The best way to build muscle is, of course, through regular exercise, but there are a few ways you can add a little helping hand, helping to increase mass and minimise extra fat. One of these ways is to ensure you’re drinking enough water, as dehydration can restrict blood flow to the muscle, which means there may not be enough oxygen for the contracting muscle to utilise for growth. Another way is to make sure you’re eating a good diet each day which includes lots of foods that can help to facilitate muscle growth.
Research shows that omega-3 oils found in some kinds of fish can stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS). In simple terms, this means that the oils can encourage the muscle to respond to any exercise you undertake. Omega-3 is believed to be so beneficial in terms of muscle growth that it’s often recommended as a treatment for people suffering from sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss). Salmon, mackerel, and oysters are all good sources of Omega-3, but if you’re not too keen on fish, don’t worry. There are plenty of other sources of Omega-3, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and supplements.
Many people know that protein is essential for building muscle, but what they don’t understand is why. Well, it may come as quite a surprise to learn that it’s not really the protein itself that’s the important part; it’s the leucine. Leucine is an amino acid found in high protein foods like beef, chicken and pork, and research shows that leucine has a similar effect as omega-3; it stimulates muscle protein synthesis. Contrary to popular belief, it’s quite easy for vegetarians to ensure a healthy intake of leucine. As well as meats, leucine is also found in cheese, soybeans, nuts, seeds, miso, and tofu, so there’s plenty of choices.
Remember that it takes a long time to build muscle and that you shouldn’t expect to see results overnight. However, with regular strength training, frequent exercise, and a healthy diet, you’re well on your way to helping your body to become stronger and healthier.