When you're trying to build muscle, it's important to do it right so you'll see results and not get discouraged, especially if it's the first time you've set off on this type of fitness endeavor. The best foods are those high in protein and low in fat, because protein is the main macronutrient that builds muscle mass. Here are some of the top foods to include in your diet for building muscle:
- Eggs: These small but mighty spherical wonders are a powerhouse of nutrition. The whites are low in fat and very high in protein, which is why so many people are a fan of straight egg white omelets. But don't discount the yolks! They contain vitamins D, B6 and B12, E, folate, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin and zinc, and they also contain plenty of protein. Calorie for calorie, eggs have the highest biological value when it comes to protein intake, making them a true, underrated superfood.
- Salmon: Not only is this lean fish a great protein machine, it also improves heart health with omega-3 fatty acids. These are also important because they improve your recovery time after a major workout by decreasing the muscle-protein breakdown that occurs. Omega-3s have been shown to potentially reduce fat accumulation as well.
- Quinoa: This super grain has had a drastic rise in the popularity in the fitness community in the past few years, and for good reason. Quinoa contains essential amino acids and complex carbs, which give you sustainable energy to make it through an intense workout. The high fiber content in this nutritious grain is a great fat-buster.
- Yogurt: You'll find an excellent combination of protein and carbs here. It's not necessary to eat plain yogurt either. However, you also don't want to buy yogurt that has too much added sugar, but the types with fruit on the bottom provide a good boost of energy from insulin to keep a protein breakdown from occurring after you work out. Pack in the protein – nearly 20 grams – with Greek yogurt.
- Almonds: These crunchy nuts contain plenty of alpha-tocopherol, or vitamin E, which is an antioxidant believed to prevent free-radical damage and thus promote muscle healing. Grab a handful for an easy, high-protein snack.
- Water: Drinking enough water for muscle growth should be a no-brainer. Water keeps the entire body healthy and functioning properly.
Even though they’re solid, bones are dynamic, living tissue, made mostly from collagen and calcium phosphate, a mineral that hardens bone exterior. But as you age, existing bone breaks down faster than new bone is made, increasing risk of osteoporosis, a condition that reduces bone density and raises chance of fractures. Support your skeleton at any age with these expert suggestions.
Pump up protein
Collagen, a certain type of protein, forms bones’ scaffolding, enabling them to withstand stress. If you’re protein deficient, bones can become brittle, leading to breakage no matter how much calcium they contain because the body makes collagen from amino acids, protein’s building blocks. Get 15 percent to 25 percent of your daily calories from various protein sources. Good choices include organic, grass-fed buffalo; free-range eggs; and sprouted legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Limit acidic foods
Foods common in poor diets (pizza, white bread, potato chips, sweets) promote an acidic body environment. To achieve and maintain a healthy, neutral blood pH, your body will scavenge important minerals like calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and silica from more alkaline tissues, such as bone, which weakens them. Limit acidic foods like processed foods, sugar, grains, dairy, and caffeine or alcohol, and increase pH-balancing vegetables like zucchini and cucumber.
Watch calcium intake
Calcium isn’t the only player in bone density; in fact, many people actually have too much calcium in their bodies, which can contribute to kidney stones, joint pain, and possibly heart disease. Vitamin K2 regulates excess calcium deposits and supports bone integrity. Try 100 mcg vitamin K2 per day.
Weight-bearing exercises activate bone cells called osteoblasts, which form new bones. Climb stairs, hike, bike, or run for at least 30 minutes every day. Walking uphill is also a safe alternative if you cannot do high-impact activity. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, exercise with a physical therapist’s guidance.
The hormones parathyroid, estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol all influence bone health. When one hormone is deficient, it causes a domino effect that imbalances other hormones, diminishing calcium absorption and deteriorating bones. If you’re a menopausal woman or a man with unusually low energy levels, work with an endocrinologist to get your hormone levels tested and develop a comprehensive hormone balance plan.[box]THE WRINKLES-BONES CONNECTION
Everyone gets wrinkles, whether from sun exposure, processed foods, or ageing. But research from the Yale School of Medicine shows deeper wrinkles may also indicate lower bone density, increasing fracture risk. Why? Skin and bones share the same building block proteins, including collagen, which keeps skin taut.
The Fix: Take 2,000 mg collagen (including types I and III) daily and eat foods containing lysine, an amino acid that helps your body build collagen and absorb calcium. Lysine-rich foods include fish, egg whites, and legumes. For overall skin health and wrinkle prevention, also opt for free radical-fighting fruits and vegetables, along with healthy oils such as alive oil and flaxseed oil.[/box] [hr]
If you've got a major sweet tooth, keeping candy bars, cake, cookies and ice cream out of your diet can be extra difficult. While everything in moderation is key, simply replacing some of your favorite sweets with a food that's a bit more healthy for you can make all the difference. So, instead of enjoying an after-dinner milkshake this Friday night, why not treat yourself to a Naturade Pea Protein shake?
What's Good Inside
The main ingredient in Naturade Pea Protein is – you guessed it – peas! The protein is made from yellow peas, more commonly known as split peas. Even if you've never been a fan of split pea soup, it's likely that you'll love this protein shake mix. Flavored with all-natural vanilla, this drink is as tasty as you'd expect to find a vanilla shake at a local soda fountain. In addition to its sweet, all-natural taste, Pea Protein is also chock-full of essential amino acids – those amino acids that our bodies don't naturally produce, and must be part of our diet.
What's Left Out
Sometimes, what's left out of the ingredients is just as important as what is included in them. Naturade's Pea Protein contains no aspartame. Often sold under the names NutraSweet or Equal, aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is 200 times more sweet than natural sugar. However, several studies have linked the substance to several diseases, including cancer, diabetes and even birth defects.
If you're lactose intolerant or allergic to gluten or soy, you're also in luck with these shakes – this protein mix is completely void of soy, dairy and gluten, and is free of cholesterol, so feel free to drink up! It's considered hypoallergenic – and honestly, how many foods can claim that?
Here are a few other things that you won't find in Pea Protein:
• No animal products. Pea Protein is completely plant-based, so whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or just like to limit your meat intake, this drink will help boost your daily protein.
• No GMOs. Although the word is still out as to whether GMOs are safe for human consumption, Naturade has made its own verdict and uses only non-GMO peas in its recipe.
• No colors or preservatives. The rich taste of Pea Protein is completely natural, right down to its color.
Doctors often warn vegans and vegetarians about the importance of getting enough protein, but having a good protein intake isn't as simple as eating a steak every now and then. The truth is that even the most avid meat eater can have too little protein in their diet, while some vegetable lovers may have too much! There are pros and cons to a diet that's high in vegetable protein as well as one that's high in animal protein, so here's what you need to know about both of these lifestyles.
Most muscles and organs are made up of proteins, as protein is responsible for nearly all of the processes that occur in the body. The body doesn't store protein, which is why it's so important to ensure that you're getting enough in your diet each day.
According to Mother Nature Network, protein is made up of amino acids, which our bodies break down to form new proteins. From there, protein allows us to build cell and muscle tissue in our bodies. It also helps with tissue repair in the event of an injury, keeps you feeling energized and contributes to healthy hair, skin and nails. The key difference between animal and vegetable protein is in their amino acid profiles and the rate at which our bodies can absorb amino acids and put them to use.
Because animal protein is more similar to protein found in the human body, it is used up more rapidly than those found in plants. Protein that comes from animals is considered to be more complete, because it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs to function effectively.
But despite these proteins' completeness and compatibility with the human body, there are risks associated with animal proteins. They can be high in cholesterol and fat – especially saturated fat – and a healthy diet shouldn't contain too much of either. Many animal proteins are also high in sodium.
Veggies are great because they're low in calories and fat, and packed with vitamins and minerals - but most don't contain nearly as much protein per serving as meats do. In addition, the proteins that they do contain are less complete than those found in animal meat, meaning that they don't contain all of the various amino acids that the body requires.
However, there are vegetable products that are high in protein and can act as a great substitute for meat in most vegan and vegetarian diets. FitDay reported that tofu and other soy-based products actually do contain all the essential amino acids, and can therefore be a protein-packed alternative to red meats. Additionally, lentils and other legumes are a well-rounded snack that's high in protein, iron and fiber. Beans and peas are both versatile vegetables that are full of protein and vitamins like folate and zinc that aid in cell growth. Artichokes are another veggie that's full of protein and fiber and low in calories, making them a great choice for those who don't get a lot of animal protein on a daily basis.
Finding a balance
Vegetarians and vegans need to ensure that they're getting a variety of different vegetable proteins in their diet, including nuts, legumes and grains but also fruits and vegetables. This ensures that your body is getting all of the various amino acids it needs to perform at its peak.
For meat eaters, it's important to strike a balance between animal and vegetable protein. It's a good idea to limit your intake of red meat, as it's higher in cholesterol and fat, and instead opt for fish or poultry. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike should also consider a protein meal replacement like VeganSmart All-in-One Nutritional Shake or a healthy protein-rich snack like pea protein powder to ensure that they're getting enough.
Protein is the building block of all the tissue in the body and may help to promote the growth of muscle. The right amount of protein may help curb hunger and can help you reach your fitness goals and get to the body weight you desire. However, there are more ways to consume protein than just through lean meats. Here are a few other ways to up your protein intake and get you on your way to better overall health:
Incorporating a protein powder into your diet is one of the best ways to increase the amount of protein your body is getting each day. One way of doing this is by making yourself a protein meal replacement. Naturade Total Soy is a meal replacement powder, available in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors, that boasts an amazing taste and contains dietary fiber and protein. According to the Food & Drug Administration, 25 grams of soy protein daily added to a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. This powder is available in a tasty shake and provides an excellent source of protein.
Another easy way to amp up your protein intake is through Naturade Pea Protein Powder. This plant-based protein is derived from yellow peas and provides you with nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins and help to support our bones, muscles and connective tissues.
One way to start your morning off with a boost of protein is by eating eggs. This is a food that is so versatile and so easy to fit into your diet. You could use eggs as a main dish, make egg-based casseroles, egg salad sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, etc. You could even make desserts made with eggs like custard, rice pudding, cream puffs and some cakes.
Nonfat cottage cheese
Nonfat cottage cheese not only has protein, it has bone-building calcium as well. This protein-packed food pairs great with fruit for added antioxidants and can be cooked into scrambled eggs, casseroles or pasta for a creamier texture.
Milk and soy milk
We all know that milk helps to build strong bones and its protein helps to rebuild muscles. Fit Day suggested drinking a glass of milk after exercise to replenish your muscles and help them to recover after a tough workout. You could also opt to pair your milk with dinner. If you find this hard to fit into your diet, try making soups and oatmeal with milk instead of water for a sneaky way to fit in some protein.
Many people in today's fast-paced world don't have enough time to plan out their meals, and their efforts to find foods that are quick and easy often mean that they end up eating something fried and greasy. Luckily, there are many delicious "superfoods" that can aid in weight loss while helping you stay healthy. Many of these foods take little (or no) time to prepare, so they're perfect for healthy eaters on the go.
Many people are surprised to learn that avocados are healthy because they're so high in fat. Luckily, it's the good kind of fat – monosaturated fat – which can actually help your body maintain lean muscle tissue.
2. Soups with broth
While a heavy chowder or bisque won't help you shed pounds, a light, broth-based soup can be a great weight loss food. They're low in calories and high in vegetable nutrients, keeping you healthy and fit while getting your body the vitamins it needs.
Blueberries are a low-calorie, antioxidant-rich snack that's delicious to boot. Plus, they're bite sized, which makes them great for travel or as a part of your lunch at the office.
Like blueberries, apples are a great superfood because they're so compact – you can throw one in your backpack, gym bag or briefcase without worrying about Tupperware or plastic bags! They're low in calories and packed with fiber, and they may even help to prevent the buildup of belly fat.
5. Hot peppers
Not for the faint of heart, hot peppers – especially chili peppers - contain compounds called capsaicinoids that give them their fiery flavor. But in addition to their spicy taste, capsaicinoids have anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy effects. If you can take the heat, give chili peppers a try.
That instant stuff won't do you too much good as it's chock full of sugar and calories, but old-fashioned, steel-cut oats are rich in nutrients and fiber that can help you lose weight.
7. Protein shakes
If you're looking for a tasty meal that's also easy to make, try a shake! Packed with protein that can keep you lean and fill you up, a protein meal replacement can be a tasty choice for breakfast or on your way to the gym.
Eating salmon is a great way to improve your heart health. The fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are one of the good fats that can lower cholesterol. Omega-3's are missing from many people's diets, and eating salmon can be a great way to fix that.
9. Nuts and seeds
Getting a little hungry between meals? Reach for some nuts or seeds. Raw, unsalted nuts are a healthy snack that can also be extremely satisfying and filling. You can also add a tablespoon of chopped nuts to many meals – a salad, for example – for a flavorful treat that's full of protein.
10. Green tea
It's always pleasant to unwind with a mug of tea, and green tea is well known for its antioxidant and anti-aging properties. But that's not all it has to offer – this particular type of tea contains catechins, which can boost metabolism and help you lose weight.
It's never good to start a work out on an empty stomach. With no food in your system, you'll have no energy to get you through the duration of your exercise. However, everyone works out at different times in the day. Some are early risers, while others are night owls and enjoy breaking a sweat in the later portion of the evening. The time you work out can help dictate what you should be eating before each workout.
If you're the kind of person that likes to roll out of bed and immediately slip into some running shoes, it's important you hit the kitchen first. But stray from a big meal of pancakes, sausage and eggs. Eating a full breakfast isn't ideal. Stick to a very light snack filled with protein and easily digestible carbs. Meal replacement smoothies are a great way to get some energy without being overly full. Try this protein meal adjusted from FitSugar for a delicious breakfast that won't slow you down during your workout:
Vanilla Almond Smoothie
Ingredients: 1/2 banana, 1/2 vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 scoop Naturade Total Soy Vanilla, ice, a dash of cinnamon and 1-2 drops of stevia.
Directions: Combine all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. This recipe makes one serving.
Some like to take their lunch break to work out at the office or head on over to the gym for a half hour or so. If you fall into this group, start by drinking plenty of water throughout the morning. This will keep you hydrated and full so that you're not tempted to eat a large lunch before working out. Keep it small and simple, like a whole-wheat bagel with jam, which is easy to digest and a great way to fuel your workout. It's best to eat 45 minutes to an hour before working out. If you exercise on a full stomach, you may feel sluggish and not get the results you're looking for.
Days can be busy, which leaves only the evening for you to get your workout in. This means you'll be breaking a sweat around dinner time. Dinner is often the largest meal, but if you're planning on exercising afterwards, make sure you don't overeat. One of the best dinners to have before a workout is brown rice with chicken. It's a simple dish that sits well in the stomach and has plenty of carbs and protein. Beans and lentils are also a good pre-workout snack and a great source of energy. Just remember to keep your portions small.
Whether you're a vegetarian or a meat-eater going straight to the vegan lifestyle, there are things you need to know in order to make the transition a smooth one. It's important to know what you're getting yourself into and what to expect if you're going to succeed in this diet and lifestyle choice. Here are some of the most vital things to consider before you make the jump to becoming a vegan:
What does a vegan diet include?
Vegans exclude all animal products, even dairy and eggs. This means that vegans largely rely on fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. There are also plenty of protein powders out there like Naturade's Pea Protein powder that are vegan-friendly and allow dieters to enjoy a cool, sweet and tasty shake.
Vegan doesn't always mean healthy
Many people assume that making the switch to a vegan diet means that they will be on a strict regimen of healthy foods only, which will help them to shed the pounds. However, there are a lot of processed vegan foods out there that are filled with unhealthy ingredients. You'll be able to maintain a healthy diet as long as you stick with simple, whole foods.
Don't get down on yourself
When making this diet and lifestyle change, you can't expect to adapt easily and right away. There are going to be certain things that you'll have to get used to and plenty of bumps along the road. Sometimes, it can take as long as several years to go vegan, whether it's due to lack of knowledge or not having the right ingredients to whip up dinner. Megan Salisbury, a 33-year-old social work student in Phoenix, told the New York Times that she prefers a vegan diet but can only really manage it about 75 percent of the time. Things like limited options in the cafeteria and pricey food choices tend to hold her back.
You'll have to learn to alter cooking techniques
Vegan ingredients and cooking techniques are different than those for meals. Substitutions like oil-based spreads, chia seed eggs or nutritional yeast can deliver an unexpected nutty or cheesy flavor to the dish that you didn't expect. It takes time to learn what ingredients and substitutions work best and which should be left out.
Support is everywhere
There are so many individuals who are making the jump into veganism, and the web is filled with individuals who are willing to support you and hold your hand on this journey to a new diet and lifestyle. Thanks to everything from books, movies and online forums that share delicious vegan dishes, it's easy to find a helping hand wherever you go.
With beach season dangerously close, everyone is looking to tone and tighten. But it's going to take more than cutting back on the sweets and going for a run every once in awhile to achieve the results you're looking for.
Men and women tone their muscles differently because, typically, women tend to have more fat cells than men do in their thighs, hips and bottoms. Conversely, men's stomachs are more likely than women's to accumulate fat cells.
Body fat comes from the total number of fat cells in your body and the size of these cells. The human body has about 30 billion fat cells, but they are often not evenly distributed. When people lose weight, those fat cells simply become skinnier.
One of the best ways to start depleting those fat cells is by adding some strength training into your exercise routine and getting more protein into your diet, whether it's through protein powders or meal replacement shakes. By building muscle, you'll be burning more calories and be getting closer to that dream body of yours. As a general rule for both men and women, it's important to start off with an intensity you're comfortable with.
For your arms…
Tricep dips: Using your own body weight, use a chair or a bench to hold yourself up with your elbows locked. Lower yourself slowly down until your elbows are bent and reach a 90-degree angle. Keep your head straight as you press up to the starting position.
Chin ups: This exercise really works your biceps. Find a sturdy bar and hang onto it with your palms facing toward you and let yourself hang. Pull yourself up and reach your chin over the bar.
For your core…
Bicycles: Laying on your back, make sure your lower back is pressed to the ground. Place your hands behind your ears, lift your feet off of the floor and elevate your knees above your hips. Complete the exercise by touching your right elbow to your left knee, followed by your left elbow to your right knee. The exercise should be a continuous movement.
Vertical leg crunch: Lay on your back with your lower back pressed to the ground. Place your hands behind your ears, making sure your elbows are straight out to the side and not in view. Extend and lift your legs straight up over the hips with a slight bend in the knees. Keeping your eyes focused on the ceiling, lift your torso toward your knees and slowly release down.
For your legs…
Squats: This exercise tones your thighs. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bending your knees, lower your rear end toward the ground. As your knees near a 90-degree angle, exhale and push yourself back up to the starting position. Make sure your knees never go over your feet as you complete the exercise.
Leg lifts: You can easily compete this exercise right in your own home. Lay on your right side on a mat and rest your elbow on the ground. Kick your right leg up toward the sky and slowly lower it down to the starting position. Once you've completed the appropriate amount of reps, switch sides.
Looking at nutrition labels, you may always see protein, but you may not have a good idea of the role that it actually plays in food as well as in your body. There are plenty of reasons out there that may convince you to start paying attention to how much protein you're consuming. According to the Institute of Medicine, adults should get a minimum of .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day – that adds up to about 58 grams for a 160-pound adults. The amount your body needs truly depends on factors like sex, age, height and weight. Here are just some amazing things that protein can do for your body:
Maintain a healthier weight
Exercise and staying away from fatty foods can only do so much when it comes to maintaining a desirable body weight. Protein is really what helps to keep your weight down. In fact, starting off the day with a protein-packed breakfast like eggs, lean beef or a smoothie can help you keep the weight off. Many are under the assumption that consuming foods high in protein will only lead to too many calories consumed, causing the body fat to increase. But when eating the best sources of protein, like lean fish, meat, dairy and beans, you'll feel fuller longer and be less likely to overeat later. Protein takes longer to leave your stomach, which causes the fullness. The moment you consume protein, your body gets to work on digesting, metabolizing and using the protein, which means you burn more calories processing them.
Start your morning off with a protein-packed smoothie. Add in your favorite fresh fruits and a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy for plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep going throughout the day. You could also add this protein powder to virtually any food, such as burgers, potatoes or muffins.
Promote heart health
Meatless sources of protein like nuts, legumes and soy foods have all been shown to lower cholesterol levels because of their combination of fiber and heart-healthy phytochemicals. Naturade Total Soy is a great source of protein that has been shown to reduce cholesterol in over 40 clinical studies. With a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, you may reduce your risk for poor heart health. When choosing protein, opt for low-fat options like lean meats, skim milk or other foods with high levels of protein.
Whether you're an athlete looking to bulk up or simply wish to look a bit more toned, protein is what's going to help you reach your goals. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are used by the body to build new muscle. If you don't consume enough protein in your diet, your muscles can repair and continue to build and your body will begin to break down the muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the less fat you'll see on your body. After an intense workout, grab a meal replacement shake to help your muscles to grow.