If you’re looking to bulk up your physique then it’s all about the meat, right? Wrong. Yes, lean beef and chicken are a good part of any bodybuilding food plan but the power of veg could and shouldn’t be ignored – in fact, some people manage to maintain a perfectly successful fitness regime powered on vegetarian and vegan diets.
Here’s our guide to some of the best vegetables and why they can help to deliver great gains as part of your regime:
As Eat This points out ‘downing iron is as important as lifting it’. While you’re not guaranteed to ‘do a Popeye’ and sprout a pair of mega muscles, spinach is a vital part of helping you to make great gains. The website estimates that a 180g serving of boiled spinach contains 6.43 mg of iron – more than a burger and healthier to boot. It’s also a way of packing in some muscle developing magnesium into your diet too. Spinach works well in smoothies as well as lunches and main meals – making it easy to get your dose in your diet.
Mushrooms are a surprisingly good way to fuel your fitness regime. As Men’s Fitness points out, there is actually more potassium in a Portobello mushroom than in a banana. There’s zero fat and negligible calories in a portion of mushrooms. Instead they contain a winning combination of good-for-you selenium and vitamin D.
Health.com estimates that one baked medium sweet potato contains 438% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin A (good for healthy skin ad hair), 37% of vitamin C and contains calcium, potassium and iron. That’s all while containing a mere 105 calories, making this a superb alternative to standard potatoes.
They don’t call broccoli a superfood for nothing. It’s high in fibre – keeping you nice and full – and is packed with protein, calcium and vitamins K and C. All that makes for a food that can fuel your active lifestyle, boost your immune system, reduce your cholesterol and assist the health of your bones. Not bad for a humble bit of veg, eh?
Beans and legumes
You’ll need plenty of protein if you’re to build your muscles but that doesn’t just mean stocking up on the entire contents of your nearest butchers. One cup of chickpeas can deliver you a handy 40g of protein – alongside 120g of carbs and 7.7g of unsaturated fat. Pop them into a tasty recipe and reap the rewards.
Red peppers add a splash of flavour and colour to any recipe – and they are also great for your diet too. Each contains more than enough vitamin C to get you through the day and help your body to soak up the iron it needs. There’s also vitamin A, C and B6, making them a superfood with big antioxidant power.
The ‘super six’ above should be a part of any successful diet. Experiment with recipes, build them in where you can and you’ll be able to make the gains you need.