1. Superseeds: flax, chia and hemp
Flax: flax is one of the richest sources of essential fatty acids (EFA) Omega-3 and Omega-6. These fatty acids form membranes around the cells in our body. In addition, flax is rich in fiber, thiamin riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, iron and magnesium. Adding flax seeds to your protein shake, granola or hummus is a fantastic idea. Flaxseeds are essential and well-known among the bodybuilding community. Specifically, the omega-3 acids help our bodies produce more testosterone, which helps shorten recovery time after a workout. Faster recovery means more lean muscle mass and also less muscle soreness. This is just one of flaxseeds many benefits.
Daily recommended amount is 1 tablespoon.
Chia: chia is an ancient seed and also the most well-known seed of all. Chia contains high levels of Omega-3 and 6, antioxidants and plant-based protein. Chia seeds are 20% protein that is essential for building muscle. In 1 oz. (about 28g) of chia seeds, there are 138 calories, 5g of protein, 9g of fat and 12g of carbs. Furthermore, chia seeds are able to absorb 10 to 12 times their weight in water; as a result, you feel full longer.
Hemp: hemp comes from the Genus Cannabis and species Sativa. However, hemp seed contain much lower levels of psychoactive chemical THC. Hemp hearts are nut-like seeds from shelled hemp seed. Hemp seeds are rich in protein, iron, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, riboflavin and essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6. Similarly to the other two seeds, hemp seeds are an amazing source for building muscle, fat-control, boost energy level and many more.
Find flaxseeds and chia in our Grain-Free Protein Superfood Bread loaf or you can purchase them at Phuong Ha in D1, Legumes in Thao Dien or Monsieur Luxe. When you use flax and chia, make sure you grind them for maximum benefits.
Tempeh is a fermented and cooked food made from soybeans. Soybeans are pressed together into patties after being fermented. The beans are held by beneficial probiotic mold used during the fermentation process. Tempeh is high in protein and is cholesterol-free, exactly what bodybuilders want. 100g of tempeh is around 200 calories, with 20 grams of protein and calcium, iron, vitamin B2, B3, B6, etc. Additionally, tempeh contains much more fiber compared to tofu. For all athletes or gym goers who used to be meat eaters and still sometimes “miss” their favourite burgers; consider adding tempeh in your diet due to its versatility. Tempeh is absolutely delicious if cooked right; here are 14 delicious tempeh recipes.
Tempeh has another great benefit: it is a fermented product. Fermentation is a process that involves the breaking down of sugars by bacteria and yeast. Through fermentation, the phytic acid found in soybeans is broken down, helping to improve digestion and absorption.
Touted as a “superfood”, quinoa has become a healthier substitution to white rice and pasta due to its richness in protein. Quinoa can be prepared like rice or barley and is ideal for gym goers. Quinoa provides all essential amino acids and is also considered a complete protein. 1/3 of cooked quinoa contains 6g of protein, 3g of fiber, 2.5g of fat and 160 calories. Additionally, there are 21g of carbohydrates per 100g of quinoa, which is a great source of energy during training. Furthermore, lysine and iron in quinoa help muscle to repair itself.
If you want to build muscle on a plant-based diet, don’t forget to consume the six most healthy nuts. These nuts provide large amounts of protein, carbohydrate, good fat, etc. For example, 100g of peanuts contain 567 calories, 25.8 g protein, 49.24 g fat, 16.13 g carbohydrate, and 8.5 g fiber. In bodybuilding or any other sports, there are always 3 things that all athletes must care about, which are heart health, bone health, muscle health and growth. Slowly but steadily, nuts help you build muscle, improve and protect your heart, strengthen bones and joints and additionally, no “angry and gassy” stomach like with protein powder due to the fact that nuts provide more fiber. You may think that you could simply add a dietary fiber powder supplement to your shake. Sure, you could, however it will be more expensive and from a health perspective, real food is always best; here are 21 reasons to eat “real food”.
Find nuts in all our Energy Balls (Cacao, Coconut and Matcha), our Organic Cashew Cheese, Organic Cashew Yogurt, Grain-Free Protein Superfood Bread loaf, and 100% Gluten-Free & No Added Sugar Chocolate Buckwheat Granola. If instead you’d rather just eat nuts, we recommend Food Passion. And for a special treat, we recommend trying these other 2 incredible nut-based products: Kashew Cheese and Grain Milk.
4. Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are fruits or seeds of a plant family called Fabaceae. They are a great source of plant-based protein and have a number of health benefits such as decreasing blood sugar levels, reducing cholesterol and increasing healthy gut bacteria. Beans and legumes are also beneficial for athletes and are ranked second and third respectively in the 8 best muscle-building foods for vegans and vegetarians list. This is due to their high protein and fiber content, low level of fat, and for having no cholesterol. Include more beans and legumes in your diet and see the difference.
Try our Protein Banana Bread (made with chickpea flour), Classic Hummus and Peanut Butter, or cook your own. You can find cooked and dry beans and legumes at Big C supermarkets; the dry ones are sold both packaged and in bulk so bring your own container to do your bit for the environment!