10 Muscle-Building Minerals You Don’t Want to Miss in Your Diet

Paleo diet products on wooden table, containing many muscle-building vitamins and minerals

Want to build muscle? Don’t skimp on these minerals. | iStock.com/Magone

If you want to look good, you have to eat well. There’s really no getting around it. You can spend hours at the gym and probably build a good physique. Pour yourself into muscle-building routines and rituals. But if you’re not supplying your body with the vitamins, minerals, and calories it needs to gain mass? You’ll likely be disappointed with your results.

There’s a reason that they say getting in shape is more about your diet than about exercising. Of course, when it comes to building muscle specifically, nothing is going to replace strength and resistance training. But a proper diet, rife with vitamins and minerals, is the yin to your workout’s yang.

Of course, sticking to a balanced and disciplined diet isn’t easy. And even if you do manage to do it, you may be forgetting some vital nutrients that your body needs. Luckily, a well-planned diet will cover the vast majority of your needs. Sometimes, though, you might need to make a few adjustments to not only hit your macros but zero-in on those micros as well.

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, you likely get enough of the basics. The things you eat day in and day out are filled with them, after all. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Here are 10 minerals you’ll need to make sure you’re consuming to reach your full potential.

1. Copper

Raw oysters | iStock.com

Raw oysters have copper in them. | iStock.com

Copper: It’s not just something you steal from construction sites or abandoned houses. It’s a mineral that’s integral to your health, particularly in the production of red blood cells, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A good source of copper is liver, of all things. But if that doesn’t get your mouth watering, you can also find it in foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, and shellfish.

2. Iodine

Close up of fish Tacos

Reach for the fish tacos when you need iodine. | iStock.com

Iodine is really important for helping your body in a few key ways. First off, it helps your body regulate its temperature. Iodine is also used by your thyroid to help manage your metabolism. And as it relates to muscle function and growth, it helps your nervous system. Good sources of iodine include seafood, certain vegetables, and cranberries.

3. Zinc

Cooked steak

Red meat has plenty of zinc. | iStock.com/JPphoto1992

Zinc is a fairly common supplement these days. It has many uses, and a zinc deficiency can lead to some fairly serious issues. Foods rich in zinc include poultry and red meats, or beans and nuts for vegetarians. For muscle-building purposes, zinc helps control hormone levels, stabilize certain proteins, and facilitate chemical reactions in your muscle tissue.

4. Magnesium

peas and asparagus

Green vegetables are full of magnesium. | iStock.com

You’ll get plenty of magnesium by eating green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. This means even if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’re probably getting plenty. Magnesium’s role in the muscle-building process is that it helps facilitate protein synthesis and regulate metabolism.

5. Calcium

Dairy products

Calcium is super important. | iStock.com

Calcium is rather ubiquitous, as it’s most commonly found in dairy products as well as orange juice. If these are a staple of your diet, you’re probably getting an adequate amount — but there are supplements out there. Calcium is crucial for strengthening bones and aids with regulating muscle contraction, according to Muscle & Strength.

6. Iron

red meat

Red meat has lots of iron. | iStock.com

You should be pumping iron and eating it, too. Well — not too much, just an adequate amount. Iron helps your body get oxygen where it needs to go and is an integral component to many proteins and enzymes. If you have a deficiency, you’re going to know it. Iron-rich foods include red meats, eggs, poultry, and green vegetables like broccoli.

7. Potassium

Banana fruit and egg

You’re probably getting enough potassium already. | iStock.com/anujaree

Potassium helps your body manage fluid levels — so, this will help with hydration. This, in turn, can have an impact on many things, including muscle contraction and relaxation. It can also help reduce soreness after a workout. Potassium can be found in many fruits and vegetables. If you have a balanced diet, you’re likely consuming an adequate level.

8. Phosphorus

glass of milk next to a glass jug

Phosphorus aids your body in recovery. | iStock.com

You’ll find good doses of phosphorus in milk, green vegetables, and most meats, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to go out of your way to supplement it. Phosphorus helps the body store and use energy, as well as repair cells. So, if you’ve had a hard workout, getting some phosphorus in your system can help with recovery.

9. Selenium

Sunflower Seeds in a Bowl

Selenium can be found in a variety of nuts. | iStock.com/bhofack2

Most people aren’t all that familiar with selenium, but it’s essential. Selenium is an antioxidant, and as such, has a big role in preventing cancers from developing. It also plays a role in thyroid management, and helps with processing proteins. Good sources include certain nuts, meats, and seafood.

10. Manganese

Mixed nuts and dry fruits

Manganese really helps you build muscle. | iStock.com/prohor08

Last but not least, manganese is another lesser-known but vital mineral. It’s found and used in many tissues and, as the University of Maryland Medical Center says, plays a big part in helping form connective tissues. For muscle-building purposes, this is huge. You can find it in nuts, legumes, and grains.