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10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle

By Edited Dec 16, 2015 1 1

If you have ever tried to gain muscle, you know that it is just as hard to lose weight. Gaining weight is easy. Gaining muscle is extremely hard not because of all of the heavy workouts you have to do to tax the muscles, but because of all of the calories you have to eat every single day. And these aren’t just any calories. It has to be the good ones or it is just stored as fat. If you eat the wrong foods and just try to stuff your body with calories while you sling the weights around, you will just end up as a fat man or woman with muscles.

Whenever you see those big muscle head weight lifters, understand that they spend just as much time eating and preparing their next mini-meal as they do grunting through their workouts.

For the average adult that would like to cut some body fat while adding 5 to 10 pounds of muscle, the following foods can help you get bigger faster.

Broccoli

10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle
Credit: Opensource

I eat broccoli almost every day but it has not always been the case.  My broccoli habit just started this year. I have eaten more of it in the last 5 months than I have my entire life.

Guys, listen up to this one.  High volume foods like broccoli reduce estrogen.[2] Yes, you produce it too. By the way, you want to avoid soy because it promotes estrogen, particularly man boobs. Stay away from soy.

One of the minerals in broccoli, Indole-3- carbinol, can interact with the genes responsible for putting together estrogen receptors by either blocking their action or decreasing their effectiveness.[2]  This allows you to minimize the negative effects on your muscle growth.

Eggs

Somewhere around the 1970s, eggs begin to get a bad rap. Fortunately, their reputation is

10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle
recovering.

Whole eggs are essential if you are trying to pack on muscle. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, B12, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus, and zinc.[4]

Two or three eggs before a workout is a great way to get some quick energy and a protein injection your muscles need.

Black Beans

10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle
Credit: Opensource

These are my favorite kind of bean. I eat them several times a week, usually in a burrito of some type.

Black beans are loaded with vitamins B, K, C, and A which are low in saturated fats. It’s a high protein and 15 grams of fiber that is low in calories.[3]

Greek Yogurt

10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle

This brand of yogurt has twice the amount of protein as the regular kind because of the way it is strained. This process produces a higher concentration of casein, which provides the body with a steady increase in blood amino-acid levels.[4]

Just be sure to get the non-sweetened version. Avoid anything that is sweetened with fruity flavors or aspartame.

My preferred brand is the nonfat plain Fage, but the full or reduced fat versions are not necessarily bad for you. Greek yogurt has a great combination of protein and carbohydrates that your muscles need post workout to repair the damage you just inflicted.

Cottage Cheese

10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle
Credit: Stu Spivack via Wikicommons

Not a favorite of mine but it is great for muscle building. Like Greek yogurt, it also contains casein and a whopping 28 grams of protein per cup.[3]

Look for the varieties that are low-fat and low or no sugar and salt.

Chocolate Milk

10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle
Credit: Opensource

Yes, Chocolate milk, within reason, is a great post workout drink.

Chocolate milk contains a blend of fast digesting whey protein and slow digesting casein protein.[1]

It also has the antioxidants in cocoa that can reduce muscle damage that occurs after intense workouts.

Yes, it has sugar added, but post workouts, your muscles will soak up those carby sugars to repair themselves.

Several studies have shown that it is even better than sports drinks like Gatorade for post workouts. It has been shown to resynthesize muscle glycogen, stop muscle breakdown through multiple channels, supporting muscle-protein synthesis at the molecular level.[1]

Almonds

10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle
Credit: Opensource

Almonds are full of protein and fiber which helps you feel fuller longer, while you repair muscles.  One half cup of almonds contains about 160 calories and 6 grams of protein making it a great snack throughout the day.[3]

Go easy though because they are high in calories. A cup of almonds a day should give you the benefits you need for muscle repair and growth.

The best way I have found to eat them is to buy the almond slivers. They are easier to drop in things like oatmeal or healthier cereals. You can also blend them in a blender with some water to make almond milk. Add a little almond butter spread and mix it all up, and it is great.

Almonds are high in B vitamins and vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help prevent free radical damage after hard workouts.

Avocados

10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle
Credit: Opensource

Avocados have the good fat, plus 20 different essential nutrients. An average sized avocado contains about 10 grams of fiber and 15 grams of monounsaturated fat.[3]

Every time I eat Mexican food, I try to have avocado somewhere in the meal. However, they do ripen very fast and once you cut one open, it is best to eat it right away. If you want to save one that is cut open, squirt some lemon juice on it to slow down the process.

One thing you do not want to do is put any avocado dip in a smoothie. I tried about a spoonful once and it was horrible. It overpowered everything else.

Quinoa

Quinoa
Credit: Opensource

If you are looking for an alternative to brown rice, try quinoa. It may look a little bit like rice, but it is actually a grain. One cup of it contains 222 calories, 8 grams of protein.[4] It has more zone and magnesium and twice the fiber as brown rice. Quinoa contains all the essential amino acids.

Unlike brown rice, quinoa is very low on the glycemic index. That means the carbs in it will burn slower after you eat therefore your blood sugar will not spike to high levels.

Spinach

10 Foods That Help You Build Muscle
Credit: Opensource

You probably already know that Spinach is a super food with many antioxidants. However, studies have shown that the high calcium amounts within it can help relax muscles after intense interval training.[4]

If you ever have the twitches after a hard workout, you know what I mean. Sometimes after I do a lot of pull-ups, my back will twitch for hours.

The easiest way for me to eat spinach is to blend it in a smoothie. It pulverizes easily allowing you to mix it with just about anything.

Summary

So if you are looking to pack on a few pounds of muscle, try to get more of these foods in your diet.  There are lots of others that could have made this list such as salmon, turkey, lentils and beets.

Not only do these types of foods promote weight loss by revving up your metabolism, or supplying you with energy to workout harder, but they aid in the repair of your muscles after a hard workout.

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Comments

Jun 5, 2014 8:18pm
Goodnews
This is a great list. I've been looking for foods that are not so expensive. I will try these with my new workout routine. Thanks.
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Bibliography

  1. "Got Milk? Try Chocolate After Your Workout." Fitness Magazine. 16/05/2014 <Web >
  2. "What Supplements Block Estrogen?." Live Strong. 16/05/2014 <Web >
  3. "8 Unexpected Muscle-Building Foods." Muscle & Fitness. 16/05/2014 <Web >
  4. "Foods That Help Muscle Recovery." National CMT Resource Center. 16/05/2014 <Web >

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