Nutritional Guide to Boosting Your Strength
Exercising is important for boosting a person's strength, but diet and nutrition also play important roles in strengthening the body. Most people start losing muscle mass around age 30, but regular strength training (i.e. lifting weights, resistance bands, push-ups, etc.) can work with a nutritional diet to help build and maintain strength. Research recommends a person's diet is made up of the following:
- Protein: 10-35% of total calories
- Carbohydrates: 50% of total calories
- Fat: 20-35% of total calories
Contrary to some popular beliefs, fats are actually good for the body, as long as the fats are heart healthy. There are a variety of foods that are great for boosting and sustaining energy, helping a person build and maintain strength.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach or kale are low in fat and rich in fiber. These super foods can boost and support the immune system, providing a person energy and better overall health. Additionally, spinach contains vitamins and minerals that boost bone health, and it provides a good source of protein.
Eggs contain a large amount of protein, but what might lesser known is that they also contain vitamins that help to break down food for energy. This gives the consumer more energy they can sustain it longer.
3. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds help reduce cholesterol, improve heart health, and help a person focus. Raw nuts and seeds also contain lots of protein and vitamins that help provide the consumer with more energy and help to build strength in the body. Seeds particularly, are high in Omega-3 fatty acids that help produce and store energy.
4. Peanut Butter
Peanuts and peanut butter are both great options for gaining energy and building strength. Peanut butter contains a large amount of protein and beneficial oils. Peanut butter is a nutritional snack to get a person through the afternoon drag, but it is important to note that there is a nutritional difference between natural peanut butter and more processed peanut butters. Other natural nut butters also have their own benefits.
5. Brown Rice
When choosing between brown and white rice, brown rice is the healthier option. Brown rice is less processed than white rice, and can help regulate blood sugar and help maintain energy levels throughout the day.
Salmon and Tuna are among the healthiest meat options. They contain amino acids which help to boost brain function as well as nervous system health. They are also high in Vitamins B12 and D. The components of fish are useful for boosting energy and reducing fatigue.
7. Red Meat
High quality red meat is full of iron, protein and vitamin B12. These help build muscle and maintain energy. It's recommended that we limit our consumption of red meat to 1-2 times a week, as it can be detrimental to a person's health when consumed in large quantities.
Quinoa is high in protein, fiber, and all amino acids that the body cannot naturally produce. Quinoa is a great way to get sustained energy as its components allow for a slow energy release.
9. Full-Fat Natural Yogurt
Greek-style natural yogurt is high in calcium which promotes bone health and triggers a restful sleep because of the tryptophan it contains. Yogurt is proven to improve gastrointestinal health and the immune system. In addition to these great benefits, yogurt is also high in carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins to help slow down digestion and provide a sustained energy.
Bananas are full of carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin B6 which are all great for boosting energy.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins. These components provide a steady release of energy because they are slow to digest.
12. Coffee & Green Tea
Coffee and green tea both contain caffeine, a known energy booster. However, caffeine can have some negative effects on the body. Green tea has other components that counteract the negative effects of the caffeine, like anxiety and the jittery feeling. This leads to increased focus while also decreasing fatigue.
Apples are high in carbohydrates, fiber, sugars and antioxidants. The antioxidants allow for a slow energy release. Whole apples are the best option to gain all of the benefits.
Water not only keeps a person hydrated, but it can also increase a person's energy levels.
15. Dark Chocolate
The components of dark chocolate help deliver oxygen to the brain and muscles which can be particularly helpful during workouts. It also helps reduce mental fatigue and can help improve a person's mood.
16. Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate is a drink made from the leaves of a plant native to South America. The drink is full of antioxidants and caffeine leading to increased energy. It also might increase focus, mood, and physical activity.
17. Goji Berries
These berries are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They can improve mental performance, increase alertness and decrease fatigue. They are also slow to release energy, leading to a longer lasting energy.
Oatmeal is a whole-grain cereal that provides long-lasting energy. It is rich in vitamins and minerals that help produce energy.
Hummus is high in carbohydrates and fiber. These are both necessary components of building and maintaining energy and strength.
This legume is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It also contains high levels of folic acid and iron that help promote energy production and decrease fatigue. Iron also helps with anemia.
Lentils contain high levels of proteins which help to boost energy levels. They are also full of carbohydrates and fiber and empty out of the stomach slowly, leading to more sustained energy.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy fats and fiber. They provide steady energy levels and are also full of vitamins.
Oranges contain a large amount of vitamin C. Research has shown that oranges can improve physical performance as well.
Strawberries are high in carbohydrates, fiber, and sugars that can enhance energy levels.
Beans contain carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. These antioxidants help fight inflammation and promote energy. Black beans are a good source of folic acid, iron, manganese and magnesium which contribute to high energy production.
Air-popped popcorn is high in carbohydrates and fiber. These produce a steady release of energy. Air-popped popcorn and microwaveable popcorn are not the same when it comes to nutrients, so consumers should research the popcorn before consuming.
High in antioxidants, beets can improve blood flow and increase energy levels. They also contain carbohydrates, fiber and sugar that provide a sustained energy boost.
For more information, refer to the following resources:
- 4 Keys to Strength Building and Muscle Mass
- Top 7 Foods to Increase Strength and Stamina
- 7 Foods that'll Help Boost Your Strength
- 27 Foods that Can Give You More Energy
- Healthy Weight, Physical Activity and Nutrition
- Resource for Nutrition and Fitness
- Natural Bodybuilding: Nutrition and Supplementation
- Nutrition for Athletes
- Nutrition and Athletic Performance
- Nutrition and Sample Meal Plan for Athletes
- Guide to Exercise Nutrition
- 5 Tips to Build Muscle Strength
- Protein Matters
- The Power of Beef's Protein
- Best Foods to Eat for Muscle and Strength