SEARCH BLOG POSTS
What Are the Best Vegetables for Muscle Growth?
Whether you could happily swim in a pool of greens or prefer to think of french fries as vegetables, you probably have produce on your radar in some way. It’s no secret that veggies are an important part of a healthy diet.
However, when it comes to eating for muscle growth, it seems like macros (proteins, carbs, and fats) get all the glory. And hey, they’re important—but they aren’t the be-all and end-all of a bodybuilding diet. In truth, it’s very possible (and wise) to consume plenty of vegetables for muscle gain as well.
If you’re curious about the health benefits of vegetables and want to consume more to build muscles, you’re in the right place. We’ve listed everything you need to know about the best vegetables for muscle growth and overall health. If you have any questions, get in touch with our nutrition team—we have answers!
What Are the Health Benefits of Vegetables?
We could fill a whole book on the health benefits of vegetables. It’s an enormous topic. After all, each vegetable and fruit contains its own unique set of nutrients, medicinal uses, benefits, and rules for preparation.
That being said, there are certainly advantages to consuming more produce overall. People who include a large variety of vegetables in their diets often enjoy:
Lowered Blood Pressure
Several studies have been conducted about the link between vegetables and blood pressure, and the outcomes have been encouraging. Multiple results have shown that an increased vegetable intake leads to a reduction in blood pressure levels.
Better Cardiovascular Health
Vegetables have been proven to have a positive effect on your cardiovascular system. Particularly beneficial are leafy greens (such as spinach or chard) and cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage). Studies show that folks who eat eight or more servings of produce daily have 30% less of a chance of a stroke or heart attack than those who don’t consume much.
Improved Cognitive Abilities
Leafy greens are packed with nitrates, which have been shown to help improve brain function and memory.
Protection Against Certain Cancers
While vegetables alone won’t automatically prevent cancer, studies have indicated that a veggie-forward diet can be a factor in lowering your risk of certain types.
Healthier Blood Sugar Levels
Certain fruit and vegetables, especially those with low starch levels, have a low glycemic load. These low levels can help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Without the natural fibers found in fruits and vegetables, your digestive system can suffer. This can lead to symptoms of IBS, diverticulitis, and overall gastrointestinal discomfort.
Better Vision and Eye Maintenance
While your parents were wrong about carrots making you see in the dark, they were onto something. Plenty of leafy green vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that help reduce the risk of vision-related diseases like cataracts.
Decreased Risk of Diabetes
While there is still much research needed, early trials have suggested that consuming certain whole fruits and vegetables can help decrease the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. However, studies have also indicated that the consumption of fruit juice can actually increase the risk of developing this disease—but these studies weren’t conclusive.
Are Vegetables Good for Building Muscle?
While all of the aforementioned health benefits of vegetables are important, we know that bodybuilders like you have a specific goal in mind: gains! Lucky for you, we have good news: you can absolutely consume certain vegetables for muscle gain.
This is made possible in two ways:
1) Vegetables With Protein
Protein is a muscle-building superhero. However, most people tend to think of it mainly as something found in animal products and legumes. While these food groups offer high levels of protein, they aren’t the only options out there; plenty of vegetables contain levels of it too! While vegetables won’t contain nearly as much protein as meat, eggs, or beans, they can definitely help boost your overall intake.
2) Nitrate-Rich Vegetables
When you consume foods rich in nitrates, such as leafy greens, your body will convert them into nitric oxide. This compound can help your body deliver oxygen to your muscles, thus allowing them to grow stronger and function at a higher level.
Can I Build Muscle With Only Veggies?
Nah. If building muscle is your goal, vegetables are a great way to get there—but they can’t do it alone. Foods with protein are a vital part of every athlete’s diet. Without healthy servings of protein and natural carbs after a workout, your muscles won’t recover and grow as well as they should. This can have a negative effect on your next sesh. That’s why exercise combined with a well-balanced diet of produce, carbs, and protein is best.
While some vegetables do contain protein, it isn’t enough for them to be your only source. For instance, spinach is on the higher end of protein levels for a vegetable, but it only contains about an eighth as much as you would get from eating a chicken breast. So, it is important to consume other sources of protein along with muscle-building vegetables.
Psst—if rehauling your entire diet sounds overwhelming, you can work with a nutritional counselor to find a meal plan that works for your taste and lifestyle.
What Are the Best Vegetables for Muscle Gain and Bodybuilding?
So, what are the best muscle-building vegetables?
In general, leafy greens are your best bet when it comes to muscle-building vegetables. These include spinach, kale, arugula, and lettuce, which all contain proteins and nitrates, making them some of the best vegetables for muscle growth.
Beets, radishes, fennel, and herbs such as parsley are also excellent nitrate sources. In terms of vegetables with protein, the highest levels can be found in peas—though technically, they are legumes! Delicious veggies like artichokes, avocado, mushrooms, kale, brussels sprouts, and asparagus also contain protein. These are all great vegetables for bodybuilding.
How to Incorporate More Muscle-Building Vegetables Into Your Diet
At Jack City Fitness, we know that when it comes to getting in shape, a healthy diet matters. A lot. That’s why our amazing crew of experts includes not only workout coaches but also certified nutritional counselors. Our counselors are well versed in the best vegetables for muscle growth, weight loss, and overall health, and they would love to share their knowledge with you. Together, you can develop an appealing meal plan that includes vegetables for muscle gain. You’ll soon discover that not only are vegetables good for building muscle, but they can also be prepared in fun and delicious ways.
Call (208) 999-1111 today to hear more about our nutritional counseling program. We can also provide information about our Partnership, which allows you to train with our fitness coaches, take a group class, and have 24/7 access to our entire facility. But don’t just take our word for it; come and see us today for a FREE fitness consultation and gym tour. If you like what you see, you can jump right in.
We look forward to meeting you and helping you crush your goals!