Muscle mass, protein build, muscle health, are probably terms associated with frequent gym goers and fitness enthusiasts. But the truth of the matter is that these are terms that should be given the same importance as we do to our height and weight.
In a recent survey conducted by Inbody, a global leader in body composition analysis, it was found that 72% of Indians had poor muscle health and needed to gain muscle mass.
Out of the cities, Lucknow scored the least with 81%, followed by Patna (77%), Hyderabad (75%) and Ahmedabad (73%).
So what is muscle mass?
It is the weight of the muscles in your body, which includes smooth muscles, skeletal muscles and water content in the muscles.
Now, we are intended to blame our sedentary lifestyle where we do not work out or hit the gym often. Though these factors do play a role in muscle mass, it is only a small part of it.
Building muscles is not all about lifting weights. This is our common misbelief that curling weights increases muscles. In fact, it is the diet that makes our muscles.
Exercise only stretches and breaks our muscles. These breakages are very small in scale, and when we rest, our body repairs with the help of proteins. This is what makes muscles stronger in due time.
The common “fad” of starving to lose weight or fat is a sham, as the body doesn’t burn fat when you starve, but actually, it burns your muscles for energy.
So always remember, when you want to lose weight, you have to work out to build muscles, which will burn calories, whereby you will lose fat.
In this process, having the right diet is the most important part. Here’s a look into some protein-rich foods that can enrich your muscles and give you a better lifestyle.
MEAT AND EGGS
Okay, all the vegetarians can skip this one.
Ask any health trainer, and they would say meat is an important part if you want to build muscles. That is because meat offers ready protein for the body to digest. Most meats from chicken to tuna contain essential and non-essential amino acids that benefit protein synthesis.
According to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, athletes require between 1.2 g and 1.7 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
MILK AND YOGHURT
Well-loved dairy products like milk and yoghurt are jam-packed with muscle building nutrients and proteins!
Yoghurt is a very healthy food item that is rich in potassium, calcium and protein! And it is very much comparable to cottage cheese. And unlike meat, it is low on sodium.
Milk, on the other hand, is a combination of slow and fast protein with casein and whey. That’s why milk is a great post-workout food item. Comparably, soy milk is considered as a fast-digesting protein which is as beneficial as white milk.
Paneer is also an all-rounder when it comes to muscle building where 100 grams of paneer contains 20 grams of protein!
You can go nuts with these bodybuilding items as a great post-workout snack. Most nuts contain rich amounts of protein and healthy fats which contribute to muscle building.
Nuts such as cashews and almonds are packed with protein, fats, and fibres which help you maintain extra calories even after a tedious workout.
BEANS AND POTATOES
Beans are not only a good source of proteins, but they also boost insulin response which impacts muscle growth positively.
This is because they increase the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, hence letting the body absorb the proper amount of nutrients!
Potatoes are usually considered a foe of bodybuilding, but they provide potassium which is essential for muscle building. Though potatoes should be prepared with little to no oil for the benefits to outweigh the negatives.
CHAPATI AND BROWN RICE
Wheat chapati is the best source of fibre and the compound selenium, which is crucial for muscle building. It also consists of a good amount of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and arginine which helps in the processing of proteins.
Brown rice is a slow-digesting whole grain that provides you with longer-lasting energy needed to rebuild muscles. It can also help boost the growth hormone (GH) levels critical for lean muscle growth and fat loss.
These are just some of the food items that can help with muscle building. There are many others like pea protein and whey that you could also use. These should be taken as per the advice of the doctor.
Eat well and make India healthier!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)