By Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali
I’m pretty sure we all have taken notes on the significance of protein intake, right? I mean, judging by the crazy diets of superheroes like Henry Cavill (Superman), Jason Mamoa (Aqua Man) or Dwayne the Rock Johnson (The Man), it is no doubt that consuming a load of protein has become an ideal dietary factor in getting shredded.
You can gulp down jars of Whey Protein mixed in a shaker cup, eat lean cuts of Beef or Turkey, or 200 grams of chicken every day, any method of madness you choose, protein is unequivocally the de facto element for muscle development. However, despite its significance in our diet, the truth is that protein is not the only contributing factor in getting ripped. Although, we get the pump in our muscles through rigorous training and protein consumption, however, if an appropriate amount of nutrition is not taken into account, then all of our time and effort will be expended to no avail. The key, then, is to understand that the prevention of muscle breakdown is as important as building them up. Therefore, if you’re prepared to get ripped and build real muscles then you’ll just have to consider adding something new to your standard and dreary diet of chicken and vegetables.
I recommend three major foods that you should consider adding to your daily diet, and I’m sure they will come as a surprise to you, but I can guarantee that they will help you get shredded like a superhero by the end of this winter.
Although not a food in the same sense as the others in my list, Extra Virgin Olive Oil has healthy monounsaturated fats that enhance the production of protein and proliferates the rate of protein synthesis into our muscles. Moreover, it aids in improving our workout performance. According to a health study published in the Journal of Acta Histochemica, extra virgin olive oil is found to improve the adaptive response of the body in the circumstances of oxidative stress caused by exhaustive exercises (Musumeci, et al., 2014).
Likewise, Extra Virgin Olive Oil prevents the muscles from breaking down. There is a cellular protein called tumor necrosis factor-a in our body that breaks down the muscle by promoting catabolism in our muscle cells after a workout. Olive Oil acts as an anti-catabolic nutrient and lowers the level of tumor necrosis factor-a, which prevents our muscles to break down after a workout. Another reason for you to add olive oil to your diet is that it helps in reducing your body fat while preserving your muscle. A health study reported that an olive-oil enriched diet can bring about greater fat loss as compared to a lower-fat diet (Flynn, and Reinert, 2010).
If you’re willing to get super strong, then I recommend you start eating beets. These precious gems of the earth, red in their color and deliciously sweet in taste are found to be high in betaine. Betaine (BET) is found to have the ability to strengthen our muscles, add definition to the muscle, and aid in the liver and joint repair (Senesi, et al., 2013). Moreover, a health study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology confirmed that beetroot juice can enhance workout performance. According to the study, 14 athletes drank beetroot juice for 15 days prior to their workout session. During those 15 days, their blood pressure and rate pressure product were observed. The study revealed that Beetroot juice increased the blood plasma nitric oxide levels, and widened the blood vessels for a greater blood flow throughout the body. As a result, the stress on the heart was reduced during an extensive workout session, which allowed the men to do more reps than usual and get a significantly greater muscle pump (Lee, et al., 2015). Since beet juice is a powerful vasodilator, you can add the juice to a pre-workout smoothie, or simply add raw beets to your post-workout salad. Either way, when you’re looking to get ripped and strong, then they are an important part of your diet.
Since we’re already consuming carbs after our workout by eating vegetables and fruits to replenish our glycogen stores, we may as well eat one that aids in the absorption of the tons of protein that we’ve been consuming too. Pineapples are rich in an enzyme, which is called bromelain. Bromelain is found to increase the rate at which our body absorbs dietary protein (Rathnavelu, et al., 2016). As a bonus, Pineapple also helps in reducing inflammation and muscle soreness. Moreover, the Bromelain present in pineapples also plays a significant role in shredding away the excess fat in our body and aid in suppressing our diet.
Pineapple may be a tad tough fruit to peel, but this juicy and pulpy fruit is highly addictive. Toss some fresh and juicy pineapple chunks into your salad or drink a glass of refreshing pineapple juice right after a workout. However, I would not recommend this fruit to diabetics. Moreover, eating too much of this fruit can hamper your workout goals. Just remember that moderation is the key.
So what are you waiting for, add these three foods to your diet and give your body a better chance at maintaining those hard-won muscle gains. Don’t forget to follow and subscribe! See you until next time, Stay Blessed!
Flynn, M.M., and Reinert, S.E., 2010. Comparing an olive oil-enriched diet to a standard lower-fat diet for weight loss in breast cancer survivors: a pilot study. Journal of Women’s Health, 19(6), pp.1155-1161
Lee, J.S., et al., 2015. Effects of chronic dietary nitrate supplementation on the hemodynamic response to dynamic exercise. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 309(5), pp.R459-R466
Musumeci, G., et al., 2014. Effects of dietary extra-virgin olive oil on oxidative stress resulting from exhaustive exercise in rat skeletal muscle: A morphological study. Acta histochemica, 116(1), pp.61-69
Rathnavelu, V., et al., 2016. The potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications. Biomedical reports, 5(3), pp.283-288
Senesi, P., et al., 2013. Betaine supplement enhances skeletal muscle differentiation in murine myoblasts via IGF-1 signaling activation. Journal of translational medicine, 11(1), p.174
– Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali is an MBA/M. phil specialized in Supply Chain Management and the founder of THS. The author has worked as a research analyst and a critical reviewer in the past, and he is a fitness and writing enthusiast. You can follow S. Fauzan Ali on Instagram @saiyedfauzan or visit the author’s Linkedin profile
Follow THS on Instagram @thehealthsph