Skip the protein shake: 8 muscle-building foods you should eat instead

You don’t have to be an aspiring bodybuilder to care about muscle mass. In fact, maintaining healthy muscle mass is one of the many ways we can do this stay healthy and improving our overall well-being, especially as we age. Besides a balanced regimen of exercise and strength training, our diet is a critical factor in building and maintaining strong muscles.

Protein, in particular, plays a major role in Muscle growth support. This group is from Amino acids They make up a large part of our muscle tissue and organs. It’s an essential part of your diet, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat every day protein shake To get enough. Although this is certainly one way to increase your protein intake, you can find it in many delicious whole food sources.

With a little effort, it’s easy to add plenty of foods high in protein and other muscle-building nutrients to your diet. In this article, we’ll look at how different foods help you build muscle mass – and the best things to eat if you’re trying to boost your strength.

Smiling woman lifting dumbbells in the garage.

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How does food help build muscle?

Although protein is necessary for Muscle BuildingIt is not the only important nutritional component in this process. according to National Academy of Sports MedicineA good muscle-building diet should contain plenty of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. A well-balanced diet that contains all of these ingredients will provide you with the necessary ingredients to help your muscles repair and rebuild after exercise.

In general, the NASM recommends that most people consume at least 0.7 to 0.8 grams of protein and 1.8 to 3.2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight each day. Total calories also play a role in building muscle, as muscle building is difficult to build if you burn more calories than you consume.

However, diet alone is not enough to stimulate muscle growth. Exercise – especially resistance exercises such as weightlifting – is essential Start the process. When the fibers in your muscles are torn, it stimulates cell growth and repair. This is the time when your body can use the food you have eaten to rebuild and strengthen muscle tissue. Other factors also affect how effective and efficient this process is, from when you eat your food and how much rest you give your muscles between workouts to your hormones and genetic makeup.

Cartoon brown eggs on a blue background.

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8 foods to improve your gains

Although there are many factors in building muscle, there is no doubt that diet plays a major role. Here are eight muscle building foods that you can eat to improve your training and increase your muscle mass.

1. eggs

Eggs have always been considered a food powerAnd for good reason. It’s incredibly rich in nutrients from fats and proteins and includes a powerful blend of vitamins like B12, B6, and thiamine. Its nutrient-dense properties make it particularly potent, but most importantly it contains a large dose of leucine. This amino acid is known for its muscle building prowess.

2. fish

If you already get enough fat in your diet but need to increase your protein intake, look no further than fish. It is one of the best Lean protein sources You can eat them and they are full of other vitamins and minerals. Reward? Fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids. Although it is known for its many other health benefits, Omega 3 It may also improve muscle performance and help prevent loss of muscle mass. Salmon and tuna are especially great food options for building muscle.

Read more: Best Seafood Delivery Services of 2022

3. Nuts

When eaten in moderation, nuts are an excellent muscle-building option. These delicious 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, as many nuts (including peanuts, which are actually legumes) are high in calories. For the most nutrient-rich options, try almonds or walnuts.

4. Soybean

If you’re trying to build muscle by following a meat-free diet, soy has to be one of your closest friends. This is one of the most nutrient-dense legumes you can eat, and it packs a solid amount of protein to help build muscle. Soy has it all Nine essential amino acidsThis makes it one of the best sources of plant-based protein available.

Close-up of a stack of edamame beans.

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5. Greek Yogurt

Dairy products are a unique source of protein because they provide a blend of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein. when consumed togetherThese two types of protein may enhance and prolong the protein synthesis your muscles go through when rebuilding, helping you build lean mass. Greek yogurt is a great dairy choice because it contains double protein Compared to regular yogurt and proud of its addition Probiotics health benefits You don’t find it 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 having the same slow- and fast-digesting formula. It’s an especially great source of casein, and it provides a significant calorie boost if you need to make sure you’re getting enough.

7. Olive oil

It may not seem like your typical body-building food, but extra virgin olive oil has become increasingly popular for its muscle benefits in recent years. Widely known as a healthy source Monounsaturated fatOlive oil helps, too reduce inflammation And the slow muscle breakdown. Both of these features can help with any muscle building regimen.

8. Quinoa

They don’t call quinoa a superfood for nothing. This dynamic grain (which is a seed but is classified as a whole grain) contains a A little bit of everythingIncluding plenty of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, plus a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals. It is an ideal food for building muscle and maximizing the benefits of your workouts.

Quinoa cooked in a wooden bowl with green garnish.

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Muscle building recipe

Adding these muscle building foods to your diet will definitely help you on your way to boosting muscle mass and increasing your strength. Remember, however, that boosting muscle mass 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.

Read more: Lose weight and gain lean muscle at the same time while reshaping the body

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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