Want a lean and muscular physique? Eat protein-rich foods to build muscle and strengthen your body.
It’s true what they say: great bodies are made in the kitchen!
Exercise alone is not enough to give you chiseled abs and biceps. All those bench presses and squats won’t build and tone your body. You have to add more muscle-building foods into your diet.
Aside from cutting carbs, you should choose nutritious foods packed with protein and other essential muscle-enhancing nutrients.
To help you out, we made a list of 10 protein-rich foods to build muscle and increase strength. Make sure to stock up on these foods on your next trip to the supermarket.
10 Foods to Build Muscle and Increase Strength
Eggs are one of the easiest muscle-building foods you can find. More than a breakfast staple, eggs contain complete protein with large amounts of amino acids. It even has healthy fats and B vitamins that boost your immune system. What sets it apart from other body-building foods? It has leucine, a protein that enhances muscle recovery. When you’re weight training, it’s important to get the right nutrients to avoid muscle tissue damage.
2. Lean Meat from Organic Grass-Fed Beef
Lean beef is one of the top muscle-building foods for bodybuilders! It’s complete with essential amino acids, high in iron and B vitamins. It even has creatine which supplies energy for muscle function. So what’s so special about organic grass-fed beef? Compared to regular beef, it has more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that boosts muscle growth and fat loss.
3. Chicken Breast
Add more protein into your diet by eating healthy chicken breast! A serving of chicken breast packs about 26 grams of high-quality protein. It’s great with a side of fresh greens and low-glycemic fruits, which are sources of healthy carbs. It’s the ideal pre-workout meal that will sustain your body through vigorous strength training. Just make sure to grill or bake your chicken breast. Trust us. You don’t want to fry perfectly good chicken in unhealthy cooking oil.
White meat from turkey is one of the leanest animal meats in the market. It almost contains no fat and carbs. A great substitute for chicken, it packs 25 grams of protein per serving. So if you’re looking for the right foods to build muscle, you should definitely add turkey to your diet. It’s a great source of the B vitamin niacin which helps the body process carbs and carbohydrates. It’s also good for athletes who want to bulk up, develop endurance and muscle strength.
5. Pork Tenderloin
You can eat pork tenderloin, a lean cut of meat that has 18 grams of protein with only 2 grams of fat. Unlike beef which has marbled fat, you can remove excess fat from pork just by trimming the sides. Pork tenderloin can give your body the same muscle-building benefits just like chicken and lean beef. Easy to prepare, just bake it in the oven or enjoy it grilled with vegetables on the side.
Aside from livestock and poultry, you can get protein by eating more seafood. Tuna is super lean and rich in protein, containing 20 grams of protein per serving. In fact, a chunk of white tuna (albacore) packs as much as 30 grams of protein. Moreover, tuna is rich in B12, niacin and B6 that are great for improving exercise performance.
Salmon typically packs around 17 grams of protein per serving. It has omega 3 that’s good for the heart. Omega 3 also prevents muscle tissue breakdown while enhancing muscle growth. However, if you don’t enjoy eating fish, you can take fish oil supplements to get the same health benefits.
8. Organic Cottage Cheese
Rich in casein protein, organic cottage cheese is a great source of protein before bedtime. Casein is a milk protein that can only be digested slowly by the body. You see, muscles get prone to tissue damage when you do vigorous workouts. Casein’s slow absorption makes it the ideal energy source for muscles, preventing tissue breakdown while you sleep.
Almonds have the perfect combination of protein, fiber and good fats! A cup of blanched almonds has 16 grams of protein. It’s also rich in vitamin E that protects against cell damage and phosphorus that helps the body use carbs and fats for energy during workouts. Take note: almonds should be consumed in moderation because it’s high in calories. A cup of almonds typically has 400 calories.
10. Protein Shakes
Protein powders and muscle recovery shakes are the foundation of muscle-building programs. Taking protein shakes promotes muscle growth and prevents tissue damage. It stops muscle breakdown, improves protein synthesis and refills your muscles’ energy stores. Protein shakes even improves your body’s function to process and use carbs hours after exercise. It gives you the right nutrients to sustain you throughout exhausting workouts.
Muscle-building foods contain vitamins and minerals to help you train at your best.
Anyone serious about muscle building should start eating these protein-packed meals. If you’re interested in bodybuilding, check out our 7 Awesome Bodybuilding Tips for Beginners.
Based on our list, there are plenty of foods to build muscle and help you get stronger. Just make the effort to replace processed meals with these healthy foods! We know changing your diet is hard. But if you start with this list, you’ll be a step closer to your fitness goals.
Have you tried strength training? What other muscle building foods do you enjoy eating?
Tell us in the comments below!