To the average person, there is an endless list of foods one can put in their body. Some of them are universally known to be good and healthy, and some are deemed very bad. For the fitness enthusiast who’s looking to become bigger and stronger, this list is extremely narrowed down.
Of course, everyone knows that bad foods should be avoided whenever possible, but for people who lead a fitness lifestyle choosing the right foods that will help them achieve their physique goals is an even harder choice. In this article, we picked the best foods that will help you do this in the shortest amount of time possible, and we named them super-foods:
The good thing about eggs is they can be eaten at any regular meal. They are the perfect source of protein. Because they’re filled with cholesterol, they are usually deemed an evil food, but actually, they offer lots of positive benefits, like maintaining high testosterone levels and muscle cell membranes integrity.
In one study, participants who consumed three whole eggs a day while doing a strength training program experienced twice the gains in strength and muscle mass than the group that consumed just one or no eggs at all each day. Several studies have shown that approximately 640 milligrams a day of additional cholesterol from eggs reduced the amount of bad cholesterol which is usually related to the development of atherosclerosis.
2. Organic Beef
Beef is usually eaten at lunch or dinner. This type of meat is important because of its high protein content, saturated fat, and cholesterol, all of which tend to maintain high levels of testosterone. Organic beef contains much larger amounts of conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids than beef from conventionally raised cattle because this type of cattle is primarily fed with grass as opposed to grain. CLA, a type of healthy fat, has been proven in lots of clinical trials to aid in shedding body fat while helping to increase strength and muscle mass at the same time.
Salmon is a type of fish that is rich in the essential omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acids). It was found that subjects who consumed higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids experienced greater strength than those who took lower levels of these acids. Omega-3 acids increase insulin sensitivity, which increases protein synthesis in the muscles (increased muscle growth) and increases amino acid and glucose uptake.
Omega-3 acids are also readily used for fuel, which spares glycogen in the muscles which in turn keeps the muscles bigger. Additionally, it’s been found that omega-3 acids inhibit muscle tissue and joint breakdown, as well as enhance recovery. Omega-3s also convert into prostaglandins, which are beneficial hormone-like compounds which promote numerous positive processes in your body.
Herring too has a high content of omega-3 acids, and it also contains one of the highest amounts of creatine, which is the most popular supplement for boosting muscle growth and strength, of any food source from either land or sea. 3 oz of herring contains around 185 calories, 21 grams of protein, 0 carbs and 11 grams of fat (of which around 2 grams are omega-3s).
5. Wheat germ
Wheat germ can be eaten half an hour before training and at any time of the day, you like to ingest slow-digesting complex carbs. Wheat germ is rich in iron, zinc, potassium, selenium and B vitamins, and is also high in protein with high amounts of BCAAs (Branched-chain amino acids), arginine and glutamine. It has a high content of fiber, which makes it a great source of slow-digesting carbs. The reason why it’s so good to be eaten before a workout is that it is a good source of octacosanol, which is an alcohol that can increase muscle strength and endurance, and improve the reaction time in athletes by increasing central nervous system efficiency.
6. Brown rice
Brown rice is a type of whole grain which is rich in fiber to help slow down the digestion process and maintain steady insulin levels, supplying your body with enough energy to last during the day. It has a high content of gamma-aminobutyric acid, an amino acid which functions as a neurotransmitter in the body and which increase GH (Growth Hormone) levels by up to 400%. You can cook brown rice in such a way that will increase GABA levels: let it soak in hot water for 2 hours before cooking it to trigger slight germination.
Even though it’s typically recommended that you consume fruit as a pre-workout carb source, since the majority of fruits are slow-digesting, watermelon is one of the rare fruits that are the opposite. This means that eating it causes spikes in your insulin levels, which makes it a good post-workout carb. The red flesh inside and the white rind are rich in the amino acid citrulline, which is converted into arginine in the body, increases overall arginine levels and does it even better than simply taking arginine itself as a supplement.
Increased arginine levels cause increased nitric oxide levels, as well as increased growth hormone levels after training, both of which are essential for increasing muscle growth and strength. Increasing nitric oxide levels after training means that there is more blood flow to the muscles, which will improve the recovery rate and help with muscle growth.
Spinach is an excellent food to be used as a side salad with lunch or dinner. It not only provides numerous health benefits with its high content of antioxidants, but it also contains compounds which increase muscle size and strength. It is rich in glutamine, the amino acid which is very important for optimal muscle growth, strong immunity and gastrointestinal health, as well as for increasing growth hormone levels and the metabolic rate. Besides glutamine, spinach also has a high content of octacosanol (the same as wheat germ) and beta-ecdysterone, which is a phytochemical which stimulates protein synthesis.
9. Ezekiel bread
Ezekiel bread is a good choice for any time of the day you would like to ingest slow-digesting complex carbs. It is made from organic sprouted whole grains like wheat, spelt, millet, barley and from legumes like soybeans and lentils. This type of bread contains complete protein, which means that it has all nine amino acids the body requires for muscle tissue growth. The whole grains and legumes are digested slowly, which causes improved burning of calories during the day and increased levels of energy during training.
Broccoli is rich in a phytochemical which is converted into another naturally occurring compound within your body called diindolylmethane, which decreases the impact of estrogens by converting them to some of their weaker variations. All this does is reduce the estrogenic effects such as water retention and fat gain and strengthen the anabolic effects of testosterone like increased muscle growth and strength. Broccoli is also rich in the antioxidant sulforaphane, a chemical which is formed from the inactive compound called glucoraphanin when you chew it. This compound works synergistically with DIM to provide anti-inflammatory properties, that improve muscle and joint recovery, as well as combat the development of cancer.