Popeye has been an icon of strength since 1929. This tough yet lovable sailor always gave credit where credit was due, too. When it came time to knock out anyone who was messing with his beloved Olive Oil, he’d bust out a can of spinach, eat it in one quick gulp, and then, like magic, his biceps would grow and he’d be able to take out a guy that was at least twice his size.
Why do I admire Popeye? That’s right: he’s a greens guy just like me. He understands that you can be massive on the outside, but if you aren’t nurturing your cells with green goodness bulk really doesn’t matter. It is the nutrients in our food that truly promote health and strength.
But some people aren’t really convinced of that. They spend hours in the gym, neglect their diet, and some even resort to steroids. They either don’t understand the concept that nutrients give our muscles what they need to grow and to promote definition, or they simply don’t believe it.
So, I decided to show you just how powerful nutrition is by coming up with a list of the top ten foods that can help with muscle growth and promote definition. And, to be fair, this list isn’t going to simply contain green foods.
5 Foods to Eat For Muscle Growth: How to Increase Your Mass
Here are the top five foods that help build muscle.
1. Spinach: You were expecting this one, right? Spinach is great for muscle growth because it is high in magnesium. It has the highest amount of magnesium in the greens category, per a 1 cup cooked serving size. Magnesium builds proteins—definitely a plus when trying to build muscle!
2. Cottage Cheese: This food contains casein protein which is slow to digest. According to BreakingMuscle.com, this is important both for muscle growth and to keep you full when you have to go for a long period without eating.
3. Quinoa: This is a versatile seed that can be used in place of many grains. Quinoa is high in protein and contains all nine amino acids, making it one of the few foods that is a complete protein all on its own.
4. Fish: When it comes to protein, fish beats out other meats, according to FoxNews.com. Not only does it contain more protein, it contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Lean Meats: Lean beef, skinless chicken, and turkey contain muscle building nutrients. The important thing to remember is that these should not and need not be your sole source of protein.
Eat These 5 Foods to Promote Definition and Look Amazing
The best way to promote definition is to reduce excess fat tissue between your muscles and your skin. The less fat there is, the higher the definition. These foods can help you stay nice and lean.
1. Water: You probably weren’t expecting this, but staying hydrated plays a vital role in weight loss and it reduces the likelihood of retaining water. Water retention and excess weight keep your amazing muscles out of sight, and we definitely don’t want that!
2. Nuts and Seeds: One-quarter cup of almonds contain more protein than the average egg. Nuts and seeds are powerhouses when it comes to nutrients. They provide an abundance of both macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
3. Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas: These are a high fiber carbohydrate that, according to MensFitness.com, can be used to replace simple carbohydrates like white rice. Eating more complex carbohydrates will help you stay lean, keeping those buff muscles of yours on display.
4. Kale: Kale has a ton of iron which helps muscles recover after a workout, leading to increased definition. Plus, like spinach, kale has a ton of protein and should definitely be added to some of your green smoothies.
5. Lentils: Lentils and other legumes don’t always get the recognition they deserve. These little delectable pearls pack a ton of protein and nutrition into each bite. Plus, they’re low in fat and keep you nice and full.
Do These Foods Work For Women, Too?
Men aren’t the only ones who want to build muscle and increase definition. Women need strong muscles to help prevent weakness and osteoporosis as they get older. But do these muscle building foods work for women just as well as they do for men?
In order to tone up and see some actual muscle definition, it is important to lose fat around the muscle. The issue a lot of women have is that it can be more difficult for their bodies to let go of fat than it is for a man. I know, ladies—it totally sucks.
Thankfully, the healthy foods listed in this blog will not only work to promote growth and definition of your muscles, they will also help to boost your metabolism and encourage fat loss. I encourage you to try drinking at least one powerful green smoothie five days a week. As I’ve noted in previous posts, the smoothies promote fat loss because they are incredibly filling. Plus, they are nutrient dense, particularly in nutrients that promote healthy bones and muscles.
Workouts and Green Foods: The Ultimate Muscle Building Combo
Working out—both with cardio and weight training—is a great way to build muscle and promote definition. Adding healthy eating to the mix can definitely up the ante. Whether you want to be the next Mr. or Ms. Olympia, look like the Hulk, claim the same strength and power of Popeye, or you simply want to tone up and add some definition, the best way to go about reaching your goal is with a combination of workouts and healthy eating.
What are your fitness goals? Do you want to lose weight, build muscle, both? Do you tend to focus solely on exercise, or do you take into consideration a healthy diet full of green fuel? Would you like some extra support? Let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook page.