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Does Oatmeal Strengthen the Muscles?
No food can strengthen your muscles if you don't also exercise. However, foods high in certain nutrients can help rebuild your muscles to be stronger after exercise. Oatmeal contains the protein and carbohydrates necessary for building muscle to increase your strength, as well as micronutrients that help support muscle function. Cooking oatmeal with milk instead of water and topping it with fruit increases its macronutrient content to promote more muscle building and strength.
Macronutrients for Muscle Building
Your muscles are made of protein, so plenty of it is required to build new muscle. A half cup of uncooked oats contains 5 grams of protein. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you need 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight each day, in addition to regular strength training, to increase muscle mass. While protein builds muscle, carbohydrates fuel them with energy for repairing, building and strengthening. If you're strength training, at least half your total calories consumed in a day should come from carbohydrates. A half cup of uncooked oats contains 27 grams of carbohydrates. Fat is also an essential part of your diet, as it also supplies fuel for your muscles because it's high in calories. A half cup of oats gives you 3 grams of fat 1.
- Your muscles are made of protein, so plenty of it is required to build new muscle.
- If you're strength training, at least half your total calories consumed in a day should come from carbohydrates.
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- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Milk
- Kerksick, C.M., Arent, S., Schoenfeld, B.J. et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 33 (2017). doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4
- Jäger, R., Kerksick, C.M., Campbell, B.I. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 20 (2017). doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8
- Kerksick, C.M., Wilborn, C.D., Roberts, M.D. et al. ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 15, 38 (2018). doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0242-y
- Antonio J, Peacock CA, Ellerbroek A, Fromhoff B, Silver T. The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2014 11:19. DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-19.
- Lambert CP, Frank LL, Evans WJ. Macronutrient considerations for the sport of bodybuilding. Sports Med. 2004;34(5):317-27. Review.
- Nutrition for Sport and Exercise, 2005, Jacqueline R. Berning, Suzanne Nelson Steen, ISBN 0763737755.
- Symons TB, Sheffield-Moore M, Wolfe RR, Paddon-Jones D.A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Sep;109(9):1582-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.06.369.
- USDA, DRI Tables. Dietary Reference Intakes: Recommended Intakes for Individuals.
Karen McCarthy is a health enthusiast with expertise in nutrition, yoga and meditation. She currently studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has been writing about nutrition since 2012. She is most passionate about veganism and vegetarianism and loves to promote the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.