Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

Best Foods for Muscle Tone

October 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Muscle toning requires exercise and proper nutrition. While many believe that in order to build muscle, one must load up on protein and carbohydrates, this recently is known to not be so simple. Recent findings have shown that amino acids and protein signal muscles to grow and build protein, even while food deprived.

Additionally, research shows that diets that are high in carbohydrates deplete muscles by promoting insulin and leptin resistance. Also, eating excess protein may promote high blood sugar, kidney stress, and weight gain, possibly even stimulate cancer growth.

Foods to Encourage Muscle Definition

1. Wild Alaskan Salmon

Wild Alaskan salmon is rich in healthy omega-3 fats and high-quality protein. It helps to fight against chronic inflammation that afflicts most people with health troubles. Omega-3 fats that are animal based help build muscle and inhibit muscle breakdown.

Aside from healthy fat and protein, salmon contains leucine, an amino acid that is very effective for encouraging skeletal muscle protein synthesis. Wild Alaskan salmon is also low in mercury, which is beneficial when you are aiming to improve your health.

2. Avocado

Avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fat, potassium, and important for water balance regulation after exertion. Similar to olive oil, the monounsaturated fat in avocados helps with weight management. Studies have shown that eating just a portion of an avocado helps curb the appetite.

Research shows that eating avocado along with tomatoes or raw carrots enhances absorption of the carotenoids significantly and helps convert them into a useful form of vitamin A. Additionally, avocados provide almost 20 essential nutrients, including folic acid, vitamins B and vitamin E.

3. Spinach

Spinach is loaded with vitamins and minerals for the whole body. Its flavonoids also help lower cholesterol and provide protection from free radicals. Spinach promotes a healthy heart, and its magnesium helps to lower blood pressure. Also, the dietary nitrate that is found in spinach helps to increase the production of proteins to boost muscle strength.

4. Coconut Oil

Almost 50% of coconut oil is lauric acid, which the body converts into monolaurin. This monoglyceride helps destroy viruses and gram-negative bacteria, making coconut oil not only healthy, but also medicinally useful.

5. MCT Oil

The body processes MCT oil differently from long-chain fats. While a consumed fat typically must be mixed with bile and acted on by enzymes to break down in the body, MCTs do not need either bile nor pancreatic enzymes to break down.

Once MCTs are in your intestines, the oil is converted to ketones. The liver then releases these back into the bloodstream to be transported throughout the body. Ketones are able to pass the blood-brain barrier to give the brain energy. Also, MCTs have a positive effect on metabolism with their thermogenic effect. MCTs are easily used by the body for energy, instead of being stored as fat.

6. Kale

Kale has high amounts of protein and highly bioavailable calcium. Like meat, kale has all nine essential amino acids that the body needs to form proteins, as well as nine other non-essential amino acids, totaling 18.

One cup of kale contains 684% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, 206% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A and 134% of vitamin C.

7. Broccoli

Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which increases testosterone levels and prevents the body from retaining fat. sulforaphane also blocks enzymes that are linked to joint damage, so broccoli is an important part of an active person’s diet. Research also suggests sulforaphane protects muscles against damage from exercise.

8. Sprouts

Sprouts are a high quality protein. They are also up to 30 times more nutrient-dense than microbiotic organic vegetables. Sprouts also make nutrients more bioavailable.

9. Berries

Berries contain phytochemicals that boost the immune system and protect the heart. Berries are also high in fiber and improve the lipid profile, which reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes. Berries are also high in antioxidants, which helps prevent premature aging.

10. Bananas

Bananas are high in potassium, which is a mineral that gets depleted with intense exercise. Potassium is also important for controlling blood pressure and heart rate.

11. Watermelon

Watermelon is high in anthocyaninm which improves lipid profiles and lowers the accumulation of fat. Watermelon also aides in hydration and helps reduce muscle soreness after an intense workout.

12. Grapefruit

Eating a grapefruit prior to working out aids rehydration, which also helps with weight loss. Pink grapefruit is a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Red grapefruit is high in flavonoids and anthocyanins and contains lycopene, which lower triglycerides, protect skin from sun damage, and help fight free radical damage.

13. Papaya

Papaya may help lower cortisol levels after strenuous exercise. One study showed that men who ate 1,000 mg of vitamin C every day for two weeks had much lower cortisol levels after a 2.5-hour run compared to those who did not.

Unripened papaya also contains digestive-resistant starch, which is crucial for gut health. Resistant starches do not result in blood sugar spikes, and are also rich in antioxidants, fiber and potassium. Additionally, they contain papain, which is an enzyme that aids in protein digestion and decreases inflammation.

14. Raw Nuts

Magnesium is vital for strength and muscle growth. Raw nuts are high in magnesium, as well as healthy fats, and relatively low in net carbs. Raw nuts also contain vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that are known for their health benefits. Magnesium acts as an anti-inflammatory and immune booster.

15. Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-fed beef is a great source of protein, nutrients, and healthy fats. Grass-fed beef is also loaded with L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps build muscle and prevent muscle breakdown.

Grass-fed beef also contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a strong anti-inflammatory. However, it is important to not eat more protein than your body needs. When you eat the right amount of protein, your chances of cancer growth minimize and it prevents your body from stressing the kidneys by having to remove excess nitrogen waste products from the blood. This may result in chronic dehydration.

16. Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain vitamin D, which is crucial for muscle function. Vitamin D deficiency results in muscle weakness, and many mushrooms are also able to improve immune function.

17. Olive Oil

Cold olive oil is a healthy fat, which is known to raise serotonin. After eating olive oil, you will feel satisfied, which will deter you from snacking. Be sure to only eat pure extra virgin olive oil for the best health benefits.

18. Whey Protein

Whey protein contains high-quality protein and high amounts of leucine, which serves many functions in the body. One of these functions causes the mTOR mechanism to build muscle by increasing protein synthesis.

Whey is a protein that rapidly assimilates, and will reach the muscles within 15 minutes of ingestion. This makes it easy to supply muscles with proper fuel at the right time.

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Frank Salvatore