Just 5 Foods to Help Build Muscle Mass in Kids
Muscle mass is very important for growing children to build strength and endurance for their daily activities and sports. They need muscle mass to support bones, build stamina and stay fit in the longer run. However, building muscle mass is not just about lifting weights or drinking protein shakes. It is also about eating healthy foods that provide the essential nutrients for muscle growth and development.
Here are some of the best foods to help build muscle mass in kids:
Pulses and Legumes
Pulses and legumes are plant-based foods that are high in protein, which is the building block of muscles. They also contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron, folate, and other vitamins and minerals that support overall health and wellness. Pulses and legumes can be easily incorporated into the diet of kids by making different dishes, such as porridge, khichdi, dal, soup, salad, or hummus.
Dairy foods are a rich source of calcium, which helps make the bones strong and prevent fractures. They also provide high-quality protein, which consists of whey and casein. These are the ingredients of most of the muscle mass building drinks. Whey protein is fast-digesting and helps in muscle recovery after exercise. Casein protein is slow-digesting and helps in muscle growth and maintenance. Dairy foods also contain other nutrients, such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin D, that are beneficial for muscle health. Dairy foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, paneer, and butter.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the growing child. Omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing inflammation, improving blood flow, and enhancing muscle function. They also help in preventing muscle loss and increasing muscle mass. Nuts and seeds also provide protein, fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals, such as zinc, selenium, and magnesium, that are important for muscle growth and repair. Nuts and seeds include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds. They can be eaten as snacks, added to salads, cereals, smoothies, or baked goods.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in carbohydrates, which are the main source of energy for the muscles. They also provide potassium, which is needed for muscle contraction and relaxation. Potassium also helps in preventing muscle cramps and fatigue. Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and flavonoids, that protect the muscles from oxidative stress and damage. Oxidative stress can impair muscle function and recovery. Fruits and vegetables also provide other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, iron, and magnesium, that are essential for muscle health. Fruits and vegetables include bananas, oranges, apples, grapes, berries, mangoes, kiwis, spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. They can be eaten raw, cooked, juiced, or blended.
Meat and Seafood
Meat and seafood are the ideal muscle-building foods for children as they are high in protein and low in fat. They also provide iron, which is needed for the production of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen to the muscles. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, which can affect muscle performance and endurance. Meat and seafood also provide other nutrients, such as zinc, selenium, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, that are important for muscle growth and development. Meat and seafood include chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb, fish, shrimp, crab, and oysters. They can be grilled, baked, roasted, or boiled.
Building muscle mass in kids is not only good for their physical appearance, but also for their health and well-being. Muscle mass helps in improving posture, balance, coordination, and immunity. It also helps in preventing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and osteoporosis in later life. To build muscle mass in kids, it is important to provide them with a balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is also important to encourage them to be physically active and engage in exercises that challenge their muscles, such as running, jumping, climbing, swimming, or playing sports. By following these tips, you can help your child grow strong and healthy.
Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)
Internal Medicine Specialist
Phone : 85000 23456