Best Protein Foods for Building Muscle
Eating high-quality protein every day is essential for building muscle. If you’re determined to put on some serious muscle mass, all your meals should have high quality protein.
Among other functions, proteins are necessary to repair damaged muscle tissue, helping you recover and making you stronger. Proteins are made from chains of smaller molecules called amino acids. Twenty amino acids are required by the body for the protein synthesis processes.
We list some of the best protein foods for building serious size (not necessarily in order of importance). Get acquainted with high quality protein sources that will keep your body in a high anabolic state.
A single cooked egg can feed your body with 6 grams of high bioavailable protein. It also contains a good amount of healthy fats and healthy cholesterol that help contributes to hormone production and overall health. Eggs are also packed with a full range of vitamins, minerals and powerful carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. So next time you shop for eggs, pick up 12 rather than six!
It’s no coincidence that beef is an important part of a bodybuilder’s diet. Beef contains the key amino acids necessary for muscle growth. It is rich in iron, vitamin B12 and zinc, an essential mineral for the production of testosterone. In addition, it is also a natural source of the strength booster creatine, an essential amino acid for the production of energy that also supports muscle gains. Depending on the cut, 100 g of beef can give you between 25 to 35 grams of protein to support muscle growth.
Chicken and turkey are, together with red meat, great protein sources that must be present in any muscle building diet. Plus, they have the advantage of having fewer amounts of saturated fats than red meat, helping to keep excess body-fat at bay.They are both rich sources of vitamin B and selenium, a mineral shown to naturally increase hormone production. 100 Grams of chicken or turkey feed you between 18 to 25 grams of high quality protein, so make friends with the white meat and you could be making all sorts of huge gains.
Fatty fish are also among the must-eat foods to any person who wants to put on noticeable size. One hundred grams of these fatty fish provides you with 23 to 27 grams of protein as well as the amino acid creatine (more or less 1 gram per 220 g). Fatty fish are also one of the best sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which can contribute to muscle protein synthesis and help reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. It’s no wonder our fishing hunter ancestors were muscularly–built!
Milk happens to be an excellent source of casein (slow release protein) and whey (fast release protein), two of the most popular protein sources for the gym goers. Milk is made of 80% casein and 20% whey and can really help your muscle-building efforts. Hardgainers can try the “Gallon of Milk A Day” protocol. That’s right – a full gallon of milk every day! The GOMAD, as it’s known, is a popular weight-gain approach not only by hardgainers but also for people who are bulking. That’s because besides containing a hefty dose of protein, milk is also rich in fat, making it a rich-calorie food.
Soy is known to be the only vegetable complete protein source, and is a great alternative for those who may be intolerant to milk. That means soy products contain all the essential amino acids for the body. Soy is rich in leucine, the most important BCAA that ignites protein synthesis and muscle growth. The options are vast: soy milk, soy yogurt, tofu and soybeans. Soy protein powders are also an excellent choice with the added bonus of having low amounts of carbohydrates and fats.
Nuts are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, being inevitably a high calorie food (average 600 kcal / 100g). In addition, they also have a considerable amount of proteins and are packed with some important minerals such as calcium, iron and phosphorus. The choices are vast: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios and peanuts. Nut butters are also excellent options and you can choose from delicious peanut butters, cashew butters or almond butters. So next time you’re at the supermarket, go nuts!
Besides being a good source of protein (average 8 g / 100g), beans are also a great source of fiber, which can help you feeling satiated for longer. Additionally they’re also easy to combine with other foods such as rice or potatoes and can equally be added to soups or salads. Reap the rewards by adding more beans to your diet.
Cheese is a practical way of adding protein to your meals. Cottage and parmesan cheeses are among the best options available. Depending on the brand, 100 g of parmesan cheese can provide you with 30 to 40 grams of protein. One hundred grams of cottage cheese can provide you with 10 to 13 grams of protein. You can easily add it to your protein shakes or desserts. Little effort, high reward.
Take Home Message
You should seek to vary the protein sources you choose to add to your diet. This will not only help you consume all necessary amino acids in the required quantities, but will also make your diet less dull.
What about you? Which protein sources usually make up your daily diet?
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.