Foods to Eat for Muscle Weakness

Mild muscle weakness can occur on occasion, which may stem from intense exercise, recovery from the flu or other long-lasting illnesses, or broken bones. Severe symptoms may derive from muscular diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, metabolic disorders, such as Addison's disease, neurologic disorders, such as cerebral palsy, or nutrient deficiencies. In addition to medical treatment, when necessary, a healthy, balanced dietary lifestyle, inclusive of particular foods, may help reduce your symptoms. For best results, seek guidance from your doctor or dietitian.

A fresh salmon steak in parchment paper. (Image: a_namenko/iStock/Getty Images)


Nuts provide healthy, unsaturated fat, which provides energy for low to moderate intensity exercise, and vital nutrients, such as magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for over 300 chemical reactions in your body, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. It also plays an important role in muscle function. Because of this, a magnesium deficiency can cause muscle weakness. Nuts particularly rich in magnesium include hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts and walnuts. Nut butters, such as peanut and almond butters, also provide valuable amounts.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are top sources of antioxidants, which strengthen your body's ability to protect itself from infections and diseases, including those that can hinder muscle strength. Eating antioxidant-rich foods may help reduce symptoms of muscular dystrophy, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Fruits and vegetables particularly rich in antioxidants include berries, cherries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes. Fruits and vegetables also provide potassium, a nutrient of which deficiencies are linked with muscle weakness.

Whole Grains

Carbohydrates provide glucose -- your body's main dietary source of energy. Carbohydrates also fuel your muscles, according to the American Dietetic Association. Whole grains are complex carbohydrate sources, meaning they digest more efficiently than simple carbohydrates, such as sweet cereals and candy. Because they have a mild impact on your blood sugar levels, they also promote longer-lasting energy. Nutritious examples include 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, barley and oatmeal. Fortified oatmeal and whole grain cereals also provide valuable amounts of magnesium.

Cold-Water Fish

Cold-water fish are rich in protein, which is necessary for muscle growth and repair, magnesium and the healthy fat-form omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are essential for health and may help minimize inflammation associated with muscular dystrophy, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. For heightened benefits, replace fatty red meat and high-fat dairy products, which may worsen inflammation, with baked, broiled, poached or steamed cold-water fish. Fish particularly high in omega-3 fat concentration include salmon, albacore tuna, trout, halibut, mackerel, herring and sardines.

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