At 360 Orthopedics, much of our practice focuses on injury recovery and orthopedic pain management. Physical therapy is a frequent treatment modality, designed to develop muscle mass as a way to support ailing joints.
Healthy muscles take some of the load that will otherwise fall entirely on your joints. This added support helps anyone suffering from joint pain, whether due to arthritis or sports injury. The targeted exercises of physical therapy play an important role in muscle development and maintenance, but those exercises in turn need the support of a diet that provides the necessary raw materials for muscle health.
The way you currently eat likely provides adequate nutrition. However, making a few changes can supercharge muscle health for the long haul. We’ve compiled a selection of muscle-friendly dietary choices you can select from to improve your efforts. The most significant changes to your diet are those that you can sustain.
The building blocks of dietary muscle support
While the right foods can help you reach your muscle development goals, you can’t preserve or grow muscle mass without activities like resistance exercises or weight training. You don’t need long hours in the gym, but you do require repetitions that stimulate muscle tissue.
Protein is the key macronutrient for muscle-based efforts. The key amino acid proteins support new tissue production as well as blocking the body from using existing muscle as a source of fuel during workouts.
That effort requires calories, first and foremost, to deliver the energy you need to get the most from your muscle workouts. Carbohydrates drive your energy levels, and maintaining energy provides you with greater muscle building potential.
Dietary fats aren’t a significant contributor to muscle health directly, but they’re important for maintaining your immune system and normal hormone function. In short, you’ll still need a balanced diet across the food spectrum even with muscle-friendly dietary changes.
Diet changes for muscle health
Using these building blocks helps to establish priorities for a muscle-oriented diet plan. Consider these strategies to bolster your muscle health efforts.
1. Build around proteins
As the essential dietary foundation for muscle, you want plenty of protein in your diet. Lean animal products deliver the essential amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own. Look to foods like poultry, fish, lean beef, eggs, and dairy products, but don’t forget other protein sources like legumes, including black beans, kidney beans, and soybeans. Whole grains like buckwheat, oats, and quinoa also add to the protein supply. Aim for a calorie load of 25% proteins for muscle health.
2. Healthy carbs
Meet your energy needs with high-fiber, slow-digesting carbohydrates in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Note the double duty that grains and beans can do for your menu plan. Carbs account for about 50% of your daily calorie intake.
3. Essential fats
Unlike a weight loss diet, there’s no reason to aggressively reduce fat levels, as long as those you do consume are beneficial. Not only is fat satisfying to eat, it helps to maintain testosterone levels, essential for muscle preservation. As well as lean animal sources, add foods like avocados, olives and olive oil, fatty fish including salmon and trout, and nuts like almonds and walnuts. Like proteins, healthy fats should make up about 25% of your calorie load.
Talk to the professionals at 360 Orthopedics for their suggestions to aid muscle maintenance for your situation. Call or click to schedule a consultation with the nearest of our three locations today.