Healthy foods to gain muscle mass

H

OW TO MAKE FOOD YOUR ALLY TO GAIN MUSCLE MASS

Building muscle takes hard work, both in the gym and in the kitchen. To gain muscle mass, it requires a combination of strength training and cardio exercises alongside a healthy and balanced diet. Protein can particularly help in the process! [1]

The amount of protein you need will look different for everyone depending on factors such as your lifestyle, genetics and fitness goals, but there are some foods that are always great options to consider.

Tips on what to eat to gain muscle mass

When you’re trying to build muscle and strength, it’s important that you tailor your training plan and your diet to meet your needs. To help gain muscle mass, combine the following foods with fruit and vegetables:

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Lean meat

Animal products are usually a great source of protein, especially lean meats like chicken and turkey [2]. They provide a low-fat meal choice packed with amino acids, which can support muscle growth and recovery.

Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with a single egg containing around 6g of protein [3]. Packed with the 9 essential amino acids [4], they also contain vitamins D and B2.

Dairy products

Yoghurt, cheese and milk are also high in protein, require minimal preparation, and offer calcium [5]. For more variety, why not look at YoPRO products? Containing up to 20g of protein, they can be a convenient fuel on the go for athletes.

Fish

Oily fish such as tuna and salmon are high in protein. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids [6] which are an essential part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Whole grains

Eating whole grains, such as brown rice and bread (both sources of carbohydrates and fibre) is important for maintaining energy levels throughout the day. Hormones such as insulin, produced in response to nutrients such as glucose (coming from carbohydrates), and some amino acids influence the muscle growth [7].

Beans and lentils

Did you know that some plants can also provide protein? Beans and lentils are both high in protein and work well as meat substitutes in many dishes when combined with cereals such as rice. Other sources of vegan protein include tofu, nuts and seeds.

Whey protein

If you’re looking for a quick and highly effective source of protein, whey protein powder is a convenient choice. It can be added to shakes, smoothies and oats and there are also ready to-eat products like yoghurts and bars containing whey.

What is whey protein, and why is it the way to go?

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Although eating any protein will help towards building muscle, there is one type of protein that can be specifically beneficial: whey protein.

Whey protein is a popular source of protein amongst athletes because the body can absorb it quickly. It contains an important quantity of BCAAs and, therefore, efficiently recovers muscles after a training session [8]. It’s also a convenient option if you’re busy because the preparation time is minimal and it doesn’t need further preparation from you unlike some other sources of protein. When it comes to whey protein to gain muscle mass, it depends on your diet and lifestyle – YoPRO PERFORM yoghurt is a convenient option whatever time of the day.

Don’t forget about sports, key to building muscles!

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As you now know, food can help building muscle, and particularly having a rather high protein diet. But of course, food is not the only factor. Let’s have a look at this!

Exercise

Strength training, light cardio and resistance training are the basis to building muscle [9]. If you’re unsure about what the best exercises are to do, you can speak to a personal trainer who can create a tailored workout plan especially for you, depending on what you enjoy, your fitness level and your goals!

Hydration

We never stress enough the importance of water! Ensuring you drink before, during and after a workout means that your body can transport all of the nutrients you eat around to your muscles to build them and keep them functioning correctly [10]. If you work out intensively for a long time, look at drinks with sodium to make the best use of the water you drink! [11]

Sleep

An important part of muscle mass building is allowing your body the time to recover – which is where sleep comes in. Our body is in a regenerative state while sleeping [12], so rest is essential for reducing the chance of injury and making sure you perform at your best!

So now you have the keys to muscle building! Keep in mind these easy tips to support you on your journey!

Written by: Ashley Manning

Any medical advice and views expressed are those of the author; readers should obtain medical advice.

REFERENCES

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566799/

[2] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/859/2

[3] United States Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-
app.html#/food-details/748967/nutrients

[4] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-reasons-why-eggs-are-the-healthiest-food-on-the- planet#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5

[5] https://www.dairynutrition.ca/scientific-evidence/experts-summaries/effects-of-drinking-milk-following-exercise

[6] https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids

[7] https://www.cardiffsportsnutrition.co.uk/blogs/articles/insulin-glucose-and-muscle-growth

[8] Monirujjaman M (2014). “Metabolic and Physiological Roles of Branched-Chain Amino Acids”. Advances in Molecular Biology. 2014: 1–6

[9] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319151#building-muscle-through-exercise

[10] Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance, 2016

[11] Role of Functional Beverages on Sport Performance and Recovery Orru S., et al., Nutrients, 2018

[12] https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/importance-of-sleep-understanding-sleep-stages/