Muscle Strength
Some of the food items that should be avoided while building muscles and increasing muscle strength include:
- Avoid White Bread: It is recommended to have whole wheat breads instead of white bread. White breads have high Glycemic Index (GI) and can increase the blood glucose levels.
- Avoid Dried Fruits: Dried fruits often contain added sugar, preservatives and sulphur. These are not good for the body. Also, these fruits have very low or almost no water content which can lead to over eating.
- Avoid Pre-mixed Salads: Pre-mixed salads often contain high calories and are not healthy. It has unhealthy dressings and other additives which may reverse the process of body building.
- Soda and other Soft Drinks should be Avoided While Increasing Muscle Strength: These are often saturated with sugar and have no health benefits to the body. They only add calories to the body.
- Avoid Processed Meat or Canned Foods: These contain preservatives and are known as empty calories. They do not have any nutritive value.
- Ice Creams and Desserts Should Be Avoided: Ice creams are high in calorie, sugar and fat and thus not ideal during muscle building and increasing muscle strength.
- While Junk Food: These include food like pizza, burger, French fries, deep fried items and other fast food items. They are high in calorie and fats and often contain saturated oil and salt which aren’t good for health. Junk foods also increase body fat and thus must be avoided while strengthening muscles.
Building muscles and strength is an art and requires a lot of dedication. It is highly important to follow a healthy diet in addition to following the right exercise regimen for building muscles, losing fat and increasing muscle strength. It is advised to have a small meal rich in protein, nuts, veggies and fruits every 3 hours. One should consume carbohydrate post work out only. It is essential to stay adequately hydrated and have at least 2 cups of water with every meal. It is encouraged to reduce intake of junk food completely; if unavoidable, it should not exceed more than 10 percent of the total food intake of the day. It is also encouraged to quit smoking and limit alcohol while working towards building a fit body and strengthening muscles.