Want a stronger, chiselled body? We point to the top natural foods that will build your muscles. Here are the top five by nutritionist Gabrielle Maston
Supplements aren’t obligatory for a strong body. With a better understanding of chemical compounds in food, we know what you should eat to get the bulging biceps you have been dreaming about. Add these five muscle-building superfoods to your daily regimen to get the best results from your iron pumping sessions
Researchers in Spain have found that watermelon juice is naturally high in amino acid L-Citrulline, which is a key component of nitric oxide (NO). NO is a gas naturally occurring in the body which helps to widen blood vessels, improve blood flow and increase oxygen utilisation by muscles during training.
People given watermelon juice a few hours before training showed reduced heart rates during exercise and reported reduced muscle soreness 24 hours post workout. The high natural sugar content of watermelon juice after training will also spike your insulin levels and rehydrate you, just in time for enhanced protein synthesis, muscle growth and repair.
As a whole food, chocolate milk is better at producing protein synthesis than whey protein supplements alone because it combines both whey and casein proteins. The whey protein initiates protein synthesis upon digestion while the slower-releasing casein protein continues to stimulate the synthesis for hours after training.
Simple sugars from the chocolate flavouring create an insulin spike, which increases muscle growth and glycogen replenishment. Athletes who drank chocolate milk 45 minutes after training had increased muscle repair up to three hours later.
A low GI gluten free grain, quinoa is great for those with gluten allergies or who are trying to cut body fat. Quinoa is lower GI than rice and has more protein as well. Not only will it help sustain your energy levels but it will make you feel fuller for longer.
It contains the antioxidants quercetin and kaempferol, which are both powerful anti-inflammatories. This ancient grain will help reduce systemic body inflammation, reducing muscle soreness due to training. The only downfall is its cost!
Egg protein is one of the most easily absorbed proteins. It contains all the amino acids your muscles need to grow. It increases feelings of fullness, which aids in weight control for those cutting phases.
Egg yolk is also a good source of omega-3, especially if you don’t like fish or need a break from the tuna can. Make sure you choose free-range eggs for the highest quantity of omega-3.
A super-lean meat protein great for keeping body fat levels in check. It contains high levels of thiamine and B-vitamins which are used in the metabolism of carbs into energy and are essential for the growth and repair of muscle fibres.
It is also high in zinc, which helps to maintain high testosterone levels responsible for helping you to build a bigger, stronger, leaner body.