Beef is a great bodybuilding food because of its high protein, cholesterol and saturated fat content, all of which help increase testosterone levels. But red meat becomes even more of a superfood when you choose organic cuts, especially those from grass-fed cattle, which contain more conjugated linoleic acid than traditionally raised cattle. CLA, a healthy fat, helps you shed more bodyfat on top of providing a boost in size and strength. Going organic also provides more omega-3 fatty acids, which will further boost muscle mass and strength. (See the section on salmon for more information on omega-3 fats.) Is buying organic beef a bit more expensive? Yes, but it’s well worth the splurge.
Saturated fat and cholesterol can raise testosterone levels, but too much of these good things can produce size where you don’t want it: namely, around your gut. When you’re craving a nice, juicy steak, select a lean cut such as top sirloin instead of a fatty rib eye. Although it contains less fat, sirloin still provides enough saturated fat and cholesterol to sufficiently feed your muscles.
- Serving Size: 8 oz 90% lean ground organic beef
- Nutrients: 392 calories, 48 g protein, 0 g carbs, 24 g fat
- Value Added: 8 oz serving of grass-fed beef provides 2½ g CLA, more than twice that of conventionally raised beef
This unlikely muscle food is just that for two simple reasons: betaine and nitrates. Beets are rich in both and can give you a significant boost in the gym. Betaine (a.k.a. trimethylglycine) not only enhances liver and joint function but also has been shown to bolster muscular strength and power. Nitrates contribute to the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels to help widen them and allow more blood to flow through. Greater blood flow equals more amino acids, glucose and oxygen to the muscles, which equals more energy in the gym and better recovery. In other words, consuming beets and beetroot juice can make you bigger and stronger.
- Serving Size: 1 cup beetroot juice
- Nutrients: 100 calories, 2 g protein, 23 g carbs, 0 g fat
- Value Added: betaine and NO production
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