First up in foods that everyone should be eating are blueberries. Don’t get this confused with blueberry flavored foods or foods that include blueberries in them, i.e. blueberry scones that you might get from Starbucks. While some might argue that blueberries contain a lot of sugar and will make you fat, I would argue that this is absurd. Blueberries are low in calories and also do not spike blood sugar levels – two known factors in weight gain. Full of antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C; blueberries have a great anti-inflammatory response. Not only that, but studies have shown that the nutrients found in blueberries are also beneficial for muscle growth.
Next, is the green veggies that mom always told you to eat. However, not just any greens, but specifically cruciferous vegetables. This includes foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and more. The big benefits of eating cruciferous vegetables is that they contain glucoraphanin which breaks down in sulforaphane when chewed, chopped or cooked. This compound is known to activate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses in the body. Even more interesting, they are actually muscle building foods as well. sulforaphane has been shown to deactivate myostatin production which is a protein that slows your gains by putting the breaks on muscle growth. So, if you want to prevent slow or no muscle growth, cruciferous vegetables are important for you to be eating as part of your diet.
While green foods often get all the attention, orange foods are ones that deserve recognition too, especially when it comes to their health benefits. So, what orange foods should you be eating? Cantaloupe, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, and oranges themselves just to name a few. It’s been shown in studies that eating these orange foods can actually help with fat loss. In fact, an analysis showed a 10% drop in body fat. Now that’s not saying going from 20%-10% but 10% of where you are starting (20%-18%). And if you want to build muscle, orange foods have shown to increase in muscle mass from 1-1.7%. Including these orange foods in your diet is an effective method for building muscle and burning fat too.
This food is one that I’ve talked about in the past that is important to have in your diet for a few reasons. That food is ginger. Ginger has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and is particularly effective in descreasing muscle pain associated with delayed onset muscle soreness. One study showed that 2 grams of ginger a day for 11 straight days decreased delayed onset muscle soreness by a subjectively reported 25%. By decreasing the soreness related to eccentric training, one of the main drivers of hypertrophy, you will feel more recovered and more ready for your next training session. There are also a few ways to include ginger in your diet too; you can take ginger root and grind it up into multiple different recipes, you can make ginger tea, or you can do my favorite method – eating pickled ginger. I like to take pickled ginger and put it on top of my eggs each morning. In conclusion, there is no denying the benefits of ginger and why it needs to be included in everyone’s diet.
The 5th food option that everyone should include in their diet is lean protein. Now, it’s important to note that there is a big difference between lean protein and simply protein. The best hint I have for this food topic is to start with food in it’s natural state; grilled chicken, steak, fish, and, if you are not a meat eater, lentils. Now, how you prepare these foods is a guide for the direction that you are going to want to take it. For example, grilled citrus chicken is likely off to a good start as you are not going to throw something like alfredo sauce all over it. In comparison, you have chicken parmigiana that is not only going to be fried bread crumbs, but smothered in cheese and like contains a hefty does of starchy carbs from pasta included on the side. This is where a protein supplement can really make a difference too.
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