While working out is an essential factor to achieve that ultimate bodybuilding goal, a balanced diet is just as important. When we think of diet for bodybuilders, the first thought that comes to our mind is protein. Sure, protein, along with carbohydrates and fats, are important to build body mass. But we often look past vegetables and how essential they are on a bodybuilder’s diet.
Vegetables are a rich source of necessary vitamins and nutrients. Some of them can even be a healthier substitute for meat with higher protein content.
Below are the best bodybuilding vegetables that you should include in your everyday diet.
1. Mung Bean Sprout
Just like other plants that belong in the legume family, mung beans are good sources of plant protein. Aside from its high protein content, mung beans are also high in fiber and low in calories and fat. In an ounce of Mung beans, you will get 7 grams protein, 5 gram of fiber, 001gram/negligible fat, and 97 calories.
Mung beans are also rich with other essential amino acids, such as leucine, valine, and isoleucine. When these are combined with whole grain plants, they make a “complete protein” that can easily be absorbed by your body.
Mung Bean Sprout Meal Preparation
You can make a simple mung bean sprouts salad recipe.
- Wash the mung bean sprouts thoroughly and remove any bad ones or any roots.
- Rinse the mung bean sprouts with boiling water for 1 minute.
- Remove and rinse in cold water for another 1 minute. Remove any excess water.
- Mix with your preferred sauce and serve.
Broccoli is used in a variety of cuisines and dishes. I guess it’s safe to say that it’s one of the most popular vegetables all over the world. It’s also among the most favorite greens by bodybuilders. It is rich in antioxidants and fiber, as well as low in carb.
Broccoli is also a good detoxifier. It contains certain amino acids, sulfur, and vitamin C which help flush toxins and radicals from our body.
Other benefits of broccoli are:
- Lowers the risk of cancer and prevents aging;
- Aids in digestion;
- Lowers the risk of heart disease; and,
- Help boost the immune system.
Broccoli Meal Preparation
Some people eat it cooked, while others munch on them raw. You can also steam it if you want a softer texture yet preserving all its nutrients.
You must be wondering why Popeye loves spinach so much. Well, he was not wrong when he said that spinach is good for the muscles.
Spinach is rich in nutrients, such as iron and calcium which helps in increasing your strength. Its chemical content speeds up your body’s ability to convert protein into muscle mass. It is also rich in vitamins A, C, and K which are helpful in making you feel fuller for longer. It also keeps your mind alert as it boosts your brainpower.
Spinach Meal Preparation
Preparing spinach is pretty easy. You can either steam it, blanch it, or saute it in a pan.
The popularity of kale has been steadily increasing over the past few years. This nutrition powerhouse is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients needed by the bodybuilders.
Kale is a rich source of copper and fiber. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, iron, manganese and myriad phytonutrients.
Kale Meal Preparation
Just like with spinach, you can also steam or sautee it. You can also toss it in your salad or whip up your kitchen skills and make your own baked kale chips.
There’s a reason why your mother keeps on putting peas on your plate when you were a child.
Peas may be small but they are huge when it comes to nutritional content. They are high in lutein, zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, protein, and fiber. These are the essential nutrients needed by bodybuilders to build muscle mass and recover from muscle pain.
Below are the other health benefits of peas:
- Help you maintain a healthy weight;
- Lower the risk of stomach cancer and heart disease;
- Boost your immunity;
- Has anti-aging quality;
- Prevents arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease;
- Lower blood sugar level;
- Regulate bowel movement.;
- Reduce bad cholesterol; and,
- Promote healthy bones.
Peas Meal Preparation
Don’t boil peas. Instead, they are best prepared as sauteed.
6. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes have always been a part of a bodybuilder’s daily diet as they are a good source of carbohydrates. With the amount of energy they give, bodybuilders can spend hours at the gym without feeling tired and hungry.
Aside from being a good source of energy, sweet potatoes are also loaded with fiber and have fewer calories. They are also rich in potassium which plays a key role in nerve function, electrolyte balance, and muscle control.
Sweet Potato Meal Preparation
There are plenty of ways on how to cook sweet potato. Some just simply boil them while others bake or roast them.
7. Bell Pepper
Vitamin C is an important part of a bodybuilder’s diet because it strengthens your immune system. When you’re healthy, you take fewer breaks from training.
Bell pepper is a rich source of vitamin C. They are also packed with vitamin A and E. They are also low in calories which is essential if you are watching your weight.
Bell Pepper Meal Preparation
Bell peppers are versatile in the kitchen. You can add them to any food where vegetables are included. You can dice them and add to your ground meat for burgers, chop them and add to your grain or leafy salads, or simply add them to your omelets.
If you’re looking for a healthy snack or side dish, edamame is your perfect pick. This vegetable is packed with soy protein which is essential in building muscles. You get about 22 grams of soy protein in every cup of edamame. They are also packed with leucine which helps muscle growth.
Edamame Meal Preparation
You can boil or steam edamame. You can also combine them with your choice of meat.
If you want to keep your fat intake and build muscles, it’s important that you watch your diet. By adding these vegetables to your daily food intake, not only you are eating healthy but you are also eating towards your body goal.
The 8 Best Bodybuilding Vegetables. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bodybuildingfoodandnutrition.com/the-8-best-bodybuilding-vegetables/
Smith, C. et.al. (2019). The Most Nutritious Fruits And Vegetables. Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-most-nutritious-fruits-and-vegetables.html
South, C. (2018). Vegetables: The Unliked Heroes. Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/value_of_vegetables.htm
Spano, M. (2017). Athletes Need Their Veggies: 3 Vegetables You Need To Eat. Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/athletes-need-their-veggies-3-vegetables-you-need-to-eat.html