18 Foods That Promote Muscle Growth and Definition

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If you’re looking for muscle growth and definition, there’s no getting around exercise. However, you cannot exercise your way out of a poor diet, and when it comes to muscle definition, one of the keys is to lose body fat, or else you will not be able to see the muscles in the first place.

The common belief is that if you want to build muscle, you need to eat lots of protein and carbohydrates because carbs fuel your muscles and protein builds them up. However, the evidence that has emerged over the past several years shows us it’s not that simple.

One particularly intriguing finding is that your body has a mechanism that allows it to build muscle even when deprived of food. As it turns out, amino acids and protein serve not just as building blocks for tissues and muscle.

Certain amino acids — most notably branched chain amino acids like leucine — also signal muscle genes to grow and to build protein, and they do that even during times of food deprivation as long as these amino acids are circulating through your blood stream.

Moreover, research reveals that high-carbohydrate diets are a disaster for most people, as they promote insulin and leptin resistance, which actually in turn promotes muscle wasting.

Similarly, eating more protein than your body actually needs — which is usually far less than most people are eating, whether they’re athletes or not — may promote elevated blood sugar, weight gain and kidney stress, and may even stimulate cancer growth. I’ll discuss suggested dosage recommendations further below.

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