Very often, a lot of vegetarians consider themselves unfortunate when it comes to building muscles because of the common notion that protein is more abundantly found in food items like pork, eggs, mutton fish etc. However, this could easily be the biggest misconception people have regarding nutrition.
Here is a list of 10 vegetarian food items which if taken in required quantity along with a strict workout regimen will help the vegans build muscles just like their meat loving friends.
- Quinoa : It is a rich source of protein, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese and a slow-digesting carbohydrate. It also contains all the nine essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the human body. At the same time, it helps in increasing IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor-1) required for the growth of muscles.
- Cottage Cheese (organic): It contains casein protein, vitamin B12 and calcium. Casein protein is known as the slowest digesting protein and prevents muscles from being used as a source of energy during fast. Therefore it is advisable to take it before going to bed.
- Nuts: There is a wide variety of nuts that can be added in the diet to gain muscles. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashew nuts etc. are some that are beneficial for muscle growth. Almond is considered as one of the highest protein containing nuts along with other nutrients like manganese and vitamin E.
- Milk: Milk contains 20 percent whey protein (fast digesting protein) and 80 percent casein protein (slow digesting protein). Both are considered high quality protein. It also contains 8 essential amino acids required for repair and growth of human body. It is by far the major source of protein for most vegetarians.
- Tofu: It is a soya based product rich in various nutrients like protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, selenium etc. and plays a vital role in muscle building.
- Tempeh: It is a fermented soya product rich in high quality protein and other important nutrients. Protein obtained from tempeh can be easily absorbed by the body in the same way as the proteins obtained from eggs and thus acting as a vital alternative for those who do not have eggs.
- Soy Beans: Three types of product are processed from soy beans. Soy flours, concentrates and isolates. Among these three, soy protein isolate contains the highest amount of protein. It helps in increasing the growth hormone release which helps in muscle recovery.
- Whey Protein: It is a fast digesting protein which generally comes in 3 forms Concentrate, Isolate and Hydrolysate. As it is digested quickly by the body, whey is recommended to take right after the workout for effective muscle mass gain.
- Wheat Germ: It contains iron, zinc, potassium along with protein and fiber. It is also a rich source of arginine, glutamine and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) which makes it a good source of slow-digesting carbohydrate food required before heavy workouts.
- Apples : An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away but also acts as a vital source of polyphenols. It helps to increase fat burning, muscle strength and prevents muscle fatigue. This makes apple a pre-workout carbohydrate source which can help in training harder and longer.