10 Best Foods for Building Muscle

building muscleWhen it comes to exercise and nutrition, different diets and exercises help people see different results. For those who are looking to build muscle, there are certain foods that are associated with muscle gain rather than losing weight, for example. At Plunkett Fitness in Overland Park, Kansas, personal trainers not only provide help with exercise but diet as well.

To help out those who are looking to build muscle, Plunkett Fitness has created a list of the top 10 best foods for building muscle.

1.     Eggs

Eggs have long been touted as one of the best sources of protein around, so it should come as no surprise that they made our list. In each egg, there is about seven or eight grams of protein and only 60 calories, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin B12, which helps break down fat and contract muscle.

Eggs also contain riboflavin, folate, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins B6, D, and E. The half gram of leucine in each egg also benefits those who are trying to build muscle. When compared to all other foods, the protein in eggs has the highest biological value, which means it is the most effective for muscle growth.

To reap the benefits of eggs, you have to eat the yolk, but you can prepare the eggs any way you like.

2.     Almonds

While most nuts are known for providing protein to the body, almonds contain the best nutrients of all. Almonds contain protein and fiber, which can keep you feeling full while also repairing the damage done to muscles during a workout. In just a quarter-cup of almonds, you can get almost eight grams of protein.

Almonds contain healthy fats that are good for your heart. The magnesium found in almonds helps more than 300 biochemical reactions take place in the body and helps with protein synthesis and energy metabolism.

3.     Lean Beef

You’ve probably heard a hundred different reasons why you shouldn’t eat beef and another hundred reasons why you should. For those who are trying to build muscle and consume lean beef in a healthy form, it can be a great source of protein. Beef contains 27 grams of complete proteins per 100-gram serving, as well as 11 grams of saturated fats, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. With 200 calories per 100-gram serving, lean beef shouldn’t be associated with obesity like it sometimes is.

For those looking to bulk-up and who train with full intensity, red meat is a great option as a protein source, because it is the number-one food source for creatine. In just 16 ounces of beef, there are two grams of creatine.

Look for lean or extra-lean ground beef when possible or stick to rounds and loins.

4.     Cottage Cheese

When you think of muscle building, you probably don’t think of cottage cheese. However, this lumpy food contains two different ingredients that help strengthen muscles: casein and live cultures. Casein is a dairy protein that digests slowly and increases the levels of amino acids in your blood. The live cultures in cottage cheese help your body break down and absorb nutrients that contribute to muscle growth.

Just one cup of cottage cheese contains 30 grams of protein and 250 milligrams of calcium with only four grams of fat. Cottage cheese also contains vitamins A, B1, and B2.

Cottage cheese can be eaten in numerous ways to keep your meals fresh and interesting, but it is best consumed at dinner or before bedtime to help with overnight recovery.

5.     Salmon

Salmon is packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are key nutrients in building and repairing muscle tissue. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the breakdown of muscle after a workout to help improve your recovery, while also increasing the anabolic capacity of the amino acids in your body.

Salmon also contains selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and niacin. Salmon is said to lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and improve memory.

In addition, salmon is a lean protein that keeps you feeling full. One great benefit of salmon is that it can be cooked in a number of different ways, so you won’t get sick of eating the same thing over and over. For a quick, always fresh version, you can get salmon jerky to keep around for a post-workout snack.

6.     Chicken

Chicken is a lean protein that has been used to help people gain muscle mass for years. In a 100-gram piece of chicken, there are 31 grams of protein with only four grams of fat and no carbohydrates. Chicken also contains vitamins B3 and B6. In fact, chicken is the best food source for vitamin B6. Phosphorus and selenium are both found in chicken, as well.

Nutritionists and dieters alike are fond of chicken, because it is an extremely versatile protein that you can cook in numerous ways.

7.     Tuna/Fish

Tuna is an extremely lean and protein-packed fish that is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Not only does tuna aid in fat loss, but it also helps boost the metabolism.

Tuna can also be eaten in a variety of ways ranging from tuna steaks to canned tuna. A five-ounce can of white tuna contains 30 grams of protein.

Other fish can be great options for those looking to increase muscle mass. They can also contain a high amount of protein and very little fat, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

8.     Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain native to South America that is high in complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. In a 100-gram servicing of quinoa, there are 14 grams of protein. High in fiber, iron, and magnesium, quinoa is gluten-free and easy to digest.

Being both healthier and more flavorful than rice, quinoa is an easy grain substitution in your meals without all the starch.

Even though quinoa is one of the best carbohydrate sources around, it isn’t a good post-workout food, because it is slowly absorbed into your system. Consider quinoa for regular meals instead of post-workout snacks.

9.     Greek Yogurt

Yogurt, particularly Greek yogurt, is full of protein. Plain yogurt contains both protein and carbohydrates to help muscles repair and grow after a workout. Yogurt also contains conjugated linoleic acid (and is one of the few foods to do so), which helps reduce body fat. The probiotics in yogurt are also good at aiding in digestion.

Stick to plain yogurt, as the flavored yogurts often contain large amounts of sugar. Instead, add fresh fruit to plain yogurt for a real treat.

10.  Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of those foods that is super easy to incorporate into your diet and provides numerous health benefits. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil prevents muscle breakdown by lowering levels of tumor necrosis factor-a.

Extra-virgin olive oil, the best of the best, contains a higher amount of vitamin E, which helps fight free radicals. Vitamin E stimulates the expression of connective tissue growth factor, which helps heal wounds and damaged tissue quickly.

This oil has been said to reduce the risk of diabetes and osteoporosis and lower your risk of both heart disease and colon cancer. Also, olive oil offers anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, bone, cognitive, and digestive benefits.

In addition to these ten foods, oysters and shrimp are also popular protein-packed foods that can help you switch it up from time to time because it can be boring to eat the same things all the time. Whey protein is also an incredibly common supplement to help build muscle.

To get started on your journey to bigger, stronger muscles, give Plunkett Fitness a call today at 913-390-3360. A Plunkett Fitness personal trainer can give you a personalized nutrition plan to help you eat in a way that promotes muscle gain, as well as develop a workout plan that will have you seeing results in no time.