Superfoods for building the muscles

Meals for fitness enthusiasts are often centred on lower-calorie diets like chicken and brown rice. These are great meals; however, they may not offer athletes and people who do high-intensity exercises much of the nutrients they need to build their muscles. That is why they need superfoods.

Two bodybuilders eating superfoods for building the muscles

Superfoods are foods that are abundant in special nutrients that support cellular repair and enhance longevity. Superfoods are not only low in calories, but they also offer maximum nutritional benefits. 

Superfoods such as eggs, legumes, and potatoes are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This makes them excellent meals of choice for bodybuilders and athletes who have limited food choices. 

Superfoods may not cure your diseases, but they can help reduce symptoms and prevent the onset of diseases. They may reduce the effects of free radicals on diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. Incorporating some of these superfoods in meals can help bodybuilders improve their physical and mental health.

8 Superfoods for promoting strength and building muscle fast 

Below are some superfoods that every bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast should incorporate into their meals. 

1. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are tiny, but they shouldn’t be underestimated. These seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which is good because these unsaturated fats are good for you. They help combat inflammations, and you need them for your muscles to recover fast after your workout sessions. 

A 2019 study showed that chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, polyunsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals. The study also stated that they are a great source of antioxidants such as myricetin, rosmarinic acid, and quercetin. 

2. Greek yoghurt

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Who won’t like having some yoghurt in their diet? Greek yoghurt is not just a sweet addition to your food but a healthy one. This always makes it to the top of every superfood list because it is packed with probiotics which are great for gastrointestinal tract health. Studies have shown that probiotics can significantly cause weight reduction.

Greek yoghurt is also jam-packed with the protein - casein. Having casein in your meals is one of the most effective and fastest ways to build your muscles while exercising. The high protein content of yoghurt can also help keep you full, helping you to evade snacking.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the foods that have unique nutritional content. Quinoa has a complete blend of protein and carbohydrates. Each cup of the seeds contains about 46 grams of complex carbohydrates. This makes it useful to bodybuilders because burning the carbs releases longer-lasting energy, which you will need for your high-intensity exercises.

The food also contains all nine essential amino acids. This means the food is a complete protein diet. Consuming this superfood offers a way to maximise your muscle protein synthesis after a workout. 

4. Salmon

Every bodybuilder needs to incorporate clean protein like fish into their meals. Salmon is always an excellent choice to opt for. If you are constantly working out to build your muscles or are an athlete, your body will need the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid from foods like salmon.

Some people reported reduced post-workout muscle soreness when their body had sufficient omega-3 fatty acids compared to people who had low levels of the nutrient, a study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine reported.

Aside from improving post-workout muscle soreness, a 2014 study found that omega-3 fatty acids may enhance protein metabolism when combined with anabolic stimuli like protein diet and physical activity.

5. Eggs

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Eggs are readily available in different parts of the world. They are regarded as great snacks, especially for children. But they can form great meals for bodybuilders too. 

Just one egg contains about 6 grams of protein which is needed for muscle building. They contain the essential amino acids needed for bodybuilding and gaining strength. Protein from this pareve is used in making some protein powders.

Aside from their high proteinous content, eggs are packed with other nutrients like folic acid, riboflavin, zinc, potassium, sodium, calcium and vitamin B12.

6. Chickpeas

When it comes to fueling the body for exercise, people often think of carbohydrates like whole grains. However, beans are great options when it comes to getting long-lasting energy. Beans like chickpeas are great superfoods for bodybuilding. 

Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are packed with two macronutrients- proteins and carbohydrates. This combination is great for fueling the body both before and after a workout. 

Chickpeas also contain substantial amounts of iron. The body needs iron to produce haemoglobin which is the component of the red blood cell that carries oxygen to various tissues and cells of the body. Insufficient iron in the body can lower oxygen transport, further reducing endurance and exercise performance.

7. Maca

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Maca is not a common household name like eggs, Greek yogurt, and salmon. However, it is one superfood that should often make it to the meals of bodybuilders. 

The maca plant is a traditional cruciferous vegetable commonly grown in the Andes mountains. It is related to cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. 

Some people take it as a natural remedy for treating medical conditions such as low sex drive and infertility because it contains bioactive compounds such as macaridine and glucosinolates. If you are thinking of a superfood vegetable to incorporate into your meals, Maca may be an excellent option. 

Studies suggest that maca may enhance mood and improve energy levels in some people. Taking 3 grams of red or black maca daily for 12 weeks improved the energy and mood scores of 175 people living in high or low altitudes compared to those getting a placebo, a 2016 study demonstrated.

Also, an older 2009 pilot study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology demonstrated that cycling sportspeople who consumed maca supplements for two weeks improved their driving speed.

8. Sweet potatoes

Potatoes are tuber plants, just like yams. They are rich in complex carbohydrates (84 grams per cup). They are also densely packed with fibre, minerals, and antioxidants. Thus, you are getting more than carbs only. 

Potatoes are digested slowly because they have a low glycemic index. This is good for you because it will prevent a spike in blood glucose levels (which increases the risk of diabetes and weight gain). 

Eating potatoes can keep you fueled even during long workouts. They can also be consumed post-workout to replenish lost energy. Aside from the carb content, potatoes are rich in potassium. Potassium deficiency has been associated with reduced muscle contraction and muscle weakness.

Other foods to eat for bodybuilding

Superfoods for bodybuilders and athletes

Aside from muscle-targeted exercises, eating the right foods will help your bodybuilding journey. If you are aiming to increase your muscle mass, you will have to consume more calories than your daily maintenance calorie. That is why everybody builder should learn how to calculate their daily caloric needs.

Below are foods that are great for muscle building and body fitness:

  • Poultry
  • Lean red meat
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Avocadoes
  • Sesame seed and oil
  • Soybean
  • Oatmeal
  • Fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Shrimp
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Brown rice
  • Black, pinto, and kidney beans
  • Olive oil

Summary

Superfoods are foods that contain more substantial nutrients with lesser calories. They can help keep you healthy both physically and mentally. Eating these foods will help build your muscles while enhancing performance, endurance, and mental strength.

If you find it difficult to draw up a meal plan, you can speak with a dietitian to help you create one. They can also suggest more foods that will help increase muscle mass and strength.