If you are fitness enthusiast, you must have surely heard about macro nutrients and their importance for your lifestyle. But did you know that macro nutrients are not the only nutrients you should focus on. There exist a variety of other nutrients in addition to protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats that can help with optimal growth as well as recovery of muscles in your body. Read the blog to learn about some of the lesser known nutrients that you can incorporate in your daily diet.
Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid
Studies suggest that vitamin B9, or folate, acts as a cofactor in the process of production of energy and muscle recovery. This aids new cell production as well as repair of damaged tissues and cells in the body.
You can get enough amounts of vitamin B9 from foods like whole grains, beans, peanuts, dark leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, and so on. If you are unable to get enough amounts of B9 through natural foods alone, you can rely on supplementation. For folic acid supplements India market has a lot of options to offer.
Did You Know? The intake of vitamin B9 combined with that of vitamin B6 & B12 can help improve blood flow as well as nutrient delivery to your muscles.
Vitamin D is commonly known for how it benefits bone health. However, it also promotes protein synthesis, effective absorption of calcium, muscle strengthening, and other processes that support bodybuilders’ and fitness enthusiasts’ journey.
You can get good amounts of vitamin D from food sources such as liver, egg yolks, red meat, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and fortified foods.
Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) are known for their role in the enhancement of muscle protein synthesis as well as anabolic exercise response. In simple language, muscle protein synthesis can be defined as the process of building and growing muscle mass. On the other hand, anabolic exercise response can be said to be the difference between the protein synthesis and protein breakdown (of muscles) in the body, better known as the net protein balance.
Therefore, inclusion of EAAs in your bodybuilding or fitness diet can help with effective growth and recovery of muscles.
Iron plays a key role in various physiological processes in your body, including muscle growth as well as recovery. It is a major component of haemoglobin present in your blood cells responsible for the transportation of oxygen to the muscles in your body. Reduced oxygen levels can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue and reduced athletic performance. Therefore, it becomes important to maintain iron levels in your body. The nutrient also supports recovery of muscles by aiding the production of myoglobin. This helps your body recover from the stress and damage that your muscles undergo during a workout.
Major iron-rich foods include red meat, fish, leafy green vegetables, lentils, fortified cereals, and so on. Add these to your daily diet to avoid conditions of iron deficiency.
Magnesium plays an important role in bodily processes such as protein synthesis, muscle contraction, and production of energy. Inadequate amounts of magnesium in the body may lead to inefficiency in building of new muscle tissues as well as repair of damaged muscle fibres. At the time of muscle contraction, magnesium along with calcium can help with the regulation of the flow of ions in and out of muscle cells.
You can add nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc. to your daily diet in order to fulfil your body’s requirement of the nutrient. Remember not to exceed the recommended intake amounts and balance your diet with other nutrients as well.
Vitamin E is usually known for its benefits for skin health. Its antioxidant properties have an indirect impact on the growth of your muscles. It plays a key role in fighting against the effects of free radicals in the body and maintaining the oxidative balance. These free radicals are caused because of overexertion and stress during a workout. The nutrient can also help reduce inflammation.
You can rely on foods such as roasted sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin, red bell pepper, and so on to get enough amounts of vitamin E.
So these were some of the lesser known nutrients that have an impact on the growth and recovery of muscles in your body. Incorporate these or multivitamin tablets that contain all of them in one in your daily diet to avoid deficiencies and maintain the desired muscle mass. Ensure that you do not exceed the recommended daily amounts of intake of any of these nutrients. This is because, like every food item, excess consumption of anything is not good for your health, and may lead to certain side effects.
If you have insufficient knowledge on how to incorporate these in your diet or the suitable consumption amounts, the best option is to consult a nutritionist. A professional will be able to guide you better, and may even be willing to provide a customised diet plan based on your goals as well as requirements.
— Qadir Maroof Anwar is an independent health journalist.
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