Avoid Protein Shakes: 8 Muscle-Strengthening Foods to Eat Instead

You don’t have to be an aspiring bodybuilder to care about muscle mass. In fact, maintaining healthy muscle mass is one of the many ways we stay healthy and improve our overall well-being, especially as we age. And, along with a balanced exercise and strength training regimen, our diet is a critical factor in building and maintaining strong muscle.

Protein, in particular, plays a key role in supporting muscle growth. This collection of amino acids makes up a large part of our muscle and body tissues. It’s an essential part of your diet, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it daily. protein shakes to get enough. While this is certainly one way to boost your protein intake, you can find it in many delicious whole food sources.

With a little effort, it’s easy to add lots of protein-rich foods and other muscle-building nutrients to your diet. In this article, we’ll look at how various foods help build muscle — and the best things to eat if you’re trying to increase your strength.

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How food helps build muscle

Although protein is essential for muscle building, is not the only important food component in the process. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a good muscle-building diet should also include plenty of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. A balanced diet that includes all of these will provide you with the ingredients you need to help repair and rebuild your muscles after a workout.

Overall, the NASM recommends that most people consume at least 0.7 to 0.8 grams of protein and 1.8 to 3.2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight per day. Total calorie intake also plays a role in muscle building as it is difficult to build muscle if you are burning more calories than you consume.

Diet alone is not enough to stimulate muscle growth. Exercise – especially resistance training, such as lifting weights – is necessary to start the process. When you tear apart the fibers in your muscles, it stimulates cell growth and repair. This is when your body can use the food you’ve eaten to rebuild and strengthen muscle tissue. Other factors also influence how effective and efficient this process is, from when you eat your food and how much rest you give your muscles between workouts to your hormone levels and genetic makeup.

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8 foods to optimize your gains

While there are many factors at play in building muscle, there is no doubt that diet plays a key role. Here are eight muscle building foods you can eat to optimize your workouts and increase your muscle mass.

1. Eggs

Eggs have long been considered a powerful food, and for good reason. They are incredibly rich in fat and protein nutrients and include a potent blend of vitamins like B12, B6 and thiamine. Their nutrient-dense profile makes them especially powerful, but more importantly, they contain a good dose of leucine. This amino acid is known for its muscle building prowess.

2. Pisces

If you already get enough fat in your diet but need to increase your protein intake, look no further than fish. It’s one of the best lean sources of protein you can eat and it’s full of other vitamins and minerals. A bonus? Fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. While they are known for their many other health benefits, omega-3s can also improve muscle performance and help prevent muscle loss. Salmon and tuna are particularly great food choices for building muscle.

See More information: Best seafood delivery services for 2022

3. Nuts

When consumed in moderation, walnuts are an excellent choice for building muscle. These tasty snacks offer a perfect blend of protein, fat and fiber, making them one of the most balanced ways to supplement your workouts. You have to be careful, however, as many nuts (including peanuts, which are actually legumes) are high in calories. For the most nutrient-dense options, try almonds or walnuts.

4. Soy

If you’re trying to build muscle on a meatless diet, soy should be one of your closest friends. These are one of the most nutrient-dense legumes you can eat and contain a potent amount of protein to help with muscle building. Soy contains all nine essential amino acids, making it one of the best plant-based protein sources available.

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5. Greek yogurt

Dairy products are a unique source of protein because they provide a combination of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein. When consumed together, these two types of protein can increase and prolong the protein synthesis process your muscles go through during rebuilding, helping you build your lean mass. Greek yogurt is a great dairy choice because it contains twice the protein compared to regular yogurt and has additional probiotic health benefits that you don’t find in milk or cheese.

6. Cottage cheese

It doesn’t offer the same probiotic benefits as yogurt, but cottage cheese is a great second choice for dairy-based proteins. In fact, cottage cheese contains more protein than Greek yogurt, while having the same combination of slow and fast digestion. It’s a particularly great source of casein and provides a significant calorie boost if you need to make sure you’re getting enough.

7. Olive oil

It may not seem like your typical bodybuilding food, but extra virgin olive oil has become increasingly popular for its muscle benefits in recent years. Widely known as a source of healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil also helps reduce inflammation and slow down muscle breakdown. Both of these features can help with any muscle building regimen.

8. Quinoa

They don’t call quinoa a superfood for nothing. This dynamic grain (it’s a seed, but classified as a whole grain) contains a little bit of everything, including lots of protein, fiber, and carbs, plus a good dose of vitamins and minerals. It’s a perfect food to build muscle and maximize the benefits of your workouts.

Cooked quinoa in a wooden bowl with a green garnish.

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A recipe for stronger muscles

Adding these muscle building foods to your diet will definitely help you on the way to increasing muscle mass and increasing your strength. Remember, though, that building muscle takes time — and dieting is just one piece of the puzzle. Combining a balanced diet of protein-rich foods with healthy exercise and rest will speed up your journey and improve your overall health along the way.

See More information: Lose weight and gain muscle at the same time with body recomposition

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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