Why Nutrition is Important for Our Muscle Health


Determined mature man exercising with barbell in a health club.

Our bodies’ muscles are meant for movement, but muscles also play a key role in synthesizing the amino acids in proteins that allow our vital tissues and organs to function. By keeping your muscles healthy and developing strong nutritional habits, you can boost muscle function and strength.

What Is Muscle Health?

Keeping your muscles healthy helps you walk, run, lift, see (eye muscles), and even speak (throat muscles). Exercise, enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet helps keep your muscles healthy for life.

What Does It Mean to Have Good Muscle Health?

Good muscle health means having strong muscles that can do the jobs they’re meant to do. Strong muscles also help keep your joints in good shape. For instance, if the muscles surrounding your knee weaken, then you’re more likely to injure your knee. Also, strong muscles help you to maintain your balance, decreasing the likelihood you'll fall or slip. Strong muscle health also means you’re keeping your heart muscle strong.

4 Good Nutrition Tips for Maintaining Muscle Health

Increase your body's ability to develop and support strong muscles with these strategies:

1• Maintain a diverse and healthy diet: When you have a balanced and healthy diet, you can easily maintain your ideal weight, your joints, and a healthy brain.

2• Eat lean protein and healthy carbohydrates: Protein is essential to building and maintaining healthy muscles, because protein helps your muscles grow and repair. Foods that supply lean protein include poultry, fish, lean meat, eggs, legumes, beans, and low-fat dairy products. Proteins that deliver all of the essential amino acids (complete proteins) include meats (beef, pork, poultry) seafood, and dairy products. Healthy carbs can give your body the fuel it needs and can be found in fruits, leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, and root vegetables.

3• Stay hydrated: For your muscles to function properly, they need the proper amount of water to stay hydrated. Especially after you've exercised, drink enough water to maintain a good hydration level. The amount of water you'll need depends on your size and level of activity. Generally, doctors recommend the "8×8 rule": drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Fresh whole fruits and vegetables can also boost your water intake, because these food groups are high in water content.

4• Eat foods rich with iron and magnesium: Iron is very important for improved muscle health, because it helps in the production of muscle proteins that carry oxygen from hemoglobin and stores it in the muscle cells. This process helps in muscle contraction. Iron rich foods include shellfish, spinach, liver, legumes, red meat, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, turkey, broccoli, tofu, and dark chocolate. Magnesium is essential for muscle functioning because it also helps muscle contraction, including the heart muscle, and supports healthy blood pressure. Magnesium rich foods include leafy green vegetables, whole grains, tofu, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, avocados, salmon, halibut, mackerel, and beans.

Importance of Good Nutrition When Recovering from Knee or Hip Replacement Surgery

You’ll want to get back to your daily activities as soon as possible after a knee or hip replacement surgery, and good nutrition is essential in meeting these goals. After surgery, it's the time to eat wholesome foods that provide the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need. Be sure to include adequate protein, because it provides nutrients needed for tissue mending, muscle repair, fighting infection, and maintaining fluid balance.

If you have joint pain, the first step in restoring your mobility and quality of life is scheduling a consultation with an experienced orthopedic specialist. Dr. Peter K. Sculco provides high quality care combined with first-rate orthopedic training. Call 212.606.1771 today, or fill out the form on this page to get started.

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