Did you know there are foods to optimise muscle growth? Not only that, they could help you recover faster, which will make you a better athlete overall.
When you train, without the right nutrition to assist recovery and fuel performance, you will simply not perform and develop according to your full potential. Try these 8 foods to optimise muscle growth and help keep your nutrition on track.
Not just are they absolutely delicious, but they can help you take care of your aching muscles as well. They also help in the production of sleep hormones that help you rest better.
Who doesn’t love a big bowl of colourful berries?!? Berries are regularly touted as a superfood and for good reason. They are full of anthocyanins, fibre, polyphenols and vitamins which help supercharge your recovery. Berries can be eaten anytime but may be of particular use when you are in an intense training cycle and need all the support you can get.
How to use –
- Add to your breakfast – on top of greek yoghurt/porridge/protein pancakes
- Blended in a smoothie – using frozen berries is a cost effective way of buying them and reducing waste
- Add to your meals – berries go really well with game meat such as venison
2. CITRUS FRUITS – FOODS TO OPTIMISE MUSCLE GROWTH
Vitamin C is critical for your skin, scar tissues, and blood vessels to heal themselves. Since the body can’t make vitamin C on its own, consuming citrus fruits will ensure that you are pumping in enough of it for your body to fix itself.
Vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system, assist the rate at which we can absorb iron and is an important antioxidant that regenerates other antioxidants within the body. The reduction of stress is a side function, but this helps you to stay relaxed and recover from high-intensity training.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT?
You can easily cover your vitamin C demand with foods like:
Supplements are not necessarily required. The daily demand of vitamin C amounts 100 mg (equal to one kiwi). The human body can neither store vitamin C nor produce it, so it is absolutely essential as a part of your diet.
Symptoms of a deficiency are easy bruising and bleeding, joint and muscle pain and a weakened immune system.
3. BROCCOLI AND CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES
Also rich in Vitamin C, broccoli has properties that kill free radicals. Now, free isn’t always good. Free radicals are stuff that the body creates when there’s stress, or after intense physical activity. These come in the way of the body’s healing process, so what broccoli does is fight the bad guys.
At least one serving of broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale or cabbage should be on your plate or in your smoothie daily. Containing high levels of fibre, folate, b-vitamins, vitamin C and compounds to help remove toxins, cruciferous veggies regularly top the lists of the healthiest foods in the world.
We know that the intense nature of CrossFit can lead to increased inflammation in the body. We also know that green veg can lower inflammation levels and reduce oxidative stress, allowing you to keep coming back for more!
How to use –
- Soups are a great way to get different veg into your nutrition plan. Curried cauliflower, green thai chicken and broccoli or pesto supergreen soup are some great options
- Adding greens into smoothies is also recommended. Blending kale and broccoli into a smoothie containing almond butter, chocolate protein, cacao powder, almond milk and avocado will provide a huge dose of nutrients to supercharge your CrossFit performance.
4. SPINACH – FOODS TO OPTIMISE MUSCLE GROWTH
When you exercise, you might not sustain any injury as such, like a cut or a wound, but the wear and tear of your muscles are also a form of injury. You need white blood cells to prevent infections, so you need vitamin A to keep the white blood cells in good shape. Spinach has vitamin A. Long story cut short, eating like Popeye will make you like him.
Health Benefits of Spinach.
- Low in fat and even lower in cholesterol
- Spinach is high in niacin and zinc
- Protein, fibre
- Vitamins A, C, E and K
- Thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese
Salmon is a storehouse of omega-3 fatty acids. Now, why do you need them? Because when you exercise, you might experience inflammation, which causes pain. These acids have the ability to reduce inflammation and get rid of the pain. It is also an excellent source for protein.
There are numerous health benefits from the consumption of Salmon
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamins A and D
- Significant amounts of protein
6. CHICKEN – FOODS TO OPTIMISE MUSCLE GROWTH
If you love chicken, you are going to love this. Chicken is protein-rich and contains high levels of zinc, which plays a significant role in helping you recover after training.
- Selenium – Chicken is a great source of selenium, a trace element that has been shown to fight cancer.
- Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is found in chicken and helps in the metabolic process of protein and carbohydrates. It assists in the production of insulin, white and red blood cells, neurotransmitters, enzymes, DNA, RNA and prostaglandins.
- Vitamin B3 – Vitamin B3 is responsible for converting carbohydrates to energy and maintaining the health of the body’s cells.
Apart from the fact that it can make almost anything taste good, it also is known to store dietary carbs that are essential for muscle and tissue repair. It can assist with weight loss as well.
So, you know what to add to your shakes after you return from your training session, don’t you? A little bit of cinnamon goes a long way, and its antioxidant abilities are what makes it especially beneficial to include in your diet. As little as 1/2 of one teaspoon of cinnamon daily can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, digestion, immunity, and more. It also contains:
8. EGGS – FOODS TO OPTIMISE MUSCLE GROWTH
Protein is essential for recovery after workouts and training sessions. Eggs are known to have a high concentration of leucine and amino acids which make them perfect fit for muscle and tissue repair.
Want more healthy tips?
25 Orgasmic Recipes For Crossfitters
- Bar-muscle-up: RX'd Photography
- Katrin-Davidsdottir: CrossFit Inc.
- Brent-Fikowski: CrossFit Inc.
- CrossFit myths: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.