Do you want a fit and toned body? The food you eat is also equally important as regular exercise for this to happen. This means subscribing to a diet rich in the following foods to build your muscles.
It’s best to start early, so grab a shopping cart and shop for these 25 superfoods!
Kale is a classic salad green that is high in protein and iron, a mineral that aids in the growth and definition of muscles as well as improves endurance. The vitamin K in kale is also especially beneficial for heavy lifting routines as it helps to combat inflammation and prevents stiff joints.
It would make more sense to treat millet as a grain even though it is technically a seed. Like the popular quinoa, millet contains a high amount of magnesium, increasing blood flow to your muscles and making it more defined. Millet also toughens up your body and is an exceptional source of plant-based protein and complex carbohydrates, providing your body with durable energy.
3. Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds are rich in amino acids to strengthen and define your muscles. With only three tablespoons, hemp seeds offer up 11 grams of easily digestible protein to tone your muscles. The best thing is this: Hemp seeds may also help you to burn your fats due to its gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) content, an omega-6 fatty acid that promotes a healthy metabolism and combats inflammation.
4. Chia seeds
Chia seeds may be tiny but they pack a punch! Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, they reduce inflammation and aid in muscle growth and strengthening through protein synthesis.
Fiber (and protein) supply you with energy that is long-lasting, and in actual fact, two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of this protein as powerful fuel. They also swell ten to fifteen times their original size when added to liquid, creating a gel-like substance that helps to keep you feeling fuller longer.
The slow-burning complex carbohydrates, rich protein content, and high levels of lysine (an amino acid that helps in tissue and muscle repair) in this complete protein will help you to recover your strength and endurance.
Quinoa contains a high amount of magnesium, allowing your blood vessels to relax and enhance blood circulation, helping to create a fitter and more defined body.
6. Cottage Cheese with Live Cultures
Cottage cheese helps you to build muscles thanks to the two components: casein (the slow-digesting dairy protein) and live cultures. The casein makes your blood amino acid levels rise gradually and maintain its high levels for longer periods of time than if you were to eat the other dairy protein, whey.
The live cultures will aid in the breaking down and absorption of all the nutrients you need in order to gain larger and tougher muscles.
Like what Popeye says, spinach is the dietary key to building and strengthening of muscles. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 180-gram serving of boiled spinach has 6.43 mg of iron, and this mineral is crucial for muscle building.
Spinach also provides magnesium, helping in the development of muscles, production of energy, as well as carbohydrate metabolism.
Most people don’t realize the value of lentils in the development of muscles. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrates that are slow-digesting. Lentils are also really affordable and they can be kept for a long period of time. Cooking it only takes 10 minutes.
9. Wild Salmon
Salmon is a delicacy, and best of all, it contains high-quality protein and long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. The omega-3 fats are able to improve heart health, restrain muscle breakdown, and raise the anabolic capacity of amino acids in your body. Of course, not everybody likes to eat fish, but fish oil supplement is one alternative to access these protein and omega-3 fats from salmon.
10. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loved by bodybuilders. These tubers are high in fiber and carbs (4 grams and 27 grams per serving respectively) and have a low-glycemic index. This means that they are slow burning and can provide long-lasting energy to boost you after a gym session and help you to replenish your muscle glycogen.
The fiber in sweet potatoes makes you feel fuller longer, which in turn helps in preventing overeating. Also, an interesting fact to note is that one cup of sweet potato cubes contains four times your RDA of vitamin A, aiding protein synthesis.
Broccoli contains a high amount of sulforaphane, a compound that raises testosterone level, helps to deter body fat storage and blocks enzymes responsible for inflammation and destruction of your joints. Broccoli is also rich in vitamin C and one cup of it already lets you fulfill your daily requirement of this vitamin. The vitamin C broccoli contains can lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and thus helps you in efforts to achieve a fit and toned body.
Avocado contains a high amount of potassium, healthy monounsaturated and oleic fatty acids, which are all helpful in decreasing the fat around your belly. Moreover, avocado is also high in fibers, boosting the health benefits of other fresh vegetables when eaten together.
Painful inflammation must be avoided if you want to stay fit and muscular, and this is where berries come in. Berries contain anthocyanins and ellagic acid, antioxidant compounds that help to prevent inflammation and joint pain. Also, berries have shown to reduce the formation of fat cells.
14. Organic Soybeans
Organic soybeans should be included in your diet if you want to build muscles. The high protein content (one cup of tofu has 52 grams) in organic soybeans has made them the ultimate substitute for meat as a protein source. According to USDA, soybeans contain the highest amount of leucine among vegetables, an amino acid that helps to stimulate the synthesis of proteins. This makes them a great muscle-builder!
A variety of mushrooms is the number one source of vitamin D, and according to research studies, vitamin D may have a role to play in muscle building. In a recently published study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that people with higher vitamin D levels are stronger. The best mushroom you should buy is the maitake, also called Hen of the Woods. One cup already provides you with three times your daily requirement of vitamin D! Other mushroom varieties that are also rich in vitamin D include chanterelle, morel, and shiitake.
Beets seem to be the least popular vegetables in supermarkets. People rarely buy them, but in fact, beets contain low calories, high fiber content, and high iron levels, a mineral that increases blood flow, helping in the functioning of muscles as well as increasing the efficiency.
17. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is filled with nutrients that are nourishing for your muscles and is thus a great food to eat while working out. It is a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, all of which are necessary for muscle growth.
Research from the University of Kentucky suggests that eating watermelon helps you to improve lipid profiles and lower the accumulation of fats. This is because watermelon contains a high concentration of anthocyanin, a compound that alleviates the action of fat-storage genes. Watermelon also helps if you’re experiencing muscle soreness after an intense workout session.
Aside from getting the necessary nutrients, you also need a sufficient amount of water to efficiently convert carbohydrates to energy. According to the Journal of Physiology of Sport and Exercise, you need enough water to deliver the essential amino acids to muscle tissue.
Without sufficient liquid, you’ll encounter difficulties in your gym sessions and the breakdown of fats in your body will also be impeded. It’s too late to drink only when you feel thirsty since thirst is already the first sign of dehydration. Drink often and eat foods like grapefruit that are 90% water to hydrate yourself.
Beans are crucial if you wish to lose fats and build more muscles. They are made up of both protein and fiber, making sure your blood sugar levels do not spike and also provide energy for muscle-building. A cup of black beans contains 12 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Moreover, they also contain high levels of folate, a vitamin B that encourages muscle growth, as well as copper, which helps to toughen up your tendons.
21. Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil may help to raise blood levels of serotonin, a hormone that is responsible for making you feel full and satisfied. With more serotonin, you will feel fuller and in turn, you will end up consuming fewer calories, helping you to achieve the lean body shape you desire!
22. Papaya (and Peppers)
Even with a great diet and exercise, stress can hinder and prevent your abs to reveal themselves. Do you know that when you stress out, your body starts to produce the stress hormone cortisol that makes your body store fat around your midsection that actually raises cholesterol levels? But fear not. Foods rich in vitamin C like papaya (1 cup, 146% DV) and red bell peppers (1 cup, 316% DV) can aid in your effort to maintain a lean figure.
23. Grass-Fed Beef
Grass-fed beef is the number one source of creatine which helps to build muscle mass by speedily delivering protein to your muscles. Grass-fed beef is also rich in CLA (an anti-inflammatory fatty acid) and just one four-ounce serving, you’ll be provided with more than one-half amount of protein you need in a day.
Almonds are said to help burn fats when consumed before exercising. A study published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that the L-arginine in almonds helps to burn more fat and carbohydrates than in the gym. Moreover, a quarter-cup of raw almonds has eight grams of protein and contains a high amount of magnesium, providing you with energy and endurance to build muscles. But don’t go crazy, anything more than 20 almonds will result in fat storage.
Bananas are high in glucose, a sugar that is highly digestible, supplying you with quick energy. Their high potassium content also prevents your muscles from cramping.
Each medium banana contains about 36 grams of good carbohydrates, and their low glycemic index means that the carbohydrates are gradually absorbed by your body. This helps to prevent sugar crashes and speed up the process of muscle recovery.
These delicious and healthy foods will not only satisfy you but also keep you healthy and looking great! Get to the nearest Whole foods shop and load up that shopping cart! You can also supplement your healthy superfoods diet with our greens powder supplement to provide needed nutrients on the days you may not get it quite right.