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Muscle Building Diet and Digestive Health

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By Cory Cook

The Digestive SystemMost people that are trying to build muscle usually are eating large amounts of food. This often leads people to start seeking more information on how to improve their muscle building diet. Eating large quantities of food can NOT only be expensive, but can also put a huge toll on your digestive system.

This is why it is important to “help” your digestive system by using things that can assist it in thoroughly digesting all of the proteins, carbohydrates, fibers and fats that you are eating.

By digesting it completely, you will be able to absorb more of the nutrients from the same amount of food. I know what you are probably thinking, that is awesome right? This is especially true if you have NOT been gaining the amount of muscle you have been aiming for and were about to start eating more calories.

I have been doing some research on ways to digest and absorb more of the food that I eat. Let’s face it, trying to constantly increase the amounts of food that you are eating will end up “breaking” a dudes budget lol. That is why I believe that before you start to increase the quantity of food that you are consuming, you should try these couple tips first to see if it helps your muscle building progress. What are these tips? Well let us go check them out.

Digestive Enzymes and the Muscle Building Diet

Digestive enzymes can be found in raw foods, but usually are destroyed after a food has been cooked, especially foods that have been overcooked. This is NOT always the case, but when cooking food try and use lower temperatures. The more cooked food you eat the lower amounts of digestive enzymes will usually be available in that food source. This requires your own body to create enzymes to digest the food. The amount of enzymes your body’s pancreas can produce declines with age, and will usually start to decline quicker when the majority of your food comes from cooked foods.

The rate at which the enzymes start to get destroyed depends on the type of foods you are cooking, but to be safe, try to eat at least 50% of your food raw (such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds). Some people even recommend eating raw eggs in order to get some “high quality” raw protein. If you do decide to eat raw eggs in your shake or where ever, I would suggest a couple things.

First, buy “high quality” cafe free organic eggs. Second make sure you are taking probiotics (read next section bellow about probiotics). Consuming foods such as fruits or salads before your main meal can assist with digesting your food more completely. You can also purchase a good quality digestive enzyme such as Source Naturals Essential Enzymes to use when fruit or a salad can NOT be consumed before hand.

Papaya FruitDigestive enzymes are used to “help” break down all the huge amounts of food you are eating and then make it easier for the nutrients to get absorbed into the bloodstream.

There are many different enzymes that are used for digesting different things. Digestive enzymes for protein are the most important, and proteins are sometimes the main concerns about the muscle building diet. With that being said,  see why it is important to digest them thoroughly?  The most important digestive enzymes are listed as follows, in their level of importance:

  • Protease
    It helps to digest and break down proteins. Sources of food you can find protease in: broccoli, figs, guava, ginger root, green plants, kiwi, mushrooms, papaya, pineapple, romaine lettuce, spinach, soy bean, wheat, and kidney beans.
  • Amylase
    Used to assist in breaking down carbohydrates. Sources of food you can find amylase in: banana, beets, cabbage, corn, eggs, honey, kidney beans, oats, rice, sweet potato, and wheat.
  • Lipase
    Is used for helping your body digest fats. Sources of food where you can find lipase in: avocado, coconuts, corn, flax-seeds, rice, romaine lettuce, and spinach.
  • Cellulase
    Is used to assist your body in breaking down fiber. Sources of food that contain cellulose: avocado, peas, and reishi mushrooms.
  • Maltase
    Is used to help your body convert complex sugars, usually found in grains and malts into glucose that your body can use. Sources of food that contain maltase are: banana, green plants, mushrooms, rice, and sugar cane.

Using Probiotics – The Good Bacteria

Probiotics are microorganisms (good bacteria) that colonize inside your gut and are responsible for creating a “healthy” intestinal environment. These microorganisms help to completely digest the foods that have NOT been entirely digested and they also produce  K and B vitamins.

Probiotics in ActionProbiotics have been shown to help keep the bad bacteria from taking over, help you digest food better, assists in absorbing more of the nutrients from food, and has been shown to contribute to a “better” functioning immune system.

As I mentioned above, eating raw eggs for their health benefits and for helping to build muscle, should be used with a probioticBy taking a probiotic regularly can help prevent you from getting salmonella, when eating these raw eggs. The chance of getting salmonella is very low if you are consuming “high quality” organic cage free eggs, but taking the probiotic will lower the chance even further.

There are many types of probiotics on the market but some of the “best types” to look for are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Now each one of these have several different strains but the ones that provide the most benefit are usually Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Streptococcus faecium.

You should look for probiotics that have billions of microorganisms in them, say like 4 to 10 billion. You can also get some that come with FOS. FOS is a prebiotic that provides the probiotics with the food they need to thrive and colonize in your digestive system. Usually the best types of probiotics need to be refrigerated, yet sometimes they have a coating over them that not only protects them from your stomach acid, but also keep them from getting destroyed when they are out of the fridge for a while.

Probioplus DDS Caps by UAS Labs is a good probiotic for a “decent price” and it has five billion microorganisms, but an even better one if you can afford it is Primal Defense Ultra by Garden of Life.

What About the Types of Food?

This is an important topic to discuss, because what I have learned is not everyone has a good sense of proper nutrition when it comes to the muscle building diet. First off, fast food is NOT considered a good source of anything, so I recommend taking that off the list right now. If you want to gain weight you are going to have to learn how to cook and prepare your own meals. Now let us look at some of the most important things when it comes to building muscle and the right diet.

You must learn to eat large amounts of food. When you are focusing on building muscle, your calorie intake has to be high enough to allow for the rebuilding of your muscle tissues. If you do NOT supply your body with what it needs then it will NOT grow, it is that simple.

Next you have to make sure you are eating enough protein. Protein is the building block of muscle and if you are starving your body of protein, you will be starving your body of muscle. The general rule about protein is to be at least consuming 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. I would recommend not eating all the same sources of protein either. Mix it up a little, eat chicken, eggs, fish, lean bison and plant based proteins too.

Another important factor is taking in enough fats. Fats are essential for many things, some of the most important areas are the regulation of your hormones and the ability to be an anti-inflammatory. I would say if anything make sure you are eating eggs, fish and taking a fish oil supplement.

One of the last factors that I believe is very important is taking in enough vegetables. Vegetables have so many benefits that I could write a post just about them. Some of the most crucial things about them are what they supply to the body.

Most of your minerals and vitamins come from vegetables and they also are highly alkaline. Keeping your body’s PH in the right area is very important for long term health and this is even more of a concern when you start to eat large amounts of protein. Proteins are mostly highly acidic to the body and once your body starts becoming highly acidic a huge host of problems could arise.

Relating All This to the Muscle Building Diet

The digestive system is something that you want to keep healthy. Think about it, we have to eat food everyday for the rest of our lives. There is NO reason anyone should neglect their digestive system’s health, and this is even more true for those on the muscle building diet.

When we are focusing on gaining muscle, we are eating tons of food and this is taking its toll on our digestive system. There is probably a very slim chance that you are actually digesting all the food you are eating, unless you are consuming fifty percent of your foods raw, taking a digestive enzyme supplement, and taking a probiotic on a regular basis.

You have to face the facts, that you might have been wasting lots of money on consuming foods that you are not fully digesting. NOT only are these undigested foods NOT being used for the energy and rebuilding abilities needed for building muscle, but undigested food is actually harmful to your body and can be responsible for a number of different diseases.

So before you decide to start slamming more food down your throat in an attempt to gain more muscle, you might want to check and see if you are following these guidelines above first.

Until Next Time,

Cory Cook


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