Your ability to gain muscle has as much to do with what you eat as how hard you push yourself in the gym. But if you include these foods, you’ll ensure that your time spent in the gym isn’t a waste of sweat.
Here are the best food you can eat to build muscles:
A highly nutritious grain native to South America, quinoa is largely regarded as one of the world’s healthiest foods, and for good reason. Packed full of complete proteins (14 grams per 100 gram serving), thus providing all nine essential amino acids, and high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber, quinoa is also gluten-free, easy to digest, and full of vitamin B6, magnesium and iron (providing 25%, 49% and 25% of our daily requirement for these nutrients respectively) to support cell growth and general health. It is recommended that this superfood be substituted for 1-2 comparatively boring rice meals per day.
Kefir is a cultured dairy product produced through the fermentation of the lactose found in completely lactose free, making it a viable beverage for people with lactose intolerance. Kefir also contains a unique mixture of probiotics and bioactive peptides that allow it to produce additional muscle-building benefits beyond those elicited by the 14 grams of high-quality protein found in each cup.
The bioactive protein peptides found in fermented milk products like kefir have been shown to stimulate the immune system and immunoglobulin production. This is important, as it can help counteract the stress that frequent, high-volume hypertrophy training puts on your immune system, allowing you to continue training hard and growing big.
When it comes to great all-around food to build muscle, the trophy goes to salmon. It is loaded with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, two key nutrients to build and repair muscle tissue, and to keep your hunger in check. You can also cook salmon several different ways. Salmon is also rich in key nutrients, such as selenium, Vitamin D, B12, niacin and vitamin D. The list goes on with all of the health benefits associated with salmon.
Red meat, in particular ground beef, has been unfairly stigmatized as a dietary catalyst for heart disease and other health concerns such as obesity (mostly because it is most often eaten in the form of cheeseburgers). But in our more enlightened times we must now see such unwarranted accusations for the complete nonsense they are. Granted, a sedentary person eating fatty cuts of beef each day (often topped with highly processed, sugar laden, sauces and cheeses) in conjunction with many additional high fat, sugary foods might be a heart attack waiting to happen. But, for those who are looking to bulk up and who train with full force intensity (both cardio and weights), red meat, in particular extra-lean ground beef, is an unsung hero.
While many bodybuilders eat so much chicken they begin to grow feathers, few do as the old school crowd did – have beef form the basis of their daily meat consumption. Containing 27 grams of complete proteins and 11 grams of saturated fats, and a whopping 200-plus calories per 100 gram serving, and loaded with a massive compliment of iron, zinc, and B vitamins, ground beef is one former bodybuilding staple that is due for a resurgence. As an off-season weight gainer it is without equal.
Providing a generous helping of nutritious calories per glass, easily consumed, rich in both casein and whey proteins, packed with the electrolyte minerals magnesium, potassium and calcium, and rounded out with vitamins A, B and D, whole milk could be considered a perfect mass gain food.
Containing a hefty dose of fat to boost testosterone production (to support quality body weight gains), the ubiquitous cow juice, an old school bodybuilding favorite, has unfortunately fallen out of favor by many of today’s iron brethren. With the advent of low fat, high protein supplements, milk, a standalone complete protein beverage, is today more commonly used to accompany our favorite breakfast cereals. Have the best of both worlds – supercharge your next shake by mixing it with whole milk.
While on the subject of milk, the chocolate variety works great as the perfect (bulking) post workout treat – high in sugars and essentials proteins, it is easily absorbed to enhance post-training recovery. Mix it with 30 grams of high quality whey protein to reap maximum benefit and taste.
While most bodybuilders will pound down the chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites, and whey protein en route to building big biceps and killer quads, one often-overlooked high protein superstar is afforded secondary status. Providing a hefty 30 grams of amino-rich protein, less than four grams of fat, and approximately 250mg of bone-building calcium per cup, cottage cheese is an extremely versatile food that should be on all smart bodybuilders grocery lists.
An excellent source of phosphorus, magnesium and iron, and also high in vitamins A, B1 and B2, cottage cheese furthermore contains casein protein which is both slowly released into our system to sustain the muscle building process, and more readily absorbed than that found in red meat, chicken or fish. Low fat versions can be used pre-contest whereas the higher calorie full fat kind can be incorporated off-season.
Olive oil will help to accentuate your muscular development by keeping your cellular machinery functioning as it should. Because of its monounsaturated-fat status, and due to properties uniquely its own, olive oil, in particular the extra virgin variety, boosts our health, well being and performance in just about every conceivable way.
High in vitamin E, which, among other important actions, stimulates the expression of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), a gene responsible for wound healing and the regeneration of damaged tissues, olive oil is also calorically dense so may safely boost our daily calorie intake to support mass building. Containing an unusually high proportion (75%) of oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega 9 fatty acid which specifically acts upon our cell membranes to change their signaling patterns, thereby significantly reducing blood pressure), this wonder oil also has potent anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, bone, cognitive, and digestive health benefits. It is recommended that olive oil, along with the additionally important omega-3, form a major percentage of total daily fat content.
As well as getting enough saturated fats from the aforementioned animal sources, a dedicated bodybuilder must also ensure his or her essential fat intake is on point. Boosting brain function, nerve conduction, cell wall integrity, heart health (and just about every other critical biological function one can name), raw nuts, in particular Brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds, are an excellent way to round out our nutrient balance.
By providing an optimal blend of protein, carbohydrates and fats in addition to a generous serving of antioxidants (including the difficult to obtain and all important free radical scavenger alpha tocopherol vitamin E) per handful, raw nuts, also extremely calorically dense, pack a significant nutritional punch.
While avocados were once withheld from muscle-building diets due to their high fat content, we now know that they provide a unique combination of nutrients that makes them a near-perfect lean-mass builder. The average avocado contains 20 different essential nutrients, 250 calories, 10 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of monounsaturated fat.
Research shows that substituting monounsaturated fat for saturated fat can shift fat gain away from the midsection. This will help keep your core looking and feeling tight during a mass phase, even if you gain some fat. Avocados can also improve the absorption of antioxidants known as carotenoids up to 15 times. Carotenoids are important nutrients for cell growth as well as for supporting a healthy immune system.