Both nutrition and physical activity are critical if you want to gain lean muscle. It’s essential to challenge your body through physical activity but without proper nutritional support, your progress will stall.
High-protein foods are very important for gaining muscle, but carbohydrates and fats are also necessary sources of energy.
If your goal is to gain lean muscle, you should focus on exercising regularly and eating more calories each day from muscle building foods.
Below are foods that will sure make you stronger and give you the endurance needed.
Eggs contain high-quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Eggs contain large amounts of the amino acid leucine, which is particularly important for muscle gain.
B vitamins are also critically important for a variety of processes in your body, including energy production.
Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health.
Each 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of salmon contains about 17 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and several important B vitamins. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in muscular health and may even increase muscle gain during exercise programs.
3. Chicken breast
There’s a good reason why chicken breasts are considered a staple for gaining muscle: They’re packed with protein. Each 3-ounce (85-gram) serving contains about 26.7 grams of high quality protein.
Chicken breasts also contain generous amounts of the B vitamins niacin and B6, which may be particularly important if you are active.
4. Greek yogurt
Dairy not only contains high-quality protein but also a mixture of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein.
Some research has shown that people experience increases in lean mass when they consume a combination of fast- and slow-digesting dairy proteins.
In addition to 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce (85-gram) serving, tuna contains high amounts of vitamin A and several B vitamins, including B12, niacin, and B6. These nutrients are important for optimal health, energy, and exercise performance.
This may be particularly important for older adults. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can slow the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with age.
6. Lean beef
Beef is packed with high-quality protein, B vitamins, minerals, and creatine.
Some research has even shown that consuming lean red meat can increase the amount of lean mass gained with weight training.
Even when you’re trying to gain muscle, it may be best to choose beef that supports muscle gain without providing too many extra calories.
Half a cup (86 grams) of cooked soybeans contains 16 grams of protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and several vitamins and minerals.
Soybeans are a particularly good source of vitamin K, iron, and phosphorus.
Iron is used to store and transport oxygen in your blood and muscles, and a deficiency can impair these functions.
People who menstruate may be particularly at risk of iron deficiency due to blood loss during their cycle.
8. Turkey breast
A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of turkey breast contains around 26 grams of protein and almost no fat or carbs.
Turkey is also a good source of the B vitamin niacin, which helps process fats and carbohydrates in your body.
Although it doesn’t have as much omega-3 fatty acids as salmon, tilapia is another protein-packed seafood item.
A single (87-gram) fillet provides around 23 grams of protein, along with good amounts of vitamin B12 and selenium.
Vitamin B12 is important for the health of your blood cells and nerves, which allows you to perform the exercise you need to gain muscle.
Many different types of beans can be part of a diet for lean muscle gain.
Popular varieties — such as black, pinto, and kidney beans — contain around 15 grams of protein per cup (about 172 grams) of cooked beans.
What’s more, they are excellent sources of fiber and B vitamins, in addition to being high in magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. For these reasons, beans are a good source of plant-based protein to add to your diet.
What’s more, they may play a role in long-term health and disease prevention.
11. Protein powders
While any good diet should focus on whole foods, there are times when dietary supplements can be beneficial.
If you have trouble getting enough protein from foods alone, you could consider adding protein shakes to your daily routine.
Dairy protein powders, such as whey and casein, are some of the most popular. Other protein powders use soy, pea, beef, or chicken protein.
Peanuts contain a mix of protein, fat, and carbs. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains 7 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, and large amounts of unsaturated fat.
They also contain higher amounts of the amino acid leucine than many other plant products.
Each 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of peanuts 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.
Additionally, nuts are thought to play an important role in an overall healthy diet.