This article contains some foods that can help in growing of muscle.
While the ultimate fate of those calories is decided largely by genetics, various lifestyle factors have a say, too. The amount and intensity of your workout, as well as the quality of your diet (hello, micronutrients), which regulate important hormones such as cortisol, testosterone and insulin.
Nutrient deficiencies can mess with more than just your calorie-sorting abilities. Missing out on vitamin E can cause muscle weakness and leg cramps, while inadequate vitamin A intake can result in dizziness, nausea, muscle and joint pain, and even loss of balance. Not conducive to a PB-crushing leg sesh.
You might already be regularly munching some of the foods below, others may come as a surprise – but trust us, all of them will fuel your mission to build lean muscle. Load up your shopping trolley with our best muscle food picks. Here are the best seven Foods to build muscle.
Another day, another article touting the benefits of eggs. Those golden orbs contain large amounts of the amino acid leucine, which is essential for post-exercise muscle recovery. Whole eggs in particular are considered to be something of a protein synthesis powerhouse. In fact, eating whole eggs after a workout elicits a 40 per cent greater muscle-building response than consuming egg whites alone, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found.
As well as a huge helping of complete protein (around 20g per 100g serve),
salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which optimise nutrient partitioning by reducing inflammation. Omega-3 increases insulin sensitivity, a study from Harvard University found, resulting in less insulin floating around in your bloodstream. A good thing, because insulin boosts fat storage. Just try to avoid reheating it in the office microwave.
3. Soy beans
If your goal is building lean, green muscle, soybeans are your most dependable option. Unlike other vegetarian sources of protein, those little legumes contain all nine essential amino acids, making them an essential vegan muscle food. Tofu, tempeh, and most vegetarian meat alternatives are made out of soy, which boasts around 36 grams per 100g serve.
Fruit isn’t your a-typical bodybuilding fare, but an exception can be made for
pineapple. It’s the only food known to contain bromelein, an enzyme that digests protein. Fun fact: pineapple is often uncomfortable to eat because the bromelain is digesting the skin on the inside of your mouth. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties will help soothe post-workout pain, tenderness and swelling.
5. Greek yogurt
As well as being loaded with fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein – around 10 grams total per 100g serve – Greek yogurt is a source of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Calcium is crucial for muscle contractions, while phosphorus is essential for creating ATP (the form of energy your body uses). According to research by Baylor University, a mix of whey and casein protein is the optimum combination for increasing lean mass.
Your co-workers may not thank you, but your biceps will. In a study published in
The Journal of Nutrition , garlic was shown to increase testosterone and lower cortisol in rats on a high-protein diet. How? It’s all to do with a compound within garlic called allicin, which reduces the amount of ‘stress hormone’ pumping around your body. Cortisol competes with testosterone in your muscle cells, so essentially less stress results in better gains.
7. Turkey breast
At 29 grams of protein per 100g, turkey is another big protein hitter. It’s also high in zinc, which is essential for protein synthesis and helps your body maintain healthy levels of testosterone, according to researchers at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Michigan, US.