Working out is what everyone turns to get fit and build muscles – and it should be, because it works. But to effectively build muscle, exercise must be combined with eating the proper foods.
Essentially, the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins and nutrients is needed, eaten at the right moments so as to help rebuild and enlarge muscles. Pre and post-workout eating is the most important time, as this is when your muscles need energy to grow.
What I want to offer is six healthy foods, along with the popular-but-needed staples, that will help you build muscle today.
Before jumping in to the obvious - protein - I wanted to touch on the benefits of fruit, and specifically apples, for your muscle gain.
In general, fruit has a direct and indirect influence on metabolism and health. They are high in fibre, which builds the lining of your intestines which in turn allows you to process protein more effectively. Therefore fruit is extremely important when you’re wanting to build muscle, as it allows you to maintain muscle and bone.
Along with all that, apples have other benefits that make them the best fruit for muscle gain:
- Polyphenols – Apples have much higher polyphenol levels than other fruits. Polyphenols are extremely useful in helping you burn fat more effectively whilst increasing muscle strength.
Carbs are needed at any time, especially when you’re wanting to build muscle. But what’s annoying about eating some carbs (like potatoes) is that you get a blood sugar spike after you eat them. That’s why you should eat sweet potatoes! Sweet potatoes have a low glycaemic index, which means you don’t get a blood sugar spike after eating them.
No more being tired after eating.
Sweet potatoes also have other benefits:
- Sweet Potatoes are high in potassium, fibre and vitamins. This means you can prevent common/uncommon illnesses, stress, and regulate heartbeat whilst you’re building your muscle.
Greek Yogurt on average has around double the protein of normal yogurt, making it far superior. Not only this, but it has around half the sugar of normal yogurt. To add, it helps with bone health, digestive health and weight management: what more could you want? Add some berries and nuts to your yogurt for a super snack for your muscles.
This wouldn’t be a proper article without the increasingly-popular quinoa. Quinoa is:
- High in protein. We all probably know that quinoa is very high in protein for a grain, but what’s even better is that it contains all the essential amino acids we need.
- High in minerals. Quinoa is very high in Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and Iron, which most people are lacking in their diet.
- High in carbs, but a low glycaemic index. This, along with the protein, makes quinoa perfect for building your muscle and exercising.
- Gluten free and high in fibre, just in case you weren’t convinced it wasn’t great before this.
…a true superfood.
Used as a substitute for the popular peanut butter, this is a far better alternative (not least because I don’t actually like peanut butter).
- Peanut butter is high in protein, but almond butter has more of it, with the added benefit of it being lower in fat.
- Almond Butter is much higher in vitamin E than peanut butter – meaning it’s better at helping to protect your cells from damage.
- It is higher in minerals like Magnesium and Iron, which help you build muscles through supporting muscle contraction, metabolism and oxygenating your tissues.
This one’s a simple and obvious one – very high in protein and low in fat, chicken is great for your protein needs without the extra fat that usually comes along with it. This high amount of protein from lean meat like chicken or turkey also helps to prevent muscle cell damage.
I hope this article has given you some food for thought, and the right food for your fitness.
What foods do you eat when you want to be fit and healthy?