7 Surprising Foods that Support Muscle Growth and Definition

As you already know, if you want to grow muscle and increase definition, you must exercise. But exercise is no substitute for a poor diet. For muscle definition, you must lose body fat so the muscles are visible. Most bodybuilders will tell you you have to consume a lot of protein and carbs if you want to build muscle, because carbohydrates fuel muscles and protein increases muscle mass. However, experts now say it is not that simple.

An intriguing new finding is that your body has a mechanism by which is can build muscle even when you do not eat. Experts have learned amino acids and protein are not just building blocks for muscle and tissue. In addition, some amino acids, especially the branched chain amino acids like leucine, also stimulate muscle genes so they grow and build protein. This happens even during periods of food deprivation, as long as those amino acids are present in your bloodstream.

The answer is not a high-carbohydrate diet, which we now know promotes insulin and leptin resistance and ultimately causes muscle wasting. Yet eating more protein than you need promotes high blood sugar, weight gain and stress on the kidneys. It can even promote growth of malignant cells.

Here are seven foods that help you shed fat and tone your muscles.

1. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon – Wild-caught salmon is rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats DHA and EPA. It fights the chronic inflammation that characterizes much poor health. Animal-based omega-3 foods build muscle.

2. Avocado – Avocados are rich in potassium, which maintains your body’s water balance and helps you recuperate after physical activity. It provides healthy monosaturated fats that your body can use for energy. Like olive oil, the fat in avocados help you maintain stable weight.

3. Spinach – This green is high in niacin, zinc, protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, thiamin, folate, calcium and iron. The dietary nitrate in spinach helps produce proteins that boost muscle strength.

4. Coconut Oil – This healthy fat gives you a mix of medium-chain triglycerides (MCIs) such as caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid.

5. MCT Oil – MCT Oil is a supplement that offers medium-chain tryglycerides from coconut oil, or sometimes from coconut oil and less environmentally-friendly palm oil. MCTs are not stored for fat, but are used by your body for immediate energy.

6. Kale – This vegetable offers high amounts of protein and calcium, as well as fiber. Kale contains all nine of the amino acids necessary to form protein, along with nine other non-essential amino acids. It is very high in vitamins K, A and C.

7. Broccoli – Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a naturally-occurring organic sulfur compound that fights cancer. It also increases testosterone levels.

Focus on these foods in your diet to help you build muscle and reduce fat to improve muscle definition.