10 Foods to Build Muscle
So you want to build muscle—great! In addition to your daily exercise routine, make sure you’re giving your body all the building blocks it needs through your diet. After taking your daily 2oz of Vemma for your essential vitamins and minerals, check out these ten foods to help your body build muscle:
- Lentils: A slow-burning carbohydrate, one cup contains about 18 g of protein. They also have an added bonus of a long shelf life so you can stock up. Lentils are also very versatile in that they can be eaten alone or added to other foods like salad so you can get your greens while you pack on the protein.
- Eggs: Remember in Beauty and the Beast when Gaston claims to have eaten four dozen eggs as a lad to help him get large? Four dozen eggs is a bit excessive, but there is some truth to Gaston’s song. Each egg contains about 6g of high quality protein as well as vitamins and all eight essential amino acids for optimal muscle recovery.
- Chia Seeds: A member of the mint family, chia seeds are 20% protein, more than most other grains and seeds. Chia seeds are tiny, but tossing a couple tablespoons in your Vemma Shake can give you an edge when it comes to building muscle.
- Beans: “Beans, beans the musical fruit . . .” Beans may have had some bad press, but they’re an excellent source of muscle-building protein while being high in fiber and low in fat.
- Venison: Deer meat has a 9-to-1 protein to fat ratio make it as lean as chicken. However, be careful to not overcook it—the lack of fat means that if you’re not paying attention, the cooked meat will be tougher than your last circuit at the gym.
- Turkey: Turkey contains 21g of of protein in each 3oz serving and it contains all of the essential amino acids because it’s a complete protein. This is a great meat for maintaining the muscle you build, but be sure you don’t load up with too much gravy at Thanksgiving!
- Almond Butter: Although peanut butter has historically been more popular, almond butter can be healthier because it’s less likely to contain extra salt, oils, preservatives, or sugar (but always check the label to be sure). One tablespoon of almond butter “contains 101 calories and 79 of those are from fat. It works out to nine grams of total fat, one gram of saturated fat, three grams of carbohydrates and two grams of protein.” This food is super easy to incorporate into your diet, whether you’re adding it to your morning Vemma Shake or spreading it on apple slices or celery sticks for a snack.
- Greek Yogurt: Looking for an ideal post-workout snack? Grab some Greek yogurt! “It’s a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin D, which are good for muscles,” says Ilyse Schapiro, a registered dietitian with practices in New York and Connecticut. “Vitamin D is definitely important for your bones—you need strong and healthy bones to sustain muscles—and it impacts protein synthesis. People with low vitamin D levels have been shown to have decreased strength and greater muscle wasting.”
- Nuts: Nuts contain healthy fats and some protein. Depending on the variety, you can get 3-6g of protein per ounce of nuts. However, nuts are not a complete protein and they lack some essential amino acids. “They only help build brawn when paired with exercises that tax your muscles, such as weightlifting or pushups. Eating nuts or other protein sources immediately after your workout enables muscle growth” be be sure to pair them with another complete protein, like beans or legumes.
- Water: Okay, so this one isn’t technically a food, but proper hydration is so important for building muscle (and, really, for everything else)! While you’re working to grow your muscles, it’s essential that you drink enough water to compensate for all your hard work. “Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells and transport waste out of the body.” Additionally, “water helps form the structures of protein and glycogen. In order to move and flex your muscles, you need water. If your body is dehydrated, your muscles will be deprived of electrolytes and cramp. Since muscles are controlled by nerves, without the proper water and electrolyte balance, muscle strength and control will also be impaired.” All the healthy foods in the world won’t matter if you’re not staying hydrated, so keep that water bottle full and at hand!
What are some of your favorite foods for building muscle? Grab a can of Renew and let us know in the comments!
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