If you want to become a man of steel or babe of bronze, you’ve got to eat a lot of superfoods and lift weights. Sure, some people may be able to easily put on muscle by eating lots of unhealthy calories and denatured proteins, but if you want to be strong as steel inside and out, you’ve got to eat real food.
These foods are both great for men who want to pack on muscle and women who want to get toned. So whether you’re going for the physique of wonder woman or the body of superman, these foods are for you.
A note to women: You may think you don’t want to put on muscle, but you do! Muscle burns fat and boosts your metabolism. Because women lack the same testosterone as men, eating these foods will only cause you to add muscle definition and lose weight, you won’t get bulky. In fact, movie stars like Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner eat these foods and lift weights to help sculpt their bodies.
GREEN-FED BEEF AND DAIRY It’s time to go green and I’m not just talking about eating more green leaves! I’m talking about green-fed beef! If you want to build muscle, green-fed beef raised on pastures free of pesticides and fertilizers, are an essential superfood for body-building needs.
Cattle raised naturally on green grass, rather than grain-fed cattle, produce beef without the problems associated with antibiotics, pesticides and hormone residues. Cows are natural herbivores, designed to live on grass, not to be force-fed grains and animal products, as encouraged by the Department of Agriculture.
A four-ounce tenderloin of beef from naturally raised green-fed cattle will have 112% of the daily requirements of tryptophan, 64% of your daily protein needs and should be considered 240 calories well spent! Green-fed beef has more zinc and B-12 than grain-fed cattle, has less total fat (where toxins are stored), and more omega-3 fatty acids. It also has higher levels of vitamins A and E, more antioxidants, and higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which supports healthy muscle tissue.
» High in protein
» Loaded with Vitamin B12
» Zinc, selenium, iron and phosphorous
I also highly suggest you drink green-fed dairies like amasai, kefr, or raw milk. Green-fed dairy contains high amounts of whey which is a protein your body can quickly utilize and turn into muscle.
Research published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that men who supplemented with whey protein increased lean muscle mass and strength during resistance training. I warn you, however, NOT to consume most whey protein powders.
I’d guess that 90% of protein powders on the market come from denatured proteins (called hydrolyzed protein on the label) which can damage your digestive system. I recommend you stick with whey in its food form. When you’re buying beef and dairy, think green every time! Look for labels that say 100% grass-fed, or even better, green-fed to get the most muscle building and fat burning effects.
ALMONDS As well as being tasty and nutritious, a handful of almonds can give huge muscle-building benefits. They are thought to decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer, and who doesn’t want to reduce those? These little nuts can lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol levels.
Almonds are high in fiber and minerals and are a great snack for those looking to increase muscle and burn fat. Almonds contain 12 amino acids that aid in muscle building and contain high levels of the amino acid Arginine. Arginine is the immediate precursor of Nitric Oxide and is necessary for Creatine production.
Both Nitric Oxide and Creatine have been used in the bodybuilding world for years to gain strength and muscle. As a precursor to Nitric Oxide, Arginine may increase blood flow that can aid in endurance and muscle building. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that Arginine stimulates the secretion of growth hormone. The growth hormone is known to be anabolic which means “to build up”.
The growth hormone helps mineralize bone, build muscle, stimulate the immune system, and increase protein synthesis. The growth hormone is not healthy when taken as a drug, shot, or if received in nonfood sources. However natural foods that can increase GH can be beneficial.
Almonds are nutritionally dense and are an abundant source of monounsaturated fats that the body needs. They are high in calories and good for bodybuilding.
Purdue University researchers found that calories from almonds do not appear to contribute to weight gain as they are not absorbed like other fatty foods.
Research published by Experimental Biology also found that eating almonds with a meal high in carbs actually blocked the digestion of the carbs and helped control blood sugar levels. I recommend consuming 1/2 – 1 cup of almonds daily or 2-6 Tbsp of almond butter daily for muscle-building benefits.
PASTURED EGGS If beef is what’s for dinner then eggs are what’s for breakfast. If you want to become an “Iron Man” in the weight room or as ft as Jennifer Garner in the movie Electra there is no better food than eggs.
Eggs are one of the top two bioavailable sources of protein which means they can be easily digested and turned into muscle. Pastured or free-range eggs are produced by chickens that are grass-fed or raised in pastures rather than being confined to cages and fed on grains. Why pay the extra for pastured eggs? The reason is that eggs from pastured hens have up to 20 times more omega-3 fats than eggs from factory hens. That makes them superb value!
Eggs are a great source of protein and omega-3 fats and they are essential for building and maintaining muscle. Grass-fed hens are raised in pastures and their diet is complemented by worms and small bugs that give the eggs extra nutritional value than those fed primarily on grains. As well as being restricted in space, factory hens are fed on antibiotics, which in turn pass through to the eggs they produce.
Eggs are one of the few food sources of vitamin D
Tests by Mother Earth News comparing pastured eggs with factory-produced eggs showed that pastured eggs had 25% less saturated fat, 34% less cholesterol, and 60% more vitamin A.
They also contained three times more vitamin E and a massive 7 times more beta-carotene. Our bodies produce it naturally in sunlight, but of course, factory chickens are under artificial light and have 4 to 6 times less vitamin D than their free-range cousins.
Eggs cannot really be considered a superfood unless they are from pasture-raised hens. Eggs are great eaten raw or cooked. I’ll eat them raw in a breakfast smoothie or cooked with some coconut oil. I mix up my sources of protein so I don’t eat eggs everyday, but I do eat them often. You can eat anywhere from one to twelve eggs daily for great bodybuilding and fat burning benefits.
BROCCOLI Like the Incredible Hulk, Broccoli can help you become a lean, green, muscle-building machine! Muscle building is not only about getting enough protein and calories in your diet, but it’s also important to load up on vitamins and nutrients. If you want to build muscle and lower your cholesterol at the same time, broccoli is the superfood for you!
It also tackles the three problems of chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and detoxification, which research shows all raise the risk of cancer. Broccoli is one member of the cruciferous group of vegetables that includes cabbage, bok choy, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and other green leafy vegetables.
They all contain phytochemicals, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and fiber and we should be consuming them daily. Broccoli contains the most vitamin C (165% of your daily value) and more fiber than most other cruciferous veggies.
It also puts a good serving of vitamin A, B2, B6, K, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and omega-3 on your plate with few calories. The nutrients in Broccoli can also help your body recover more quickly after an intense workout. Broccoli has been found to counter oxidative stress, a condition when the body is overloaded with free-radicals that are known to cause damage to cells and DNA. The National Cancer Institute ran a study on 20 participants who had to eat 1-2 cups of cruciferous vegetables a day. After three weeks, their bodies were found to have 22% less oxidative stress, proving that broccoli and other leafy greens vegetables are a wise and healthy choice. Eat it raw, add it to salads and soups or gently steam it, and think about how much good it is doing your body.
TURMERIC is a super herb, though used in small amounts, can pack a punch when it comes to muscle recovery. Turmeric is a true superfood as it has been shown to have remarkable anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Inflammation sounds trivial, but it is a common cause of arthritis and other degenerative diseases. Turmeric comes out on top for reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and aiding in muscle and joint recovery.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been found to help diabetes, cancer prevention, reduce Alzheimer’s risk, slow aging, boost the immune system, fight infection, and reduce inflammation according to PubMed. This bright orange/yellow spice continues to surprise scientists proven by over 600 studies reporting on its exceptional health properties. Amazingly, turmeric is the 4th highest antioxidant-rich herb with an ORAC score of 159,277.
The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score measures the antioxidant and chemical levels of food. Those ingredients found to have high scores are best able to eliminate the free radical which the body naturally produces daily just by breathing and living. Turmeric is a key superfood for muscle building and accelerates the healing process.
It has also been found to improve blood flow, lower stress levels, and make the brain sharper, improving focus. Sprinkle Turmeric on salads, burgers, hummus, or anything else you may choose. To fight inflammation and improve muscle and joint recovery take a dose of turmeric daily.
Turmeric can help
» Build muscle
» Accelerate healing
» Improve blood flow
» Decrease stress
» Improve focus
» Reduce inflammation