I’ve been thin for most of my life. I have what you call “a fast metabolism” and it has been difficult for me to gain any weight at all. I’ve tried eating lots of food, going to the gym, sleeping too much, drinking soda and just about anything I could think of to gain some muscle mass. Lately I’ve started just eating more nutritious food and now it’s as if I’m gaining weight every day. Some of the foods that I’ve found are especially nutritious and have helped me to gain weight are
- Sunflower seeds – High in protein and fats, sunflower seeds contain high levels of vitamin E and zinc which are potent anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals such as lone oxygen molecules.
- Chia seeds – Not only are chia seeds a complete protein, offering a balance of all the essential amino acids, they’re also high in many nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are important for many cellular processes including brain cell operation.
- Pumpkin seeds – High in zinc, pumpkin seeds have been used traditionally to treat all kinds of things, from enlarged prostate to parasites. I like to know exactly why something works, and all I really know is that pumpkin seeds contain high levels of several important nutrients including zinc, which is a very important mineral for the human body.
- Peanuts – Peanuts are not a complete protein, but they do provide lots of healthy protein, fats and fiber. Peanuts also contain some of the highest levels of fat soluble anti-oxidants, which are very important and very beneficial for growth and for protecting cells from damage.
- Flax seeds – Along with chia, flax is one of the few foods that can provide high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are very important to the human body and have been shown to have a wide range of positive effects, from reducing inflammation to improving cognitive ability and mental clarity.
- Yogurt/Kefir – Yogurt and kefir are fermented dairy products that provide lactic acid bacteria. The lactic acid bacteria are beneficial for the digestive systems, which is what absorbs nutrients from your food. It just makes sense to help the digestion if you want to gain weight and fermented products are generally beneficial for your digestion.
- Chickpeas – High in fiber and protein, chickpeas also contain trace levels of many other important nutrients. Chickpeas also make a pleasant addition to smoothies since they contribute a creamy texture similar to bananas, but without all the fruit sugar.
- Moringa leaf powder – Moringa leaves are extremely nutritious and contain a complete balance of amino acids. Moringa leaves are so nutritious that they can be considered an organic
- Banana – Gaining weight is about giving your body protein, fats and carbohydrates so that it has lots of calories that it can convert into muscle or fat tissue. Bananas provide really great carbohydrates and plenty of other important nutrients as well.
Cooking foods with high protein levels tends to improve their digestibility, so that more protein is absorbed from the food. Cooking tends to reduce the levels of some of the nutrients in the food, like folate, but if you eat a lot of nutrient dense foods, you will still probably get more then enough of those nutrients that are effected by cooking.
Eating foods that are nutrient dense has really helped to increase my energy levels also. I used to drink energy drinks all the time just to keep going at work, but lately I haven’t needed them as much. Many of these nutrient rich foods contain high levels of B Vitamins, which the energy drinks also supply. When I do drink an energy drink, at least I know that the extra fiber and anti-oxidants in the food that I’m eating are helping to protect my heart from the damaging effects of the energy drink.