Gaining muscle mass and staying fit only depends on your choices. At times, it might seem difficult to follow a balanced diet because there’s a wide variety of food at your disposal and you end up not knowing what helps the most in your healthy diet. You try this and that, hoping to find out what works and what doesn’t work for you. The first thing to do is to look for the right information about the food you want and can eat on a daily basis. If you want to build strong and healthy muscles you can’t ignore the importance of vitamins and minerals, bearing in mind that some methods work best for some people and worst for other because everyone has a different organism.
During physical activity, an enormous amount of vitamins and minerals are “spent”. The lack of these essential elements after physical fatigue may affect the normal functioning of the organism, as well as your performance and your body development through time, because they assure the dietetic equilibrium and the chemical reactions on your metabolism.
We’re at the peak of summer and it is normal that you turn to light and refreshing meals. However, these meals don’t have to be less nutritious. It is certain that, for instance, not every fruit contains the same glycemic index (a factor that will determine the increase of the levels of sugar in blood) which is not harmful if the fruit is consumed at the right time. Fruit is a great source of zinc, magnesium, potassium, vitamins and fibre. They help to hydrate the organism, provide energy before the workout and help you recover afterwards and help you build muscle through time. It can be used in creative recipes to completely satisfy your moments of gluttony and to prevent you from recurring to a hypercaloric salad or snack. It is practical and a good element to add to your salads and or to be used as a snack at home or at the beach because it is something light which allows you to go swimming after eating.
Don’t for get to read: Foods that help with supplement absorption
Fruits that contain the essential nutrients for those who workout:
Vitamin A: peach, mango, melon and plum.
Vitamin B9 (folic acid): orange, melon, fig, strawberry and mango.
Vitamin C: Kiwi, lemon, strawberry, orange, mango, papaya and guava.
Note: A group of scientists from Arizona University found out that low levels of vitamin C may reduce the burning of fat during workouts. This happens because this vitamin is essential to the synthesis of carnitine, a necessary component to an efficient oxidation of adipose cells.
Iron: blackberry, fig, strawberry and redcurrant.
Note: the fig is a good source of iron, potassium, calcium, sugar and it is highly energetic.
Magnesium: banana, plum, kiwi.
Potassium: plum, peach, banana, melon, cherry.
Zinc: blackberry, pineapple, kiwi.
Fibre: Plum, blackberry, orange, mango.
Note: blackberry is one of the foods of vegetable origin with the highest content of fibre. It is also a source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. It is rich in antioxidants. Blueberry is one of the best antioxidants. It is also a great source of fibre, vitamin C and K. These nutritional properties have also an anti-aging power. Apricot is also rich in fibre, beta-carotene (provitamin A) and vitamin C, and it is a food that reduces the level of cholesterol.
Some supplements that help to strengthen the diary ingestion of these nutrients:
» The best vitamins to avoid fatigue are: A, B, C and D.
» The best vitamins to help build muscle are: B1, B2, B6, B8 and B12
Tip: the fruits that contain a low glycemic index must be consumed before working-out. On the other hand, the fruits that contain a high GI should be consumed after the workout, once they will help you recover in a faster way the sugar you’ve lost during the physical effort, contributing to a better hydration and a faster recovery.
Options for the pre-workout (30-60 minutes earlier):
Examples of fruits with a Low IG
Strawberry: It is a low-calorie fruit containing vitamin C and B9 as well as some minerals as iron and potassium. The seeds stimulate the intestinal transit.
Cherry: A fruit rich in antioxidants and with a high rate of fibre which contributes to the normal functioning of the intestine. It also contains calcium, iron and vitamin A, B and C. Its diuretic function is due to the high percentage of water it contains.
Plum: Rich in potassium, vitamin A and E. The level of sugar depends on the variety. Plum, as a dry fruit is even more energetic.
Options for the post-workout:
Examples of fruits with a High IG
Fruits with a high glycemic index are very helpful in eventual cases of post-workout hypoglycaemia. It is mainly important for people who practice weight-training.
Melon and Cantaloupe: are rich in water and, therefore, very hydrating. Despite their sweet flavour both are poor in sugar. They are also a source of vitamin C, provitamin A, potassium, magnesium and fibre and possess a low energetic value and help regulate the appetite.
Watermelon: its caloric value is very low because its main component is water. A good ally to hydrate the organism on the beach or after working out. It contains vitamin A, B6 and C and its richest mineral is magnesium. Besides liquid loss, physical activity promotes an accelerated loss of glucose. It is recommended to re-establish the levels of glucose immediately after workout to avoid the loss of lean body mass.
Banana: a fruit that can be consumed for breakfast or after working-out to help you recover the muscular glycogen levels. Bananas are a great source of potassium, a component that plays an important role to the equilibrium of water in the organism and that favour the transmission of impulses on the nervous system, being a necessary electrolyte to the muscular contraction. Potassium helps the cell use the glucose to obtain energy. Some studies reveal that the consumption of potassium oscillates between 60% and 70% of the Daily Values, 4700mg. One banana may contain approximately 400mg of potassium. Half an avocado contains approximately 500mg.
Orange and mango: Are rich in vitamin C and A and are very effective at increasing the secretion of testosterone in the organism, an hormone that promotes the gain of muscle.
How can I assure the daily values of vitamins and minerals?
In case in can’t obtain these vitamins by following a normal diet, you can always use a multivitamin supplement which will help you strengthen your organism and increase the chances of gaining muscle.
N/d, As melhores frutas para quem malha, July 2014, translation and adaptation of the original version
Michael Oliveira, 20 alimentos que dão músculos – Como aumentar sua massa muscular, N/d, translation and adaptation of the original version
Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, 6 Muscle-Friendly Fruits, N/d, adaptação da versão original
N/d, Best fruit for Bodybuilding, N/d, adaptation of the original version
N/d, 10 Vitaminas para quem pratica musculação, N/d, translation and adaptation of the original version
Bruno Folli, Três vitaminas para dar energia ao treino, Abril 2011, translation and adaptation of the original version