7 Plants Which Help Build Muscles
September 20, 2015
When we think “muscle,” we usually think protein. And, for people on a plant-based diet, that means beans, legumes, tofu, seitan, nuts, and other protein-packed foods. But protein isn’t the only thing necessary for building muscle. Your body needs a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to facilitate the muscle building process and stay healthy. If this is something you’re looking for, consider adding these plants to your diet.
Kiwis are one of the best sources of Vitamin C, with a single kiwi providing about 106% of your RDA and containing twice the Vitamin C as a lemon. Vitamin C is very important for blood vessel health, which is important for delivering oxygen and nutrients to muscles.Vitamin C is also the building block of collagen, which the body uses to build muscles and bones.
Flax seeds are one of the best sources of Omega 3, which is important for literally every single cell function in your body. They keep your nervous system working, fight off inflammation, and make up cell membranes. Omega 3 also has a vital role in helping you build muscle by reducing protein breakdown. It also reduces inflammation, which means your muscles can recover faster after workouts. Sprinkle some flax seeds over your meal for a mild taste plus all the added benefits!
Kale, along with other cruciferous greens like chart and broccoli, is a great bioavailable source of calcium. Calcium is a mineral which cues your muscles to contract.And, if your muscles aren’t contracting (think a workout in the gym), then they aren’t going to grow.
Kale is also loaded with iron, which is needed to transport oxygen to the muscles. Other great sources of iron include whole grains, seeds, and leafy greens. Eat iron-rich foods with some vitamin C to increase absorption.
Aside from being a good source of protein, almonds are also a good source of Vitamin E, which helps cell membranes recover from oxidative stress. Your muscles will definitely be stressed after a good workout and a handful of almonds will help them recover faster.
Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, which protects your body from free radical damage that can occur after weight lifting. Sunflower seeds and whole grains are also wonderful plant-based sources of selenium.
Peanuts are a good source of copper. Copper has many roles in the body, including protecting cardiovascular health and the nervous system, as well as strengthening the skeletal system. For muscle building, it is also important in strengthening tendons which are needed to weight train.
It is estimated that 60 to 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium, which is a vital mineral with many roles in the body. Magnesium is needed to build muscle because it helps the muscles contract. If you are experiencing muscle cramps, try boosting your magnesium to prevent this problem. Bran, while admittedly not one of the tastiest foods, is one of the best sources of magnesium. Just a single ounce of wheat bran has 43% of your RDA for magnesium. Other good sources include garlic and leafy greens.
What are Your Favorite power foods? Let us know!
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