Although it’s admittedly full of fructose, a natural form of sugar, many fruits have powerful properties when it comes to getting the crucial nutrients you need to build muscle. If you’re a fitness-concerned vegan and have been skipping out on fruit in your diet, let us show you why bananas, avocados, and many other fruits are all deserving of a place on your meal plan.
Why Fruits are Controversial for Bodybuilders
The fact that fruits contain fructose, a form of natural sugar, mistakenly leads many bodybuilders to avoid them entirely. To put a complex process into simple terms, fructose only turns to fat when the liver’s glucose levels are full - the rest of the time it’s used to replenish glycogen levels for the liver. This means that if you limit other sugary foods, the fructose is less likely to turn to fat.Essentially, fruit offers too many useful benefits and nutrients to justify avoiding it.
2 Reasons Fruits are Vital for Vegan Athletes
If you’re an athlete that chooses to avoid fruit, there are strong reasons to reconsider. Check out thesetwo solid reasons why fruits are worth a spot on even the most hardcore athlete’s meal plan:
1. It takes more than just protein to build muscle
Just because fruits aren’t the food group that comes to mind when you think about protein, doesn’t mean they aren’t useful for building muscle. In fact, protein is but one of the ingredients it takes to grow muscle -here are some of the others:
- Vitamins C, B-12, and B-2
Note that those are just the beneficial ingredients in fruit that help build muscle specifically. It’s not even counting ingredients that are useful in other ways, such as fiber.
2. Fruits can be superfoods with unique and rare benefits
Similar to how veggies like spinach are a superfood, fruits like bananas are superfoods as well due to the vast amount of advantages they provide. Some fruits provide numerous positives for your health with remarkably low levels of sugar.
Which Fruits are Ideal for Muscle Growth?
Not all fruits are ideal for fit vegans. But some are and their properties for athletes are too significant to be ignored. It takes more than protein to build muscle, andfruit can often pick up the slack with important nutrients like potassium, fiber, and high amounts of water. Find out which fruits will help you pack on muscle a lot quicker:
Bananas are a controversial fruit for athletes. While they are one of the highest fruits in terms of carbs and fructose, they are also rich in potassium, vitamin C, and magnesium - each of which is vital for bulking up and putting on muscle. Plus, bananas contain an enzyme known as bromelain that is known to boost testosterone. With the carbs to fuel your workout and the building blocks of muscle itself, bananas are a superfood to include in your nutrition plan.
Breaking Down a Banana
Bananas vary in size, but will typically contain about 100 calories each. Within this 100 calories is an excellent supply of iron, copper, magnesium and numerous other vitamins. It’s also rich in fiber which aids weight loss and suppresses hunger and potassium which is directly involved in muscle growth. Testosterone is crucial for bulking up as well, and bananas aid this with the enzyme bromelain which helps increase levels of this powerful hormone.
Try this Vegan Banana Recipe:Frozen Vegan Banana Bites
A fruit that is currently surging in popularity is the avocado. Primarily used in Mexican cuisine and on salads, avocados are considered a genuine superfood for a variety of reasons. A recent study published in Nutrition Journal found that people who regularly eat avocados typically havehealthier body weights and commit to higher quality diets than those who don’t. If you’re slimming down and putting on muscle, make the avocado a regular part of your vegan diet.
Breaking Down the Avocado
The avocado is one of the highest calorie and fattening fruits, although it’s important to note that these are good fats - the monounsaturated type. It’s rare for a fruit to have high levels of fat, so the fact that avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids is remarkable. Avocados also have an extremely rich fiber content, with around 4.5 grams per half. A half an avocado typically contains 109 calories and is rich in many vitamins, including B6, B9, E, and K.
Try this Vegan Avocado Recipe:California Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Dates are underestimated in American cuisine and are often relegated to cereals or trail mixes. However, fresh dates are an undeniable superfood that should not be ignored. Known best for their high fiber intake and for being one of the few fruits that is a source of protein, dates also offer benefits for everything from vision and allergies, to bone health and your nervous system.
Breaking Down the Date
A 100 gram serving of dates contains about 277 calories and 80 carbohydrates, making them a valuable carb-source for vegans. About 2% of every 100-gram serving is protein, and almost 7g of that is dietary fiber. Dates have their own unique properties too, including being rich in antioxidants called tannins which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Try this Vegan Dates Recipe:No-bake Vegan Date Squares
Although prunes are essentially dehydrated plums, they’ve earned a place in the fruit world that’s all their own. A dry and durable fruit that is easy to take on the go, prunes have rich amounts of the nutrients that are needed to build muscle, including iron and potassium. Prunes may have gotten a reputation for being popular among the elderly, but with a massive collection of potent nutrients, perhaps you’ll find room for them in your pantry too.
Breaking Down the Prune
A serving of five prunes has 121 calories, 32.2 grams of carbohydrates, and almost 4 grams of fiber. It shouldn’t be overlooked that prunes are excellent sources of antioxidants either, especially since antioxidants alleviate inflammation in the muscles. Packed with both soluble and insoluble fiber, prunes will help your digestion track work smoothly and effectively.
Try this Vegan Prune Recipe:Vegan Banana Prune Cookies
Best known as a flavor in baked goods and pancakes, blueberries provide a wealth of nutrients for vegan athletes. Their antioxidant properties are second to none, and blueberries are packed with vitamins such as C and K. With benefits that span from brain health to blood sugar control, blueberries are a nutrient-rich fruit that shouldn’t be ignored.
Breaking Down the Blueberry
With some of the best antioxidant properties of any food, blueberries make a significant impact on everything from heart health to aging. Another advantage of blueberries is their low caloric intake - a 148g serving of blueberries, which is about one cup, contains only 84 calories and 4g of dietary fiber. Combined with their phenomenal antioxidant properties, it’s easy to see why blueberries are recommended for a wide range of reasons.
Try this Vegan Blueberry Recipe:Vegan Banana Blueberry Muffins
Part of building muscle is ensuring that fat doesn’t follow and grapefruit is one of the world’s best fruits for that purpose. Featuring a perfect storm of the properties that are ideal for losing weight, grapefruit is extremely effective for shedding pounds. With a name that doesn’t make sense and a sour taste that separates it from other fruits, grapefruits are among the most unique natural foods on the planet. Including grapefruit in your diet regularly will keep you slim while putting on muscle.
Breaking Down the Grapefruit
Rich in vitamin C and containing a large percentage of water per serving, the content of grapefruit makes it virtually perfect for weight loss. Pink and red versions also contain lycopene, a useful but rare antioxidant. Grapefruit and its juice are excellent for lowering cholesterol, preventing cancer, and assisting with weight loss. Rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, grapefruit is one of the best fruits for active vegans.
Try this Vegan Recipe for Grapefruit:Apple, Grapefruit, and Pomegranate Salad
Embrace the Power of Fruit
Fruit types are unique in shape, color, and taste, but most importantly, they have vastly different nutritional properties. By understanding the fruits that can help you in the gym, you’ll realize that it takes more than just protein to facilitate muscle growth. It takes potassium, water, iron, vitamins, and other crucial nutrients to grow muscle - all of which are found in most fruits.