A list of healthy foods that build muscle.
Building muscle is a great way to strengthen the body, boost overall health and protect the joints from weakening with age. Muscle growth has also been shown to improve mental health and boost the immune system. In order to build strong and healthy muscles, you need to be eating the right foods full of nutrients and amino acids. These will provide the raw materials that the body uses to build muscle fibre and connective tissues.
In this article, we will share with you a list of 16 foods that build muscle naturally.
1. Eggs: Eggs contain all the building blocks of life and are rich in protein, vitamins and natural fats. Egg protein provides all 9 amino acids that the body uses to make muscle fibre. Always purchase only pasture-raised organic eggs, as these contain more nutrients.
2. Avocados: When building muscles, the body needs certain minerals and vitamins. These feed the enzymes that convert your food into muscle. Enzymes are the bodies “factory workers” that convert food fuels into tissues. Avocados provide an enormous amount of potassium, which helps the cells to absorb protein. The healthy fats in avocados also boost “growth hormone” which triggers muscle growth.
3. Bone Broth for muscle growth: Bone broth is by far one of the best drinks you can consume when building muscle. It is a great source of collagen and amino acids. Drinking this reduces inflammation and speeds up recovery time after a workout.
4. Lentils: These are an excellent source of plant-based protein which is perfect for those on a plant-based diet. Vegans and vegetarians often eat these daily. These legumes are also high in fibre which feeds friendly bacteria in the gut. Studies show that this can boost muscle mass.
5. Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, similar to those in avocados. These stimulate the production of muscle protein in the body, at the cellular level. It also reduces inflammation for faster recovery. This works well in healthy salad dressings.
6. Kale: Many professional athletes consume only 80-100g of protein per day and have very large muscles. Surp rising, the body doesn’t require enormous amounts of protein. The best muscle builders eat lots of leafy greens such as Kale on a daily basis. This is packed with plant-based nutrients that help the body to synthesize protein for muscle growth.
7. Salmon: Wild-caught salmon is one of the most balanced foods, with the perfect amount of fat and protein. The omega 3 fatty acids in salmon boost protein synthesis for bulking up muscles. Omega 3 is also anti-inflammatory which speeds up the muscle growth process.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar: Drinking 1-2 tablespoons of ACV in a glass of water with meals, is one of the best ways to absorbs more nutrients. This strengthens the stomach and allows it to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients. This boosts energy levels, muscle growth and reduces aching and pain from workouts.
9. Oysters: Shellfish like oysters are rich in minerals including Zinc. This boosts the testosterone hormone which is very important when building muscle. It interacts with nuclear receptors in DNA which triggers protein synthesis and increases growth hormone.
10. Walnuts: We highly recommend eating a handful of nuts each day, especially walnuts. These are a great source of plant-based protein, and nutrients that improve brain health. Iodine in walnuts also helps to balance thyroid hormones when exercising, and promoting an overall clean, lean and healthy body.
11. Blueberries: Dark berries provide important antioxidants that the body needs to grow and repair tissues. The darkest berries like blueberries and blackberries provide anthocyanins. These are anti-ageing phytochemicals which help blood flow to the muscles, enhance metabolic performance and reduce muscle fatigue.
12. Cottage Cheese: Many bodybuilders choose to eat cottage cheese at night time, before sleeping. It helps to release amino acids into the blood and muscles through the night and is packed full of casein protein. This form of protein digests slowly and provides compounds that boost your immune system.
13. Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast is one of the best sources of the Vitamin B complex, which helps the breakdown of protein and carbs in the body. These vitamins boost muscle repair and prevent cramping and aches. They also reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone) which can cause muscles to breakdown if left unchecked.
14. Beef: A healthy red meat which is also a rich source of Vitamin B6 and B12. Beef is excellent in the development of healthy muscles and provides energy to the body. It is also very high in iron which supports blood cells in transporting oxygen around the body. Iron can stimulate cell growth, especially in muscle tissue.
15. Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is one of the best sources of Vitamin C which helps to flush the muscles of lactic acid. This also detoxifies the blood for better athletic performance and higher energy levels. Drink this in water each day to supercharge your body for faster muscle growth and repair.
16. Spinach: Be sure to load up on leafy greens every single day to rapidly build up your musculature. Studies show that spinach, broccoli, arugula, beet tops, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veggies, are absolutely vital for building strong muscles. These greens trigger enzymes which convert protein to muscle and prevent muscle breakdown with time. They also detoxify the liver and protect the cardiovascular system with exercise.
As you can see, there are many foods that you can eat to build muscle quickly and naturally. Building muscle isn’t all about protein, in fact, the body doesn’t need large amounts of protein for muscle growth. A good rule of thumb is to eat around 0.8 – 1g of protein per pound of body weight per day. Loading up leafy greens, healthy fats, and nutrients from other foods are important. These foods are the real builders of protein, as they feed the important enzymes in the body. As mentioned earlier, enzymes are the “factory workers” which convert food-based protein and amino acids, into body muscle. Insulin is another important factor when it comes to building muscle. If you have too much insulin, your cells may reject energy and protein. For this reason, you should aim to keep sugars and processed carbs out of the diet. These can cause insulin resistance which blocks energy from going into the cell, therefore slowing muscle growth. Intermittent fasting is another excellent way to reduce insulin resistance, and allow the body to produce more body muscle cells. This is where you eat all of your calories in a shorter window during the day. Many large muscle builders eat only one meal a day and have the most excellent stamina and recovery rates. You should also be reducing your stress levels, like cortisol (the stress hormone) can lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue, by converting it into sugars. Drinking herbal teas or using essential oils in diffusers helps to calm the nervous system and reduce cortisol. Better sleep quality also leads to faster muscle growth, as growth hormone is activated during sleep. Always remember that muscles build during recovery, so make sleep a priority every single day.