The best foods to build muscle include items high in protein and low in saturated fat. That said, exercise and a well-balanced diet that also includes carbs and fats are the best for optimal results.
Nutrition and regular exercise are both very important for muscle building.
Foods that are high in protein play a
Alongside resistance training, research suggests consuming
However, it’s important to consume a well-balanced diet that includes healthy carbohydrates and fats. These also play
Keep reading to learn more about 26 foods to eat that could help you gain muscle.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
Eggs contain large amounts of the amino acid leucine. This is particularly important for maximizing how your body synthesizes protein for muscle gain.
Eggs also contain a range of other nutrients that could help build muscle, such as:
Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health.
3. Chicken breast
Chicken breasts also contain generous amounts of the B vitamins niacin and B6. These vitamins may help your body function properly during the physical activity that’s necessary for optimal muscle gain.
4. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is a good snack anytime, but eating it after a workout or before bed may be more beneficial. This is due to its mixture of fast- and slow-digesting proteins.
These nutrients are
Additionally, tuna provides large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which may support muscle health. This may be
6. Lean beef
Some research has even shown that consuming lean red meat can increase the amount of lean mass gained with physical exercise.
Even when you’re trying to gain muscle, consider choosing beef that supports muscle gain without providing too many extra calories.
Like many other animal proteins, shrimp contains a high amount of the amino acid leucine. This is necessary for optimal muscle growth.
Adding shrimp to meals is an easy way to get muscle-building protein without adding too many additional calories.
9. Cottage cheese
Like other dairy products, cottage cheese can be purchased with varying fat content. High fat versions like creamed cottage cheese have more calories.
It’s best to choose the type that suits your caloric needs.
10. Turkey breast
Turkey is also a good source of the B vitamin niacin, which helps
Tilapia is another protein-packed seafood item.
Many different types of beans can be part of a diet for lean muscle gain.
13. Protein powders
While any good diet should focus on whole foods, dietary supplements can sometimes be beneficial.
Protein shakes could help you get more protein into your diet if you have trouble getting enough protein from foods.
Edamame is the term for immature soybeans. They’re found in pods and served in a variety of dishes.
While protein-rich foods are a priority for building lean muscle, it’s also important to have the fuel to get active.
Foods with carbohydrates can
Magnesium plays an
Like shrimp, tilapia, and lean poultry, scallops provide protein with very little fat.
If you’re looking to add protein to your diet without consuming too many calories, these very lean sources of protein may be good choices.
Three ounces (85 g) of scallops provide around
17. Lean jerky
When you’re on the go, you may want high quality protein from meat such as lean jerky.
Many different types of meat can be made into jerky, so the nutrition facts vary. Most fat is removed from lean jerky during processing, so almost all calories in jerky come directly from protein.
These animal sources of protein are high in quality and stimulate
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a good source of carbs and protein.
Each 1-cup (164-g) serving of canned chickpeas contains around
As with many plants, the protein in chickpeas is considered lower quality than that in animal sources. However, it can still be part of a balanced muscle-building diet.
This serving size of peanuts also contains around 166 calories. If you’re having a hard time getting enough calories to drive your muscle gain, eating peanuts could be a good way to get some extra calories and nutrients.
Buckwheat is a seed that can be ground into flour and used in place of traditional flour.
One cup (168 g) of cooked buckwheat groats contains around
Buckwheat has become a popular health food due to its impressive vitamin and mineral content. It contains high amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.
These vitamins and minerals can help your body stay healthy and able to perform muscle building exercises.
Each half-cup (124-g) serving of raw tofu contains
Tofu is also a good source of calcium, which is important for proper muscle function and bone health.
22. Pork tenderloin
23. Cow’s milk
Similar to other dairy products, milk contains
Among other roles, phosphorus helps your body use carbohydrates and fats for energy at rest and during exercise.
As with peanuts, almonds should be consumed in moderation due to their high calorie content. Half a cup of blanched almonds contains more than 400 calories.
Replacing some beef with bison is an option if you like to eat red meat as part of your muscle building diet but also worry about your heart health.
26. Brown rice
Consider eating healthy carb sources like brown rice or quinoa in the
Several types of foods and beverages may slow down your muscle building journey. These may include:
- ultra-processed foods
- deep fried foods
- greasy foods
- refined carbohydrates
- added sugars
- sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda
Consuming these foods and beverages once in a while won’t negatively affect your ability to build muscle. However, the majority of your calories should come from nutrient-dense, whole foods.
How to gain muscle fast?
Nutrition and regular physical exercise are both key components of gaining muscle mass. A 2019 review suggests that a calorie surplus of around
What foods build muscle fast?
Some high protein foods can help you build muscle mass more quickly than other foods. These may include eggs, chicken, salmon, Greek yogurt, skim milk, and beans, among others.
What foods to eat to bulk up?
Bulking up refers to being in a calorie surplus, which is when you consume more calories than you burn throughout the day. To maximize muscle growth, a clean bulk is better than simply eating high calorie foods. This may include a well-balanced diet of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Some foods include chicken, shrimp, eggs, salmon, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and fruits.
Numerous foods can help you gain lean muscle. Many of them are high in protein and allow your muscles to recover and grow after you have been active.
It’s also important to consume carbohydrates and fats to provide fuel for exercise and physical activity.
Consider using nutrition apps to track your daily protein and calorie intake. This can help you stay on track in your muscle building journey.