If you’re on a quest to build muscle mass, your diet is equally as important as your workout regime and the rest period between weightlifting sessions.
Building and maintaining muscles require a number of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein. Here are fourteen foods that pack in powerful nutrition so you can eat efficiently for stronger, leaner muscles.
1. MackerelMackerel is a delicious fish with a taste similar to tuna.
The advantage of mackerel is a much higher omega-3 fatty acid content. In fact, mackerel has the highest omega-3 content of all fish, at 2.6 grams per 3.5 ounces.
By comparison, tuna, salmon and sardines all have 1.5 grams for the same amount. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for building strong muscles.
Omega-3 fatty acid increases the flow of blood to muscles during exercise, which in turn decreases post-workout soreness and swelling.
Additionally, it increases your sensitivity to insulin, which promotes fat burning in muscles and inhibits the storage of fat. Recent studies show that it may also help regulate muscle growth and slow muscle loss during periods of rest, or while recovering from an injury.
But omega-3 isn’t all this powerhouse fish provides. It’s also high in antioxidants like Vitamins C, E, A and K, as well as B-6 and B-12.
Minerals found in mackerel include phosphorous, which works with the B-6 and B-12 to help reduce muscle contractions; potassium, which promotes healthy muscle tissue; and magnesium, which promotes your body’s production of Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1), an essential nutrient for growing and strengthening muscles.
Zinc found in mackerel helps prevent the decrease of thyroid hormones that help the body build additional muscle tissue.
Mackerel can also prevent inflammation, reduce arthritis and decrease the risk of conditions like dementia, diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.
To get the greatest health and muscle-building benefits from mackerel, season it with salt and pepper and steam, grill or broil it, and squeeze some lemon juice over it before eating.