7 Vegetables You Need for Muscle and Strength Growth
by Healthy Homestead Team
6 months ago
If you are trying to build muscle and strength, you focus on two things. The first one is how you work out, and the second is what you eat. Ask any nutritionist, and they will tell you the same, protein and carbs are essential for muscle growth.
What many people forget is that protein can be found in plants as well as lean meat. In most cases, when we are trying to build muscle and strength, we focus on eating too much lean meat as source of lean protein.
But not only are vegetables full of good nutrients for your overall health, they are also great for building muscles. With that in mind, here are 7 vegetables you want to include in your muscle growth diet.
One of the reasons why you can still maintain strong bones, gain muscles, and improve your strength despite being a vegetarian is beans. Most people overlook plant-based protein, but beans are the second highest source of protein after meat. You can choose among the variety of kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or anything else. No matter what you choose, you get about 15g of protein per cup, and even more. Beans are low in fat, high in fiber, high in vitamins and minerals, and best of all, they are very cheap.
Watercress ranks as the most nutrient-rich vegetable. Even leafy greens have lower nutrient density than watercress. And in addition to all those vitamins and minerals, watercress packs 2g of protein and just 8 calories per a cup. That makes the vegetable great for weight loss, but because of the small protein content, also good for muscle gain. The best part is you can easily add watercress to smoothies and vegetable juices and reap the benefits.
Speaking of leafy greens, kale is on top of the list. It is hard to avoid kale these days. Considered a superfood, kale is found in almost everything, from salads to smoothies. Rich in antioxidants, vitamin K, and other healthy nutrients, kale can also help you build muscles. If you look at it calorie per calorie, kale contains more protein than fatty cuts of beef. With that in mind, you can use kale for juices and smoothies, or take it to the next step, and prepare a kale veggie burger.
Best of all, kale is also rich in calcium, a mineral essential for protecting your bones from damage caused by exercise.
If you look at the diet of bodybuilders, you will see that broccoli is often on the menu, along with chicken breasts. Why? Because broccoli is rich in fiber, but also packs a considerable amount of protein. Two cups of raw broccoli will deliver approximately 5g of protein. That is not much, but it is still a welcome addition to your diet. You can add broccoli to salad, or eat it as a mid-day snack.
Beets are another nutrition powerhouse you cannot ignore. They contain about 2g of protein per 1 cup of serving. Beets are some of the highest ranked vegetables on the nutrient density list. While 2g of protein is not much, beets also deliver a bevy of vitamins and minerals that improve your overall health. And the healthier you are, the more you can work out and gain muscles.
While regular potatoes do not fall into the category of healthy foods for weight loss and muscle gain, sweet potatoes are something else. Rich in nutrients that improve your workout performance, sweet potatoes help you gain muscles in two ways. They give you fuel for workout, and provide some protein for rejuvenating of your muscles. Most importantly, because of their high fiber content, they prevent fatigue through exercise.
While mushrooms are not technically vegetables, they are staple in the vegetarian plant diet. Considered the best alternative to meat as source of protein, mushrooms are low on calories, making them perfect for your weight loss diet as well. Mushrooms also contain vitamin D, a vitamin many studies show you need for improving muscle strength.