Calories aren't the only things that count when it comes to a jaw-dropping body: If you aren't eating the right nutrients, you aren't going to slim down or build strong, sexy muscles.
See, every time you curl or press, you're actually breaking down your muscles, causing microtears in the fibers. It's when you're resting that your body rebuilds and strengthens your muscles—and in order do so, they need the proper fuel, including these seven vitamins and minerals, identified by experts as a sort of menu for muscle. Follow the pros' recommendations for getting your daily dose of each through food or supplements, and you'll see and feel a difference from head to toe.
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Adding color to your plate may help you add definition to your arms. Vitamin C—found in all fruits and vegetables—"is responsible for the health of the blood vessels, which support the muscles’ needs for oxygen and nutrients," says John Cuomo, Ph.D., of USANA Health Sciences, a company that develops and manufactures nutritional supplements. And the better stocked your muscles are, the better they can work and the quicker they recover. Orthopedic surgeon Leon Popovitz, M.D., of NY Bone and Joint Specialists, adds that vitamin C is a building block of collagen, a material that your body then uses to build bones and muscles.
How much? The National Institutes of Health recommends 75 mg daily, which you can get from a medium orange, half a red bell pepper, or a cup of strawberries.