Are fruits and vegetables important for muscle gains
We’ve all heard that fruits and vegetables are good for our health. But, if you are training, you might be wondering whether they do something to help you gain muscle. Well, we’ll discuss this question and the importance of fruits and vegetables but first let’s talk about the common nutrition facts with respect to the common mistakes we do and the best things we can do with our dietary regimen.
Let’s start with the mistakes we make
The carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body and thanks to them you get energy for your training session. They also replenish the used-up energy stores in the muscles by providing glycogen. We know than many people turn to a low-carb diet but if you are an athlete or simply do a lot of exercises limiting carbs can limit your abilities to perform well.
Not getting enough protein
In order to gain muscle and repair the worn-out muscle fibers you need protein. If you don’t get enough of it you won’t be able to get bigger muscles.
When you try to build up muscle mass you should not start dieting because in this case the body will use the muscles as a source of energy when you don’t get enough calories.
The best things you can do in respect to nutrition to help your body be healthy
Consume complex carbohydrates
The simple carbohydrates give you a quick source of energy but are used up really fast. On the other hand, the complex carbs are broken down into galactose, fructose and glucose – those are the sugars which the body uses for energy. The complex carbs will help you exercise more effectively and longer because they sustain the stores of glycogen.
Eat quality protein
The proteins are broken down to amino acids. They, in turn, promote muscle repair and the overall cellular function. In order to build muscle mass you need to consume high-quality protein. To do that you can choose beans and legumes, lean meats, chicken breasts, soybeans and tofu.
Now, when we’ve discusses some general aspects of the nutrition, let’s proceed to talk about the fruits and vegetables and whether (and how) they are helpful for building muscle mass and for maintaining a good athletic ability.
Fruits and vegetables contain potassium
Potassium is a mineral which maintains the balance of the electrolytes. But it also helps to build muscle mass.
Fruits and vegetables contain protein
As we already mentioned, protein is the main source of energy. If you aren’t getting enough of it your body will start using muscles as a source of energy. If you are doing strength exercises half of the calorie intake should be from carbs. Fruits and vegetables are a wonderful way to supply your body with carbohydrates and they are also beneficial for your body in other ways – to put it differently, they are one of the healthiest choices you can make about your dietary regimen.
Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants
While you are exercising in your muscles occur some chemical reactions which are capable of damaging the cells. Thus, it’s better to add some antioxidants to your diet because they can protect the muscles.Antioxidants protect your body against oxidation. Now you may ask what is this. Well, simply put, the oxidation is the damage which the free radicals do to your cells. But if you add enough antioxidants in your diet, they can neutralize some of the activity of the radicals and not only protect your muscle cells but also keep your immune system running, keep your energy levels up and protect you against various diseases. The antioxidants we have most data about are:
- Vitamin A – fat-soluble vitamin which can be gotten from green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin C – it’s part of the first defense line of the body against bacteria and viruses. You can get it from broccoli, raw cabbage, potatoes, strawberries, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and green peppers.
- Selenium – it’s considered to be helpful in the combat against cell damage. You can get
selenium from vegetables grown in rich in selenium soils.
- Beta-carotene – it’s contained in kale, peaches, apricots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots,
tomatoes and cantaloupe.
Fruits and vegetables provide the body with fiber and bulk.
Thanks to being less dense in calories you can eat more fruits and vegetables which means that you’ll feel satiety but won’t add too much calories to your regimen. The fibers are also really important for your body – they maintain proper running of the digestive system and combat constipation and bloating.
You can safely eat quite a huge amount of vegetables. Still, remember that some of them – for example, corn, peas and potatoes – have a higher starch content which means that their calories and carbohydrates are more so you should keep that in mind.
On the other hand, you should remember that fruits contain sugar and you should keep that in mind. That, of course, isn’t the same sugar as the refined one but is simple sugar nonetheless
which means that it’s best to eat them early in the morning and around your most active times.
For example, you can enjoy some bananas after a workout to give you energy (and also potassium which is really important for the function of your muscles). Try to choose fresh fruits not frozen or canned ones, nor ones with added sugar.
How much fruits and vegetables to eat
You don’t have to limit yourself with the vegetables as long as they aren’t of those which contain more starch. A serving is usually considered to be one cup of raw vegetables or ½ cup of cooked ones. You can easily get 4 and more servings, even up to 6-8. But if you are trying to gain weight limit the amount of vegetables for they are low in calories and take up more space in the stomach. Still, don’t exclude them completely from your diet.
For fruits you should get one serving a day at least – maximum of 5-6. The exact amount depends on how much carbohydrates and calories do you need per day. If you require more calories you can eat more fruits than if you need to eat less calories.