What are the proper nutrients for muscle growth?

More than betting on the consumption of supplements, the most appropriate thing is to bet on a balanced diet, according to the needs of the body.

When people begin to improve their lifestyle and maintain an exercise routine, it is normal that they wonder what are the right nutrients for muscle growth. In order to answer this question, we must investigate the issue of food.

Although supplements have become a very popular option worldwide, this does not mean that they are the best option when it comes to nourishing us and promoting muscle growth. A study was recently published in the  Journal  in which it was found that supplements to gain muscle mass are not effective and that only nitrate and caffeine were really effective after ingestion.

In addition to contemplating the consumption of supplements, people who want to grow their muscles often have, at least in the first instance, the idea that they should base their diet only on the consumption of protein. However, this is a mistake.

Next, we will analyze what are the essential nutrients for muscle growth.

Bet on a balanced diet

To work the muscles and promote their growth, it is not necessary to reduce the diet to a single food group, as this can lead to decompensation and a number of complications. Proteins are important, but in any case, a good physique is achieved by maintaining a balanced diet.

This diet should include the different food groups, depending on the needs of the body. In order to establish a personalized diet, it is advisable to consult with a nutritionist. The only edibles that should be excluded, for general health and not just for muscle gain, are artificial foods, fried foods, sweets, and of course all ultra-processed foods.

The recommendation of Experts.

As Experts explain, a healthy diet should be based on 6 parameters.

  1. Suitability for each circumstance (person, age, illness, physical activity, etc.).
  2. Balance as for the immediate principles (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals).
  3. Variety, when it comes to the types of food.
  4. Quality, in all its components.
  5. Satisfaction (it must be palatable).
  6. Sufficient amounts (from a caloric and nutritional point of view).

More than betting on the consumption of supplements, the most appropriate thing is to bet on a balanced diet (that is not a penance) and that is according to the needs of the body. In this sense, it is worth remembering that no organism is exactly the same as another, so it will be important to consult a specialist about a possible personalized diet.

Adequate nutrients for muscle growth


The idea that carbohydrates increase the volume of your muscles is popular. In reality, what happens is that an adequate store of muscle glycogen encourages the size and weight of the muscles to increase. This is because, together with muscle protein and water, stored glycogen works in favor of greater muscle volume.

On the other hand, what does happen is that carbohydrates optimize the action of proteins. When consuming carbohydrate products, the body releases insulin. This is a fundamental hormone for glucose to enter the cells and can be used as a source of energy. Insulin is also what introduces amino acids to muscle tissue, causing muscles to recover and grow.

As we mentioned before, the nutritional requirements are better calculated in a completely individual and personalized way. However, the carbohydrate intake should generally range between 40 and 60% of the total caloric intake.

Of course, it is important to opt for good quality, complex carbohydrates. That is, legumes, quinoa, oatmeal, rice, whole grains, bread, and pasta. It is very important to avoid ultra-processed products, such as fried foods or industrial pastries. Good carbohydrates also need to be properly combined with other essential foods and nutrients.


Of animal origin: red and white meat.

To date, there are studies that support the fact that protein supplementation after resistance exercise promotes an increase in muscle protein synthesis. This ultimately encourages more muscle growth compared to exercise alone or exercising with a supplemental carbohydrate intake.

Specifically, a good food to include in the diet is red meat, which in addition to protein also contains high levels of zinc, iron and B vitamins. On the other hand, white chicken or turkey meat offers a large amount of proteins, and also these are products with very little fat.

Proteins of plant origin

For example, legumes, like lentils and beans, provide lots of protein, as well as vitamins and fiber. Although soy contains the highest amount of protein of all, for muscle growth it is often recommended to consume tempeh, a protein derived from fermented soybeans.

On the other hand, nuts (such as walnuts, hazelnuts, or peanuts also contain protein, so including them as ingredients in a good diet can be positive. The same happens with seeds, such as chia seeds.

Eating well is essential to maintain a good rhythm of life. Find out about the foods you eat, choose good, natural and varied products, and if you have questions, ask your doctor or nutritionist. Bet on health.


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