14 Great Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

January 12, 2020

14 Great Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle 

Diet is just as if not more important than exercise in terms of building lean muscle. When trying to put on lean muscle it is important you consume a high level of high-quality protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. It is also important you stay hydrated and get the rest your body needs to properly recover. Here are 14 great foods that help you build lean muscle. 

1. Eggs

14 Great Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

Eggs have the highest biological protein value—a measure of how well it supports your body's protein needs—of any other food. Packed with riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, B12, D, & E, iron, phosphorus, and zinc—eggs also contain all nine essential amino acids (amino acids that your body does not produce and therefore, needs to obtain through diet). And no, eating a couple of eggs in the morning will not increase your risk of heart disease. 

2. Almonds 

Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

Almonds are one of the absolute best sources of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E (the form that is best absorbed by your body). Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent free-radical damage after heavy workouts and allow your muscles to recover so they can begin the rebuilding process. Two to three handfuls a day should suffice. 

3. Water 

Water can help you build lean muscle

Not a food, yes, I know, however, it needs to be listed anyway. Your body is around 60% water and your muscles, alone, are made up of around 80% water. Therefore, you need to make sure you are drinking the proper amount to not only allow your body to recover but grow. 

There was a 1997 German study done that revealed protein synthesis occurs at a higher rate in muscle cells that are well hydrated, compared to dehydrated cells. Step 2 (behind sleep) to not only build and maintain lean muscle but to have a healthy life in general, is drink water. If you are not sure how much you should be drinking check out our other article's to find the exact amount of water you need to be drinking. 

4. Beef or Beef Substitutes

14 Great Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

Probably the most well-known protein food, beef is also a major source of iron and zinc, which are two crucial muscle-building nutrients. Beef is also the number one natural food source of creatine, which increases your ATP production and allows your muscles to recover faster and grow. For maximum muscle and fewer calories, look for lean beef. There are, however, excellent options for beef substitutes such as Beyond Meat

5. Coffee 

Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

Again, not a food, I know, but something that should be consumed if you want to maximize muscle growth and fat loss. Caffeine can increase fat burning by as much as 10% in obese individuals and as much as 29% in lean individuals. It also stimulates your nervous system signaling fat cells to break down body fat, thus making free fatty acids available as fuel. 

  • Certain studies estimate that caffeine can increase physical performance by 11-12%. 
  • Increases epinephrine, which prepares your body for intense physical activity.

6. Salmon

Salmon is an excellent food for helping build lean muscle

Salmon is packed with high-quality protein and good fats. More specifically, omega-3 fatty acids can decrease-muscle-protein breakdown. 

7. Shrimp

Shrimp can help you build lean muscle

Given that shrimp is almost pure protein, shrimp should be apart of your diet if you are looking to add on lean muscle. Each 3-ounce (185 grams) serving contains 18 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and zero carbs. Shrimp is as lean and mean as it gets. 

8. Fitore Pea Protein Isolate 

Fitore Nutrition PPI

One scoop of this incredibly high-quality, delicious protein contains only 160 calories, 25 grams of protein, and more amazingly, 0 grams of sugar. An incredibly easy and convenient way to get high-quality protein fast and with a limited number of calories. 

9. Turkey Breast

What foods help you build lean muscle?

This does not mean over-the-counter deli-style turkey that is loaded with preservatives. I mean good, lean, ground-turkey that needs to be cooked. A 3-ounce (85g) Turkey Breast contains around 25 grams of protein and almost no fat or carbs. Making it one of the optimal proteins for lean muscle growth. 

10. Edamame 

14 Foods that help you build lean muscle

A great alternative to animal-based proteins, one cup (155g) provides around 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, as well as large amounts of folate, vitamin K and manganese.

  • Folate helps the body process amino acids, which we know (or should know) from past readings are the building blocks of protein.

11.  Peanuts 

Peanuts can help you build lean muscle

An awesome mixture of fat, protein, and carbs make peanuts the ultimate snack. A half-cup (73g) contains 17 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbs, and large amounts of fat (good, yes good fat). An easy way to get extra calories, protein, fat, and carbs. 

12. Brown Rice 

Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

Not necessarily known as a protein source (cause it's not), brown rice does, however, provide you with the necessary carbohydrates to keep you going and pushing throughout your workout or even your day. A real, natural "good" carb source. 

13. Sweet Potatoes 

Foods that help build muscle

Recently crowned the world's "healthiest" vegetable, sweet potatoes are packed, and I mean packed, with a variety of nutrients. Vitamin A & C, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, pantothenic acid, copper, niacin, and also powerful antioxidants like beta-Carotene. Sweet potatoes are also quite great for digestion and are a fantastic natural carb source. 

14. Spinach 

Spinach Is great for helping you build lean muscle

Although you're probably not going to get a set of Popeye guns just by popping open a can of spinach, it does, however, provide a multitude of benefits. 

  • Spinach is nothing short of a superfood packed with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. 
  • Spinach is loaded with iron, vitamins, and minerals, and is also important for skin, hair, and bone health.

Overall, spinach has the nutrients you need to help keep you running at peak performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Foods that are great for building muscle

Q: What foods build muscles?

A: High protein, nutrient-dense foods are excellent for helping you build and maintain lean muscle. This includes spinach, kale, cage-free eggs, Fitore Nutrition PPI (Plant Protein Isolate), sweet potatoes, avocados, tilapia, salmon, and free-range cruelty-free turkey. 

Q: How can I gain lean muscle fast?

A: Unfortunately you cannot gain lean muscle fast, however, you can gain lean muscle faster by following these tips: Workout 4-5 days a week, eat a healthy, protein-rich, well-balanced diet, sleep 7-9 hours a night, do 15-20 minutes of cardio 3 days a week, and drinks lots and lots of water. 

Q: What drinks help build muscle?

A: First and foremost, the most important thing you need to be drinking is water. Secondly, a protein shake made with vegan protein powder, an amino acid blend or an electrolyte mix can help you build and maintain lean muscle. 

Q: What is the best muscle builder?

A: Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, whereas protein is what your muscles need to grow. An amino acid blend coupled with a protein-rich nutritious diet is naturally the best muscle builder. Adding creatine HCl into your diet could also help you maximize your training and build lean muscle more efficiently. 

Q: How do you gain lean muscle?

A: If you would like to gain lean muscle there is no magic pill, it takes hard work. This includes lifting weights, cardio, eating a well-balanced nutritious diet, sleeping 7-9 hours per night, and supplementing with high-quality supplements like an amino acid blend or creatine HCl mix.


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