Bodybuilders are always looking out to try some great foods to accomplish their fitness goals. While working out provides a stimulus for your body to start building muscle, it won’t be able to do so without the raw materials (such as protein) that can only be derived from healthy foods.
So, it’s no wonder that bodybuilding is dependent heavily on your dietary habits.
One of the most popular food options for people looking to build muscle is broccoli. That’s right – the same green, leafy vegetable that you probably avoided a lot during your childhood is now the big thing within the gym community.
But is there any particular reason why bodybuilders, weightlifters, and fitness enthusiasts like to include broccoli-centric dishes in their meal plans?
Let’s find out.
Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Broccoli?
Broccoli is generally a good vegetable for serious bodybuilders because it’s a rich source of micronutrients as well as macronutrients.
There are many other health-related benefits that you can enjoy if you include broccoli as a regular addition to your diet plans.
Let’s discuss the role of broccoli in influencing a bodybuilder’s muscle growth journey.
Alternatively, what are the most important benefits of eating broccoli for gym-goers and bodybuilders?
Broccoli Offers a Balance of Macronutrients and Micronutrients
A rookie mistake that bodybuilders often make is focusing only on their macronutrient consumption and neglecting their micronutrient intake.
While meeting your daily macro (protein, carbs, and fats) can help provide your body with energy and building blocks for muscle gain, micronutrients are equally important in maintaining your overall fitness levels and general well-being.
Deficiencies in micronutrients can often result in various health problems, including anemia, impaired immune system, poor bone health, and frequent bursts of fatigue.
Fortunately, broccoli can provide you with a good balance of both – macros as well as micros. Apart from being a decent source of protein (compared to other vegetables), broccoli also provides nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and folate.
According to a study, Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, which facilitates tissue repair and growth. Vitamin K can help you improve your bone health. Lastly, many pieces of scientific research indicate that folate carries out RBC formation, which is important for the transportation of oxygen and other nutrients through your blood to different muscles.
All of these are highly beneficial for bodybuilders. Therefore, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular food item within the fitness community.
Broccoli Helps Cut Down Calories Significantly
Broccoli is low in calories. To give you an accurate figure, one cup of cooked broccoli (approximately 156 grams) will contain roughly 55 calories, a figure that is lower than many other food items when served in similar portions.
Secondly, broccoli is popular for having a low glycemic index (GI). So, eating it won’t lead to a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels after consumption (as is the case with most food items), preventing chances of hunger pangs and unhealthy food cravings.
Lastly, broccoli is very high in fiber content. So, you’ll experience the feeling of fullness for longer periods. Thus, you’re less likely to consume a lot of calories to extinguish your hunger pangs.
Broccoli Helps in Meeting Daily Fiber Requirements
The daily fiber content that should be consumed by an adult comes to around 25 to 30 grams per day. However, according to many findings, the general population does not even reach half the recommended amount.
A fiber-rich diet can help you attain many functional health benefits that are essential to improving the overall quality of your lifestyle.
One cup of raw broccoli (72 grams) can help you get 1.8 grams of fiber, making it a bit easier for you to meet your target if you include it in your regular meal plan.
Broccoli is a Rich Source of Antioxidants
While analyzing the potential chemical and biological benefits of broccoli, a study led to the conclusion that the high antioxidant capacity of broccoli can help bodybuilders realize their fitness goals.
That’s because the high antioxidant capacity of broccoli can help reduce the toll of oxidative stress and inflammation in your body.
For bodybuilders, primarily those that are into weight lifting, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation is highly important.
Firstly, intense exercises and workouts themselves lead to oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. This increases the risk of muscle damage and Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which can interfere with training and recovery.
So, a vegetable like broccoli that is rich in antioxidants can prove to be a big help for bodybuilders on this front.
Supports Both Bulking and Cutting Phases
Believe it or not, eating broccoli can be an option for people looking to bulk as well as those trying to start their cutting phases.
- Cutting: In this phase, the main aim is to reduce the overall body fat percentage while preserving muscle mass and energy. For this, broccoli is an excellent option as it is a low-calorie food option and is high in fiber content. So, you’ll feel full for longer periods and consume fewer calories, making it easier to achieve a calorie deficit. Broccoli is also a rich source of many vitamins and minerals that can support your overall health and well-being during a period of caloric restriction.
- Bulking: In this phase, the main goal is to build muscle mass and consume more calories than you burn in a day. While broccoli cannot compete against traditional sources of protein like chicken and eggs, it’s definitely the best option in terms of green vegetables that offer an impressive nutrient profile. Broccoli contains many essential elements that can facilitate muscle growth and recovery, making it a great food item for people looking to build muscle. However, it’s low in calories, so you will have to compensate by having a bigger diet to achieve a calorie surplus.
While broccoli is definitely more suited to people who are looking to cut calories, it can also be an effective option for people looking to bulk out.
Eventually, it will all depend on the overall dietary habits of the individual and their activity levels, as broccoli alone cannot be the centerpiece of one’s fitness plan.
Broccoli Has an Impressive Nutrition Profile
One cup of raw broccoli (approximately 74 grams) will give you the following:
- Calories: 30
- Protein:8 to 2.0 grams
- Carbohydrates:8 grams
- Fats: 3 grams
- Fiber: 8 grams
Apart from this, they also offer a good selection of micronutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Beta-Carotene (which is later converted into Vitamin A), folate, iron, calcium, and potassium.
By providing this kind of nutritional value with such a small serving, it’s no wonder that broccoli is a popular food item within the fitness community.
Broccoli Can Reduce Your Bodily Estrogen Receptors
Many people hail broccoli as the natural testosterone defender. Now, what does that mean? Basically, the food item is loaded with some sort of phytochemical called indoles (indole-3-barbinol -I3C).
The chemical is useful for decreasing the amount of estrogen in your body by breaking down and converting it into more beneficial and safer forms. Since estrogen competes directly with testosterone to be accepted by your bodily receptor sites, eating broccoli may actually be beneficial for male bodybuilders.
This is because, in men, high levels of estrogen compared to testosterone in their bodies can lead to decreased libido, reduced muscle mass, and increased body fat. Therefore, regulating one’s estrogen levels should be a priority for bodybuilders.
Broccoli is Versatile and Easy to Prepare
For bodybuilders, finding a food item that is healthy and easy to prepare is a dream come true. Broccoli falls in that category.
It is a highly versatile vegetable that can be used in various dishes, from stir-fires to salads.
Moreover, it’s very easy to prepare and hardly requires any complicated recipes, irrespective of whether you are roasting it, steaming it, or even eating it raw.
Broccoli Tastes Delicious
While this might sound a little controversial, broccoli can actually taste amazing. If you hate it, you’re probably cooking it wrong.
There are many amazing health-friendly recipes available on the internet that you can try out.
Having broccoli as a tasty, fitness-friendly dish can really help you accomplish a lot of your bodybuilding objectives faster.
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Does Broccoli Increase Testosterone?
Yes, broccoli can actually play a part in increasing your free testosterone, allowing your body to keep your libido up and put on some extra muscle.
That’s because the food item is loaded with a chemical compound called indole-3-carbinol. This compound can help your body flush out estrogen by breaking it down into safer forms.
Thus, reduced estrogen levels in your body will mean that a higher number of free testosterone molecules can be accepted by your bodily receptors and used for various purposes.
Is Broccoli Good for Muscle Growth?
Yes, broccoli can prove to be beneficial if your ultimate goal is achieving muscle growth. It is a nutrient-dense vegetable that can supply your body with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals to improve your overall health and facilitate muscle growth as well as muscle repair.
Moreover, broccoli also has many elements with anti-inflammatory properties to aid muscle recovery and reduce inflammation or oxidative stress following workouts.
All of these benefits combined together will definitely help bodybuilders accomplish their goals.
However, it’s important to note that eating broccoli alone won’t help you build muscle. It’s not a rich source of protein, and nor does it increase your caloric intake by a huge margin. So, you need to supplement your broccoli-based meal with other healthy food options and a strict workout routine.
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Eating broccoli is not just a fad within the fitness community. There are many proven health benefits to including broccoli, whether raw or cooked, in one’s meal plans.
While it certainly cannot be the centerpiece of a bodybuilder’s diet plan, broccoli can definitely play a huge part in maintaining high fitness levels and good overall health.