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7 Plant-based Foods to Optimise Muscle Growth and Recovery


The population of vegans is increasing as people are leaning more towards plant-based foods to stay healthy. We can witness the transition happening around among athletes too. There has been a delusion that only meat is the best source of protein. But nutritionists believe that even plant-based food contains abundant nutrients to assist your fitness goals.


Before, during, and after workouts, you need to fuel to boost performance and help recovery. Often when starting, it seems confusing how, when, and what to eat when it comes to a plant-based diet. You will need food to resist muscle soreness, boost endurance, and energy levels. These foods should contain carbohydrates, proteins, calories, minerals, and essential fats. Here is a list of plant-based diets you can try to increase muscle mass and achieve the best out of the workouts.

  1. Nuts as Healthy Calories


Calories are tricky! If you eat less, there won’t be enough energy to work out. If you eat more, you will add muscles along with add fats to your body. Consume healthy calories in the right measures, maybe 10-20% in your diet. In that way, if you are lifting weights and regular with your protein shake, the body will attain lean mass without the fats. Nuts and nut butter are great sources of calories you can add to your diet. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios could be your go-to snack alternatives for the day. You can also try adding coconut milk for an additional boost of calories to your food.

  1. Beans for Proteins


A lot of vegan bodybuilders consume beans to fill up for the proteins, most necessary for muscle recovery. Black beans, kidney, soybeans, pinto, and navy are all rich in proteins and fiber, but low in fats. One cup of cooked beans will give you 12 grams of fiber, which meat would not. Prepare a black bean soup or salads and have them before or after a workout to assist recovery from high-intensity sessions. Studies suggest that proteins also assist in muscle soreness recovery. To help recover muscle pain post-workout, fitness enthusiasts are also incorporating cannabis into their regime. Specifically, cannabis indica strains having high CBD potency can help fight inflammation and pain caused by high-intensity workouts.


  1. Oatmeal for Carbohydrates


Carbohydrates are the fuel for your body if you are going for intense training. Plant-based carbohydrates like oatmeal can give you enough energy and help build muscles. Start your day with oatmeal for breakfast with the addition of coconut milk, walnuts, and honey for sweetness. Grains, brown rice, legumes lentils even are excellent sources of carbohydrates. To avoid gaining body fat, stick to whole, unprocessed foods. Low-glycemic carbohydrates like whole wheat pasta can be an alternative to the unhealthy carb treats.

4. Cruciferous Vegetables for Vitamins and Minerals


Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, arugula are some of the cruciferous vegetables that can help you meet the vitamin and mineral needs for building lean muscles. These are also high in protein and fiber content, making it a full-fledged source of nutrition in one bowl. Nutritionists suggest including more broccoli if you want to build muscles. Cruciferous vegetables contain vitamin D and K that can boost immunity and maintain metabolism. Vitamin K is beneficial in maintaining bone health. It contains vitamin C, which can combat infections.

5. Get your Omega 3 Supplement from Seeds


Essential fatty acids like Omega 3 can help the body in repairing and building muscles. It can boost muscle growth, recovery time, fight inflammation, and improve muscle protein synthesis. Cannabis seeds or hemp seeds are rich in Omega 3s fatty acids. Our body naturally cannot produce these essential amino acids. A study states that Omega 3 supplementation can also assist in maintaining blood pressure and heart rate while cycling.


6. Sweet Potatoes as Soluble Fiber


Fiber is essential for several reasons. It controls appetite, improves insulin sensitivity, and boosts the immune system. That does not directly help build muscles, but assist in better performance. Health professionals consider that there is too much stress on consuming proteins and not fiber. The nutrient has digestive benefits that can help you gain strength and maintain overall wellness. Sweet potatoes are good sources of potassium and fiber. It makes for a great vegan meal, which you can eat as fries, baked, or blends well with plenty of dishes.

7. Fruits for Antioxidants


Fruits, especially berries like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries supply antioxidants. Exercises like aerobics and strength training increase free radicals in the body that can damage tissue cells. Antioxidants balance these free radicals and also helps reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. These are good for the waistline. You can add them to your breakfast meal, prepare fresh juices, or consume them with plain yogurt.




These are some of the best superfoods every active person should consume to gain muscle mass and stay healthy. A plant-based diet might probably have more to offer than a meat-based diet.


About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende