The number one tip for individuals looking to build serious muscle is to eat well. Exercise and multiple reps of squats and bench presses will only go so far – take a look at these top 10 foods to gain muscle mass and pad your diet with muscle-building foods full of lean, rich protein!
Protein is comprised of amino acids, and eggs contain the amino acid leucine, which is essential for gaining muscle mass. Eggs also provide healthy fats and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline.
- Peanut Butter & Nuts
Peanut butter, and peanuts in general, are comprised of the perfect combination of protein, fat, fiber and carbs. All nuts are a healthy addition to your diet and a great snack for anyone who is trying to gain muscle mass – just one ounce of cashews or almond contains about 150 healthy calories. Nuts are also very portable and the ideal way to increase your calorie intake without sacrificing your waistline.
- Protein Shakes
Some of the most popular supplements in the world of fitness always offer a good quality whey protein, which provides a quick and easy source of protein. Individuals who avidly work out will usually reach for a whey protein shake as a meal replacement early in the morning, as a snack after a workout or in between meals for a quick boost of energy. Even with the addition of whey protein shakes, you should still aim to incorporate high quality and lean protein into your daily diet.
- Milk & Yogurt
Dairy contains high-quality protein, but it is also a combination of whey protein that digests quickly as well as casein protein that is slow-digesting. This combination of both fast and slow digesting dairy proteins can help you gain some serious muscle mass. A healthy dairy snack like Greek yogurt is made up of double the amount of protein as regular yogurt!
Tuna is a muscle mass power food – it gives you 20 grams of protein for every three-ounce serving, and it contains high amounts of vitamin A and several B vitamins, including B6, B12 and niacin. All of these nutrients are optimal for your good health, keeping your energy high and helping you perform well every time you exercise. Tuna also gives you a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which strongly support muscle health. If you don’t enjoy eating fish, then it’s a good idea to take a good fish oil supplement so you can still get the many benefits omega-3 fatty acids provide for your health and body.
- Lean Beef
Beef has always topped the charts as one of the best muscle-building foods! Lean beef contains a strong combination of protein, essential amino acids, B vitamins and creatine. Beef is also made up of a mixture of saturated fat and monounsaturated fat, which supports heart health and healthy testosterone levels.
Lentils are a secret weapon for building muscle mass and getting stronger. One cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of slow-digesting high quality carbs. Lentils are also extremely inexpensive, and they have a very long shelf life – you can cook them up in less than 15 minutes and add them to salads, mix them up with brown rice or eat them as a standalone side dish.
- Chia Seeds
The tiny chia seed is a highly nutritious food item that offers a significant source of energy and strength. Chia seeds have a high concentration of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, soluble fiber, potassium and a combination of antioxidants that are really good for your health. You can add chia seeds to a smoothie, shake, a bowl of oatmeal, on top of peanut butter or avocado toast or you can put a teaspoon in your water.
Turkey – the other white meat – is among the leanest animal meat you can find and is a great substitute for chicken in most recipes if you’re looking for a little variety. A three-ounce serving of turkey breast can contain about 25 grams of protein and almost zero fat or carbs! Look for turkey that is low-sodium, extra lean and free of preservatives that are bad for you. You can also use ground turkey as a great substitute for ground beef in items like burgers, chili or meatballs!
If you’re aiming to limit your intake of animal meal, you can always turn to tofu, which is made from soy and a very common meat substitute with the highest-quality plant protein that is great for building muscle mass. Each half cup serving of raw tofu can have up to ten grams of protein, and it is also a great source of calcium!
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