Best Muscle Building Foods
From Men's Fitness
High-protein foods that can help you add mass without sacrificing taste.
1. Omega-3 Eggs
Eggs have been vilified for years as the poster child for artery clogging foods; but further research into the role of dietary cholesterol and heart disease shows that for most people the two are not linked. Eggs have since returned to the spotlight as a health food; but they are also a serious muscle building food. The cholesterol found in the yolk of eggs serves at the scaffolding for steroid hormones and the ˝ a gram of leucine per egg is like throwing gasoline on your muscle building fire.
Nuts are a must for any hardgainer struggling to put on weight. 1 ounce of cashew or almonds contains 150-170 high quality calories. Nuts are the perfect blend of protein, fats, and fiber allowing you to get the extra calories you need without having them pad your waistline. Nuts are also extremely portable making them the perfect thing to snack on during the day if you need to increase your calorie intake.
3. Protein Shake
A protein and carbohydrate recovery shake should be the cornerstone of your muscle building program. Drinking a shake consisting of protein and carbohydrates before your workout sets the stage for optimal muscle growth and nutrient usage. Research from several universities shows that this power nutrition combination puts the breaks on excess muscle breakdown, jacks up protein synthesis, rapidly refills muscle energy stores, increases blood flow to your muscles, up regulates creatine transport, and improves your body’s ability to process and use carbohydrates for hours following your workout.
4. Full Fat Cottage Cheese With Live Cultures
Cottage cheese’s muscle building powers comes from two different components. Cottage cheese contains a high proportion of casein, the slow digesting dairy protein. When you eat casein you blood amino acid levels rise slowly and stay elevated for longer than if you would have eaten whey (the other dairy protein). Cottage cheese also contains live cultures which are good bacteria what will help you breakdown and absorb all the nutrients you need to get bigger and stronger.
Chickpeas should be your anytime carb source of choice. If you are having trouble getting big and staying lean, replace some of the rice and grain in your diet with chickpeas. This versatile bean contains 45 grams of slow acting carbs per cup along with 12 grams of fiber.
6. Lean Beef
For decades beef has remained at the top of the list of best muscles building foods for good reason! Beef contains a muscles building cocktail of protein packed with essential amino acids, B-vitamins, and creatine. Beef also contains a mixture of saturated fat, which can support healthy testosterone levels, and monounsaturated fat, for heart heath. As an added benefits research from University of Melbourne, shows that people how eat more red meat report feeling lower levels of anxiety and stress.
7. Rotisserie Chicken
Rotisserie chicken should be your emergency muscle food. Available at almost all supermarkets rotisserie chickens provide you with readily available ready-to-eat high quality protein. Have one or two breast or mix and match light and dark meat whichever fits your diet.
Lentils should be your secret mass building weapon. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of slow digesting quality carbohydrates. They are also very inexpensive and have a long shelf-life. They cook up in just 10 minutes and can be added mixed in with brown rice, sprinkled over a salad or eaten as a standalone side dish.
Salmon contains both high quality protein and the long chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. These omega-3 fats are most well known for their ability to improve heart health but they also inhibit muscle breakdown while increasing the anabolic capacity of amino acids. If you don’t like eating fish then make sure to take a fish oil supplement to reap these benefits.
10. Fermented Dairy Products
Fermented dairy products like kefir are a little known muscle building magic bullet. Kefir is the perfect addition to any muscle building blender bomb, providing distinct nutritional advantages over water or regular milk. If you usually use water in your shakes, 1 cup of kefir will add 150 calories to your diet. Compared to regular milk, kefir will allow your meal to be more easily digested due to the presence of probiotics (up to 10 billion good bacteria per cup). These healthy bacteria will help keep your digestive track running at peak condition so it can breakdown and assimilate maximum amount of calories and nutrients from your meals.