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  • Writer's pictureGemma Westfold

Let's get some muscles!

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

Roughly 40% of the human body is made of muscles - our own custom-made body armour.

But they are not just there to lift things and look good, they are an active tissue and can either work for us, promoting health or potentially work against us, promoting ill health. Whilst we are used to hearing about fat tissue and the health problems associated with obesity, are we overlooking this less discussed integral driver of our health?

Did you know that by using resistance exercise/strength training to increase muscle mass you can lower your chances of developing insulin resistance and T2D?

Research shows that in postmenopausal women with Type 2 diabetes, resistance training and increased muscle density improves sensitivity to insulin by up to 16% (meaning glucose is more easily taken into the muscle cells and used as energy). This improved insulin sensitivity can also correlate to loss of the wobbly subcutaneous fat around the midriff and that more dangerous solid visceral fat around the organs. Not bad.

Strength training has been shown to increase bone mineral density, key in seeing off osteopenia and osteoporosis. During the menopause we naturally make lower levels of oestrogen which is protective of the growth and health of bones. This leaves our bones more vulnerable to density loss. Bring in resistance training which has been evidenced to increase bone mineral density. When oestrogen declines, muscle stimulation matters.

And let’s not forget dietary protein as the vital building blocks for building this lean muscle. All of us, big, small, male or female need to consume the right amount of protein to maintain and grow muscle mass

The British Government recommends 0.75g protein per kg of body mass but I view that as the bare minimum and look for more depending on age, health and activity levels. I would target 1.25g protein per kg body weight and have protein with every meal. This would look like 70g of protein throughout the day for a woman who weighs around 60kg.

What would this look like on a plate?

· Chicken breast (120g) – 39g protein

· Lean Rump steak – 40g protein

· Salmon fillet – 29.5g protein

· 2 eggs – 11.5g protein

· Natural yoghurt (120ml) 5g+protein

· Cheese 5.8g protein

· Tofu – 8.1g protein

· Peanut butter – 4.5g protein

· Chickpeas 7.2 g protein*

We are all unique, we have different protein intake needs and using personalised nutritional medicine I address that. Book a free 30-minute Taster call with me to make the first step towards attaining those our health goals here

*all per single serving and approximations as per McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods. 2015

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