Men's Health published the following list of foods that build muscle. If you don't have a subscription to Men's Health magazine, you should consider getting one. Read my review here.
The following list contains many not-so-obvious foods that can help you gain muscle. You won't see some of the well known muscle foods like chicken breast, tuna and salmon. In fact, some of these will surprise you.
Now, here is a list of some of the best muscle building foods.
30 Foods That Build Muscle
1. Sunflower Seeds
Eat a handful for a great snack. Sunflower seeds contain some protein and the powerful antioxidant vitamin E. Antioxidants help prevent free-radical damage from heavy workouts.
High in protein and healthy omega-3 fats.
Contains bromelain which is a protein-digesting enzyme. Pineapple can also help reduce muscle and tissue inflammation caused by training. It might be a useful addition to a post-workout meal.
4. Edamme Beans
Also known as soy beans. They're a great source of low-fat vegetable protein that contains all the essential amino acids (which are very important for building muscle). A good food for building muscle.
5. Olive Oil
This one has to be on any list of foods that build muscle. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil helps stop muscle tissue breakdown and it can also help protect your joints.
A lean meat that is high in protein and vitamin B12. Without B12, your body can't utilize protein effectively. You can buy it minced to make burgers.
Ahhh, the tasty little bonsai trees. NOT! But they are a great source of vitamin C. Men's Health says there was a study at the University of South Carolina that found that high-doses of broccoli before and after exercise reduces muscle soreness. Lightly steam it.
Definitely a quality food that builds muscle. Eggs contain the essential amino acids needed to build and repair muscles. The yolk contains a high level of vitamin D which helps maintain healthy muscle tissue. Eggs are also cheap!
Huh? Coffee? Men's Health writes "A study by the University of Georgia found caffeine improves endurance by easing muscle pain, so you can train for longer." Just don't overdo it.
Full of protein and omega 3.
According to a study at the University School of Medicine in Atlanta, a compound found in turmeric called curcumin triggers cell growth, helping promote muscle repair and growth.
12. Full Fat Organic Milk
A glass of full-fat is rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA reduces fat and preserves muscle tissue according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition.
Alleviates muscle stiffness and pain.
14. Grass Fed Organic Beef
There's probably nothing better than pure beef protein for building muscle. Men's Health says "Make sure it's grass-fed - grazing cattle have a higher CLA content in their flesh than those lazy hay-munchers."
15. Live Natural Yogurt
The pro-biotics in live yogurt increase the good bacteria in your gut that helps you digest protein and absorb other important muscle friendly nutrients.
Watercress has lots of iron. According to a Cornell University study, iron reduces muscle fatigue associated with strenuous exercise.
17. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)
One of the few vegetable sources of complete protein. Complete proteins contain all your essential amino acids. Too bad it tastes like cardboard.
18. Ricotta Cheese
Made from whey protein which helps boost muscle growth. You can add it to scrambled eggs or spread it on toast and jelly instead of butter.
19. Kiwi Fruit
I loves me some kiwi! This tasty fruit is a source of vitamin C.
Tahini (made from sesame seeds) is loaded with zinc and plays a role in cell growth, DNA and protein synthesis.
Its skin contains silica, which is an important component of healthy connective tissue.
This famous holiday bird contains protein and glutamine (an amino acid found in muscle tissue). It increases protein synthesis which will contribute to more muscle mass. One of the popular foods that build muscle.
23. Almond Butter
Contains some protein and magnesium which aids muscle contractions.
This juicy fruit contains a compound called papain, which breaks proteins down into easily absorbable compounds.
A great source of chromium. Chromium improves glucose uptake into muscle cells. That should give you extra energy for your workout.
26. Red Peppers
Peppers have lots of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps muscle recovery by neutralizing free-radicals. Red peppers contain more vitamin C than green ones.
Spirulina is a good source of protein and the antioxidant beta-carotene. You can add some to a smoothie.
At the top of the list in terms of importance! Keeping your muscles hydrated is huge for building muscle. Even slight dehydration will hurt exercise performance and recovery.
29. Cherry Juice
Supposedly, a study in the British Journal of Sport Medicine found that cherry juice reduces muscle pain and damage caused by exercise. The study also found an improvement in muscle strength in those drinking the juice.
Spinach contains octacosanol, a substance shown to increase muscular strength and endurance. It's also high in the antioxidant vitamin E.
There you have - 30 foods that build muscle. Eat up and enjoy!