While protein is often the foundation of many fitness enthusiasts' and bodybuilders' diets—often taking the form of lean beef, chicken, cottage cheese or other protein-rich foods—there is a host of other foods and nutrients that can also provide support for your muscles. Building, toning and recovering muscle is affected by a variety of factors, however, and your diet is not the only one. Regularly exercising and lifting are two significant ways to contribute to your muscle growth, but let's take a look at the diet aspect, examining some unexpected food sources that can contribute benefits for your muscles.
One of the best reasons to eat almonds is because they are packed with nutrients like vitamin E, an antioxidant which works to defend your body against cellular damage caused by free radicals and oxidation. Antioxidants are great to consume post-workout, as this is the time when your muscles are under the most duress and susceptible to damage and strain; therefore, this antioxidant works to fight against damage and promote healthy muscles.
While you might not think of citrus fruits as one of the key players in the muscle-building game, they can definitely provide a variety of positive effects, with oranges being particularly beneficial. Having an orange can help boost your phytochemical and flavonoid intake, which contributes to better anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support and makes for great pre-workout fuel. Additionally, the high vitamin C content in oranges ensures that your body maintains steady levels of nitric oxide, which is involved with muscle growth and improving your workout endurance.
If you've still maintained your childhood aversion to this leafy veggie, you might want to try munching on it again as an adult for many benefits. The amino acid glutamine is prevalent in spinach, and it is essential for preventing muscle breakdown while promoting muscle anabolism, or growth. In addition, the nutrients in spinach can encourage a healthy immune system and contribute other health-enhancing properties.
4. Chocolate Milk
The carbohydrates and protein in chocolate milk might help prevent muscle breakdown while encouraging more efficient muscle-protein synthesis. In addition, the antioxidants in cacao—the “chocolate” part of chocolate milk—can help you to stay protected from potentially muscle-damaging free radicals.
While flaxseed is often enjoyed as a way to control appetite, provide satiety and encourage fat loss, it can also provide numerous benefits for muscle support. The omega-3, fiber and protein content in flaxseed can promote a reduction in body fat, raise your endurance and energy levels and reduce your risk for heart disease. Additionally, flaxseed can help cut back muscle soreness and help your body to use oxygen and critical nutrients more efficiently.
Thanks for reading, and come back tomorrow for more health news!