7 foods that help to increase muscle mass and that stimulate your body’s performance

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To get the ideal body consistency, it is not enough to just go to the gym frequently and follow your plan without making any mistakes. Behind a good workout, there’s always a good diet. They both work as one, because if one of them fails, there’s no effort that can make up for that. When it comes to dieting, your biggest worry should be taking the right amount of quality protein, controlling carbs and healthy fats intake and eliminating any type of refined sugars and artificial ingredients. If your problem is that your meal plans are always based on chicken breast and whole rice, take a deep breath: there are alternatives that may help you improve performance and build muscle.

Take a look at the foods you should take into consideration when you’re making your shopping list:

1. Red beet

The nitrates we can usually find in red beets increase vasodilation and performance. A recent study published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that eating two medium red beets one hour and fifteen minutes before working out improves your performance, reduces the level of effort perception and decreases the amount of oxygen the body needs to complete a workout.

2. Yoghurt

The mix of proteins and carbs in the yoghurt may help with muscle tissue recovery and growth after working out. Depending on the number of calories you need, you can choose to eat a Greek yoghurt (if possible, low in fat) to help you strengthen your muscles, because this type of yoghurt contains more protein and carbs than a normal one. Avoid those containing fruit and sugar.

3. Almonds

Almonds contain more protein and fiber than most nuts you find in the market. A cup full of almonds contains, on average, 160 calories and 6g of protein. Two handfuls of almonds a day may stimulate your muscles. Almonds contain high levels of vitamin-E (alpha tocopherol), that is well-absorbed by the body. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that eliminates free radicals, which may be produced through physical activity. The less free radicals you have, the quicker your muscles will recover and get back to their normal muscle construction process. They also contain high levels of complex B vitamins, essential to provide energy and complement with a diet to increase muscle mass.

READ ALSO: Learn how to pick the best Whey Protein to increase muscle mass

4. Eggs

Eggs offer less calories and more biological proteins than a steak. Besides containing A, D, E, B12 vitamins, iron and folic acid, eggs also contain selenium that, combined with vitamin E, helps to prevent tissue disaggregation. Besides that, eggs contain every necessary nutrient to the production of new cells. The yolk is the part of the egg that provides the biggest amount of choline, substance that plays a relevant role when it comes to the brain function. It is not recommended to eat the egg whites raw, because they contain inhibitors of the digestive enzyme trypsin, that can be eliminated though heat.

5. Quinoa

Quinoa is a great alternative, because it contains lots of nutritional characteristics that outdo the ones in whole rice (basic food for athletes that follow specific diets for a more consistent muscle construction). Quinoa is a rare slow-digesting carb source that contains every essential amino acid and that works as fuel when it comes to weight training. A cup of quinoa contains, on average, 222kcal, 8g of protein, more zinc and magnesium than whole rice and almost double the fiber. Quinoa cooks in just 15 minutes, three times faster than whole rice.

6. Raspberries

Raspberries play several parts when it comes to muscle building: they improve digestive health, making it easier for the body to extract every nutrient from the foods you eat; they also contain the most fiber of any berry, packing up to 8 grams per cup. Maintaining a high-fiber diet as part of your hypertrophy plan is important—it “works out” your intestines.
The rich, red color of raspberries is indicative of the high content of anthocyanin antioxidants. Research shows that antioxidants, like the anthocyanins found in raspberries, can boost your brain’s sensitivity to leptin, an important hormone responsible for regulating your metabolic rate and insulin sensitivity.

7. Avocado

While avocados were once withheld from muscle-building diets due to their high fat content, we now know that they provide a unique combination of nutrients that makes them a near-perfect lean-mass builder. The average avocado contains 20 different essential nutrients, 250 calories, 10 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of monounsaturated fat, the healthiest type of fat. Research shows that substituting monounsaturated fat for saturated fat can shift fat gain away from the midsection. This will help keep your core looking and feeling tight during a mass phase, even if you gain some fat. Avocados can also improve the absorption of antioxidants known as carotenoids up to 15 times. Carotenoids are important nutrients for cell growth as well as for supporting a healthy immune system.

READ ALSO:

What to eat to build muscle mass?
The best vitamins and minerals for your workouts

What are the best supplements to increase muscle mass?

References:

Mike Roussell, Ph.D., 15 Surprising Muscle-Building Foods, 5th of November 2012, translation and adaptation of the original version
N/d, Alimentos para aumentar massa muscular, n/d, translation and adaptation of the original version

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