The best meal is a balanced meal. However, some foods stand out more than others due to their high nutritional value.
The high nutritional content of some foods make it seem like they have ‘superpowers’; hence they are given the name “superfoods”. Superfood is a trend that dates as far back as the 1920s.
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, banana became the first food to be labeled a superfood after the United Fruit Company ran some adverts on the health benefits of the tropical fruit in the 1920s.
After that, other foods have attained superfood status. Such foods have been touted for their numerous health benefits, which include reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Superfoods can benefit bodybuilders as eating nutritious foods provides the body with adequate fuel for training and recovery. This article will reveal the top superfoods that will help muscle building.
What Is A Superfood?
Superfood is more of a marketing term. When it comes to diet and nutrition, there is no such thing as a superfood. Marketers and food industries only coined the term as a marketing strategy to drive sales.
Food industries use the term to label some foods touted as nutrient-rich (foods with supposed positive effects on the body). Some of the foods labeled as superfoods by these food industries have no scientific evidence backing their touted health benefits.
Despite the lack of scientific backing, the sales of food products labeled as “superfoods”, “supergrains”, or “superfruits” have increased in recent years. It seems the term superfood has come to stay and might not be going anywhere anytime soon.
Even though some foods labeled as ‘super’ do not have scientific backing, it doesn’t erase the fact that some foods indeed can be described as super.
No single food is the key to disease prevention or good health; however, some foods are a powerhouse of nutrients and have a strong capacity to reduce disease risk. Such foods are worth studying and are worth conferring the ‘superfood’ title. Thus, superfoods in this regard refer to nutrient-rich foods- foods that provide a substantial amount of nutrients like vitamins and minerals and fewer calories.
Superfoods For Building Muscle
Below are some superfoods that are beneficial for muscle building. This section includes foods that will give every bodybuilder an edge. Incorporating these foods into your daily regimen will help increase your physical and mental strength and help you achieve your bodybuilding goals.
Beetroot is richly packed with essential nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, iron, potassium, and folate. Another important constituent of beetroot that will benefit bodybuilders is dietary nitrates converted to nitric oxide (NO) in the body.
NO is contained in most pre-work supplements. It supports blood circulation throughout the body and affects the release of the adrenaline hormone, which supports weight gain.
Cordyceps originate from Chinese medicine. It is a mushroom that is usually processed into a powder. It is rich in antioxidants. When taken as a shake, it can reduce oxidative stress during exercise; thus, making it easier to work out for a longer duration.
- Coconut water
It might be shocking to find coconut water on this list. However, it is not an error. During workout sessions, the body loses not only water but electrolytes as well. Coconut water is an excellent source of electrolytes, making it easier for the body to replenish the electrolytes lost during a workout.
Coconut water also offers protective effects to the liver, an essential organ for muscle growth and metabolic health.
- Natural yogurt
Yogurt contains vital nutrients that help maintain bone health, such as potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus. Natural yogurt also contains the macronutrients- carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the right amount.
About 250g of natural yogurt contains about 15g of protein, which keeps the muscles in good shape. Aside from muscle gain, yogurt is good for gut health as it offers probiotics, therefore, helping food digestion and nutrient uptake maximization. It is best to opt for organic plain yogurt without starch additives.
Moringa originates from India and grows in tropical and subtropical regions. Every part of the moringa tree has high nutritional and commercial value. It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals. It is touted to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-microbial and anti-diabetic agent.
The moringa leaves will rack up your pre-workout protein levels. It will also boost your calcium level as it contains a substantial amount of calcium needed for muscle contractions.
Superfoods For Your Metabolism
Some foods aid metabolism. Metabolism is the process the body goes through to convert ingested food into energy. Metabolism is needed for every living thing to maintain life. Below are some superfoods that can aid metabolism.
- Matcha green tea
The popularity of matcha has increased in Italy. Italian coffee shops have different variants of matcha drinks available in the shops. Studies of matcha green tea, derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, show that it has a variety of health benefits, including promoting heart health, protecting the liver, and aiding in weight loss.
Studies have shown that matcha green tea may help promote metabolism. It boosts fat burning and increases energy expenditure. It helps maintain weight loss.
This list of top superfoods will be incomplete without including berries. Berries are a powerhouse of essential nutrients like minerals, vitamins, antioxidants. They also contain fiber. Some common berries include:
Because of their potent antioxidant property, berries have been linked to reduced risk of inflammatory conditions, heart diseases, and cancer.
When used alongside traditional medicine, berries may be effective for treating immune-related diseases and digestive problems.
- Dark green leafy vegetables
The nutritional value of dark green leafy vegetables cannot be overlooked. Some common dark green leafy vegetables include:
- Swiss Chard
- Collard greens
- Turnip greens
These vegetables are rich sources of vitamin C, zinc, folate, magnesium, iron, and fiber.
Part of what makes these vegetables super is their potential to reduce chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. They are also rich in carotenoids which may offer protection against some types of cancer.
Dark green leafy vegetables contain a substantial amount of fiber. Fiber is good for the guts, helps you stay fuller, and can help in weight loss. Fiber is important to digestive health. It helps control the digestive system and eases the symptoms of some types of irritable bowel syndrome.
Broccoli has a high nutrient value. An ounce of Broccoli contains as much calcium as a glass of milk and more vitamin C than oranges. Amongst all vegetables, Broccoli is one of the richest sources of vitamin A. It also has high fiber content.
Broccoli contains nutrients like selenium, beta-carotene, and glucoraphanin, which have anti-cancer properties. It reduces the risk of different cancers like breast, lung, liver, colon, kidney, and prostate cancer.
- Ancient whole grains
The term “ancient grain” is a market term used to describe certain grains and seeds that offer more nutrient value than modern crops. According to the Whole Grains Council, they are grains that have remained “unchanged over the last several hundred years”. Examples of these ancient grains are quinoa, buckwheat, and faro.
It is best to choose whole grains over refined grains. For instance, brown rice provides more fiber and nutrients than white rice. Ancient whole grains are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. They also aid metabolism.
Superfood Dupes For Your Favorite Snacks/Foods
Bananas are one of the best fruits to snack on. They have high nutrient content, which confers them superfood status.
Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium (one banana contains about 450 mg of potassium). Potassium helps in maintaining normal blood pressure and is heart-healthy. It also helps maintain bone strength.
Another good thing about this fruit is that it contains a minimal amount of sodium, making it a perfect choice for those battling high blood pressure. It also reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis.
Avocado is a superfood that can serve as a snack. It is healthy for the heart. Studies have shown that avocado reduces the blood level of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and increases the level of high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol).
Avocados help the body absorb vitamins such as beta-carotene and lycopene, which are good for the heart.
- Seeds and nuts
Snack on healthy foods like seeds and nuts. Numerous studies have touted the superpower of seeds and nuts when it comes to nutritional value. Seeds and nuts are excellent sources of plant protein. They can help regulate weight.
Nuts like almonds help improve heart health; cashews are good for mental and cognitive health; Brazil nuts help prevent cancer. Generally, all nuts are a great source of protein, healthy fat, and fiber.
Seeds like chia seeds, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds are packed with vitamins and minerals. Seeds and nuts reduce the risk of overweight and obesity and also contain antioxidants that help combat cancer.
You may have heard that wine is healthy for the heart. This is because of the powerful nutrients in grapes (the primary ingredient used for making wine). The skin of red grapes contains resveratrol, a polyphenol.
A few studies have indicated that resveratrol helps protect against retinopathy and diabetic neuropathy. Studies have also shown that it is helpful for Alzheimer’s disease treatment. It reduces mood swings in menopausal women, relieves hot flashes, and helps regulate blood glucose levels.
It is best to fill yourself up with the healthiest foods out there. Superfoods do not give superhuman powers (literally); however, they are among the best food choices you can make. These foods offer high nutritional content, and one can never go wrong with them. They can help with bodybuilding, metabolism, heart health, weight maintenance, etc.