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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From scientists in ivory towers to your corner pharmacist, it seems everyone is touting the powers of the "sunshine" vitamin. Its list of potential powers includes boosting mood, immunity, and muscle. "Vitamin D is required for muscular contraction, function, and growth," Cuomo says. It's also essential for bone growth and strength, and since skeletal muscles need a strong base to build off of, you can't neglect your D.
How much? Ideally you'd get adequate D through sun exposure, but then you'd have to worry about skin cancer. Take a supplement of 4,000 to 6,000 international units (IU) of D3 every day instead, Cuomo recommends, and if you are concerned, see your doctor for a simple blood test to measure you D levels and determine if you are deficient and need a higher dosage.