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5 Essential Nutritional Components to Help you Build Muscle

2. Protein

Proteins are the key to building muscles. Once you complete your training, the recovery starts, and that is when your muscles grow. Proteins take a crucial role at that point, and they boost muscle building and development.

crossfit nutrition athlete avoid illnessSource: RX'd Photography

The nutrient is also essential for securing fuel that tissues and cells use, and it participates in building hair and bones.

“Protein: Any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds which have large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.”

Proteins are ‘king’ when it comes to recovery and growth: these nutrients, once in the body, are digested into amino acids that are the building blocks of your lean mass.

During your workout, the cells in your muscles are subjected to higher stress than they normally are, among them, the significant release of lactic acid which occurs in exercise. This leads to the athlete having to recover a part of the ‘damaged’ cells, while also replacing some of the old cells with new ones, in the growth of which protein synthesis is vital. Therefore, the post-workout diet must include proteins in order for the body to be assisted in its process of recovery from effort.

Nutrition for performanceSource: Squats & Pixels

Protein is found in many foods such as steak, chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, cheese, milk, eggs, yoghurt, cous cous, oats as well as many more. Alternatively, if you want to add vegan protein sources into your diet, try the following:

Seitan

It’s made from gluten, the main protein in wheat. Unlike many soy-based mock meats, it resembles the look and texture of meat when cooked.

Also known as wheat meat or wheat gluten, it contains about 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). However, seitan should be avoided by people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Seitan is also a good source of selenium and contains small amounts of iron, calcium and phosphorus.

Tempah

Tempeh originates from soybeans. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans prior to pressing them into a patty.

Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein. This means that they provide the body with all the essential amino acids it needs.

Edamame

Edamame are immature soybeans with a sweet and slightly grassy taste. They need to be steamed or boiled prior to consumption and can be eaten on their own or added to soups and salads.

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