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- Medline Plus: Protein
- Harvard Health Publications: Carbohydrates and Health: Not that Simple…or that Complex
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Lifting weights and committing to regular exercise is only half the battle when it comes to getting ripped, or improving your muscle tone. Controlling your caloric intake and choosing healthy, nutrient-rich foods will help your muscles grow and develop. In addition, eating low-calorie foods will help you lose fat under your skin so your muscles become more prominent.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a necessary component of your diet if you want to get ripped. Fruits and vegetables provide your muscles with vitamins and minerals, without the cost of taking in too many calories. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which will help you feel full and eat less. Set a goal to eat at least five servings of fruits or vegetables per day to help you lose body fat so you can get ripped.
Your muscles are primarily composed of protein and water. Thus, eating enough protein is essential to building muscle and getting ripped. Lean meats, such as fish, poultry, turkey and beef are excellent sources of protein. Eat more fish than other meats, because fish contains less of the unhealthy saturated fats and more of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to prevent heart disease. Medline Plus, a National Institutes of Health online medical encyclopedia, states that you should consume two to three servings of protein per day 1. A serving of lean meat is the equivalent of a deck of cards.
Include a serving or two of legumes per day to meet your daily protein needs to get ripped. Legumes, or nuts, beans, seeds and peas, are also high in protein. An additional benefit of legumes, in contrast to meats, is that legumes are high in fiber, which promotes digestive health and weight loss. A serving of legumes is the equivalent of 1/2 cup of dried beans. Combine cooked beans with brown rice or pasta to make a healthy meal that will promote muscle growth.
Complex carbohydrates will provide the fuel you need to make it through intense workouts that will help you get ripped. Complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, brown pastas and whole-grain cereals, are high in fiber, which allows a steady breakdown of the carbohydrate. Because the carbohydrate is digested slowly, your intestine will allow a steady release of glucose, or energy, into your blood stream. Simple carbohydrates, such as white rice and white pastas, are low in fiber and cause a quick spike in blood sugar, which can lead to a quick, unhealthy drop in blood sugar levels. About 50 percent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. Do not overconsume carbohydrates, or you may gain weight.
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