DefatX » Nutrition » 18 Nutritious Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

18 Nutritious Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

If your aim is to build lean muscle, concentrate on regular exercises, and eating more calories from foods that build muscle every day.

1. Chicken Breast

Chicken breasts have been considered a staple in muscle growth. They are packed with 26 grams of high-quality protein in each 85-gram serving. They also contain substantial amounts of vitamin B niacin and B6.

These vitamins support your body’s function during exercise and physical activity. In addition, some study has shown that high-protein foods can help you lose belly fat.

2. Lean Beef

Beef contains high-quality protein, B vitamins, minerals, and creatine. Some study has even shown that lean red meat consumption can help you build lean muscle through weight training.

If you are trying to build lean muscle, however, beef is the best option that promotes muscle gain without giving too many additional calories.

3. Shrimp

Shrimp contain the protein that is almost pure. Each serving of 85 grams includes 18 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and zero carbs.

While healthy fats and carbs are essential in your general diet, adding a few shrimps is a simple way to get the protein that builds muscle without too many extra calories.

Like many other animal proteins, shrimp includes an enormous quantity of amino acid leucine needed for building lean muscle.

4. Beans

To build lean muscle, many types of beans should be a part of your regular diet. Popular types such as black, pinto, and kidney beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cup (172 grams) of boiled beans.

Besides being high in magnesium, phosphorus, and iron, they are significant sources of fiber and B vitamins. Beans are a substantial source of plant-based protein. They may also play a part in the avoidance of many diseases.

5. Salmon

For muscle building and general health, a salmon is an excellent option. Each salmon serving of 85 grams includes approximately 17 grams of protein, nearly 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and several significant B vitamins.

Omega-3 fatty acids play a major role in muscle health and can even boost muscle gain during exercise.

6. Eggs

Eggs contain high-quality protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients such as vitamins B and choline. Proteins comprise amino acids and eggs containing large quantities of amino acid leucine, which is especially essential for building lean muscle mass.

For several functions in your body, including energy production, B vitamins are critically significant.

7. Tuna

Besides 20 grams of protein per serving of 85 grams, tuna contains outrageous amounts of vitamin A and several B vitamins, including B12, niacin, and B6.

These nutrients are important for optimal performance in terms of health, energy, and exercise. Furthermore, tuna offers large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids that can help you build lean muscle.

For older adults, this may be important. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can slow down age-related body mass loss and strength.

8. Greek Yogurt

Dairy contains not only high-quality protein but also a blend of fast-digested whey protein and slow-digested casein protein. Some studies have shown that when individuals consume a mixture of fast-and slow-digesting milk enzymes, their lean muscle mass increases.

Though not all yogurt is produced equally. Greek yogurt, for instance, often includes about twice as much protein as standard yogurt.

While Greek yogurt is a nice snack, its combination of fast-and slow-digesting enzymes may be useful to eat it after a workout or before bed.

9. Peanuts

Peanuts contain a mixture of protein, fat, and carbs. A half-cup serving (73 grams) includes 17 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs, and large quantities of unsaturated fat.

They also contain greater amino acid leucine quantities than many other plant products. Every half-cup 73-gram peanut serving includes approximately 425 calories.

So if you find it difficult to get enough calories to help your muscle gain, eating peanuts might be the best way to get some additional calories and nutrients. In addition, nuts play a significant role in building lean muscle.

10. Cottage Cheese

One cup (226 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese packs 28 grams of protein, including a heavy dose of significant amino acid leucine.

You can buy cottage cheese with variable fat content, like other dairy products. High fat food such as creamed cottage cheese can provide more calories. Depending on how many additional calories you want to add to your diet. It’s a fantastic muscle-building snack, no matter what sort you choose.

11. Soybeans

Half a cup of boiled soybeans (86 grams) includes 14 grams of protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and several vitamins and minerals that can help you build lean muscle.

Soya is an excellent source of vitamin K, iron and phosphorus. Therefore, iron is used to store and transport oxygen in your blood and muscles. Iron deficiency may affect these functions.

Youthful women may be at a higher risk of iron deficiency owing to menstrual blood loss.

12. Milk

Milk is a mixture of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Like other dairy products, milk contains proteins that are digested both quickly and slowly.

This is considered useful for muscle growth. Several studies show drinking milk with weight training can help you build lean muscle.

13. Almonds

Half a cup of blanched almonds (172 grams) contains 16 grams of protein, vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Phosphorus enables your body to use carbohydrates and fats for exercise energy. However, almonds should be eaten in moderate quantities. There are over 400 calories in half a cup of blanched almonds.

14. Tofu

Tofu is made from soy milk and is frequently used as a meat replacement. Half-cup raw tofu (124 grams) includes 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 2 grams of carbohydrates.

Tofu is also a significant source of calcium for adequate muscle function and bone health. Soy protein discovered in foods such as tofu and soybeans is one of the highest quality plant proteins.

Foods that contain soy protein are excellent choices for vegans and vegetarians for all these purposes.

15. Turkey Breast

An 85-gram turkey breast serving includes approximately 25 grams of protein and almost no fat or carbs. Turkey is also a valuable source of B vitamin niacin that helps in the process of your body’s fat and carbohydrates.

By promoting the capacity of your body to function, having ideal concentrations of B vitamins can help you build lean muscle over time.

16. Tilapia

Although it has fewer fatty acids than salmon, tilapia is another protein-packed seafood item. A serving of 85 grams offers about 21 grams of protein, along with decent quantities of vitamin B12 and selenium.

Vitamin B12 is essential for your blood cells and nerves, enabling you to prepare for muscle gain.

17. Quinoa

While protein-rich foods are a priority for lean muscle building, stimulating the fuel is also essential. Carbohydrate foods can contribute to this energy.

Cooked quinoa includes approximately 40 grams of carbs per cup (185 grams) 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and large quantities of magnesium and phosphorus.

Magnesium plays a significant role in your muscle and nerve function, both of which are essential in building muscle.

18. Chickpeas

Chickpea is a useful source of both carbs and protein, also known as garbanzo beans. Each 1-cup (240-gram) canned chickpea serving includes approximately 12 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbs, including 10 grams of fiber.

The protein in chickpeas is regarded as lower than animal sources. However, it can still be an element of a balanced diet for muscle building.

Bottom Line

Many foods can help you build lean muscle. Many of them are protein-packed and allow the recovery and growth of your muscles after you’ve been active. However, to provide fuel for exercise and physical activity, it is also essential to eat carbohydrates and fats.

Moreover, many of these ingredients contain the vitamins and minerals that your body wants to function in the best way possible. Focus on regular exercises and getting more calories every day from nutritious foods, such as those mentioned in this article to achieve your aim to build lean muscle.


Frequent consumption of selenium-enriched chicken meat by adults causes weight loss and maintains their antioxidant status. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011.

The role for dietary omega-3 fatty acids supplementation in older adults. Nutrients. 2014.

B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients. 2016.

Fish oil-derived n-3 PUFA therapy increases muscle mass and function in healthy older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015.

The effects of protein and amino acid supplementation on performance and training adaptations during ten weeks of resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2006.

Body composition and strength changes in women with milk and resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010.

Vitamin B12. Medline Plus.

The Skeletal Muscle Anabolic Response to Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Consumption. J Nutr. 2015.

Terms of Use: The information on this website is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide personal medical advice. If you have questions about a medical condition, consult your doctor or another qualified health provider. Never ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source on this website makes no product recommendations or endorsements.

Naeem Durrani BSc
I am a freelance health and wellness writer. My interests include medical research, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices, which empower people to transform their lives.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get notified about new articles right in your inbox.

Your privacy is important to us.