These 8 Protein-Rich Foods Can Help Build Muscle
If you want to feel and be stronger, you have to give your body what it needs to be strong. Enter the proteins.
Protein is important to include in your diet because it contains amino acids, which our bodies use to build and repair muscle and organ tissue. This makes protein vital for supporting muscle growth. Although taking supplements likeare a way to fill your daily protein quota, they are not mandatory. Other ways to make sure you’re getting enough protein is to include whole foods made up of protein.
To make things easier, there are ways to combine high-protein foods with other nutrient-dense foods that can also promote muscle building. Keep reading to learn more about the best foods to help you build muscle mass and increase your strength.
How Food Helps Build Muscle
Although protein is essential for, it is not the only important food component in the process. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a good muscle-building diet should also include plenty of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. A balanced diet that includes all of these elements will provide the necessary ingredients to help your muscles repair and rebuild after a workout.
Overall, NASM recommends that most people consume at least 0.7 to 0.8 and 1.8 to 3.2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight each day. Total calorie intake also plays a role in building muscle because it’s hard to build muscle if you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming.
However, diet alone is not enough to stimulate muscle growth. Exercise — especially resistance training like lifting weights — is needed to start the process. When you tear the fibers in your muscles, it stimulates cell growth and repair. This is when your body can use the food you have eaten to rebuild and strengthen muscle tissue. Other factors also influence the effectiveness and efficiency of this process, from when you eat your food and how long you rest your muscles between workouts to your hormones and.
8 foods to optimize your gains
Although many factors go into building muscle, there is no doubt that diet plays a key role. Here are eight muscle-building foods you can eat to optimize your workouts and increase muscle mass.
Eggs have long been considered a powerhouse food, and for good reason. They are incredibly rich in nutrients from fats and proteins and include a powerful blend of vitamins such as B12, B6 and thiamin. Their nutrient-rich profile makes them particularly potent, but most importantly, they contain a high dose of leucine. This amino acid is known for its muscle building prowess.
If you already get enough fat in your diet but need to boost your protein intake, look no further than fish. It’s one of the best sources of lean protein you can eat, and it’s packed with other vitamins and minerals. A bonus? Fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids. Although known for their many other health benefits, omega-3s can also improve muscle performance and help prevent muscle loss. Salmon and tuna are particularly good food choices for muscle building.
When eaten in moderation, nuts are an excellent choice for building muscle. These tasty snacks offer the perfect blend of protein, fat and fiber, making them one of the most balanced ways to supplement your workouts. You have to be careful, though, because many nuts (including peanuts, which are actually legumes) are high in calories. For the most nutrient dense options, try almonds or walnuts.
If you’re trying to build muscle on a meatless diet, soy should be one of your closest friends. They’re one of the most nutrient-dense legumes you can eat, and they pack a potent dose of protein to help build muscle. Soy contains all nine essential amino acids, making it one of the best sources of vegetable protein available.
5. Greek yogurt
Dairy products are a unique source of protein because they provide a combination of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein. When eaten together, these two types of protein can enhance and prolong the protein synthesis process by which your muscles rebuild, helping you build lean mass. Greek yogurt is a great dairy choice because it has twice the protein of regular yogurt and provides additional probiotic health benefits you can’t find in milk or cheese.
6. Cottage cheese
It doesn’t offer the same probiotic benefits as yogurt, but cottage cheese is a great second choice for dairy-based protein. In fact, cottage cheese contains more protein than Greek yogurt while providing the same combination of slow and fast digestion. It’s a great source of casein, and it provides a significant calorie boost if you need to make sure you’re getting enough of it.
7. Olive oil
It may not look like your typical bodybuilding food, but extra virgin olive oil has become increasingly popular for its muscle-building benefits in recent years. Widely known as a source of healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil also helps reduce inflammation and slow muscle breakdown. Both of these characteristics can help with any muscle building regimen.
They don’t call quinoa a superfood for nothing. This vibrant grain (it’s a seed but classed as a whole grain) has a bit of everything, including plenty of protein, fiber, and carbs, plus a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. It is a perfect food to build your muscles and maximize the benefits of your workouts.
A recipe for stronger muscles
Adding these muscle building foods to your diet will definitely help you increase your muscle mass and increase your strength. Remember, however, that building muscle takes time and diet is only one piece of the puzzle. Combining a balanced diet of protein-rich foods with healthy exercise and rest will speed up your journey and improve your overall health along the way.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.