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18 Nutritious Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

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If you want to build lean muscle, both nutrition and physical activity are important. To get began, challenging your body through physical activity is crucial. Your progress will stop, however, without adequate dietary support. For muscle gaining, high-protein foods are very essential, but carbohydrates and fats are also needed energy sources. If your aim is to build lean muscle, concentrate on regular exercises, and eating more calories from foods that build muscle every day. Here are 18 nutritious foods that help you build lean muscle.

1. Chicken Breast

Chicken breasts have been considered a staple for muscle gain. 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 (1).

These vitamins support your body function during exercise and physical activity. In addition, some study has shown that high-protein diets can help you lose belly fat (2).

2. Lean Beef

Beef contains high-quality protein, B vitamins, minerals, and creatine. Some study has even shown that lean red meat consumption can boost the quantity of lean mass through weight training (3, 4).

Even if you try to get muscle, however, it may be best to select beef 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 (5).

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

Like many other animal proteins, shrimp include an enormous quantity of amino acid leucine needed for the ideal development of the muscle (6).

4. Beans

For lean muscle gain, many types of beans can be an element of a diet. Popular types such as black, pinto, and kidney beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cup (172 grams) of boiled beans (7).

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 diseases (8).

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 (9).

Omega-3 fatty acids play a major role in muscle health and can even boost muscle gain during exercise (10).

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 muscle gain (11, 12).

For several procedures in your body, including energy production, B vitamins are also critically significant (13).

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 promote muscle and overall health (14, 15).

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 (16).

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 eat a mixture of fast-and slow-digesting milk enzymes, their experience rises in lean mass (17).

Not all yogurt is produced the equal, though. Greek yogurt, for instance, often includes about twice as much protein as standard yogurt (18).

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 (19).

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 (20).

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 drive your muscle gain, eating peanuts might be an impressive way to get some additional calories and nutrients. In addition, nuts in a generally healthy diet are believed to play a significant role (22).

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 muscle building (23).

You can buy cottage cheese with variable fat content, like other dairy products. More calories are provided by high-fat variants such as creamed cottage cheese. 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 (24).

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 particular danger of iron deficiency owing to menstrual blood loss (25, 26, 28).

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 the development of the muscle. Several trials have shown that when drinking milk with weight training, individuals can boost their body mass (29).

13. Almonds

Half a cup of blanched almonds (172 grams) contains 16 grams of protein, vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus (30).

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 (31, 32).

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 (33).

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 (34, 35).

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 (36, 37).

By promoting the capacity of your body to function, having ideal concentrations of B vitamins can help you achieve muscle over time (38).

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 (39).

Vitamin B12 is essential for the health of your blood cells and nerves, enabling you to prepare for muscle gain (40).

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 (41).

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 (42).

Magnesium plays a significant role in your muscle and nerve function, both of which are used whenever you move (43).

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 (44).

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 (45).

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

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AB Rehman
AB Rehman is a certified personal trainer. He specializes in exercise science. His interests include nutrition, muscle building, and cardio exercises. He enjoys cooking, hiking, and outdoor activities.
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