What are builder foods?
If your goal is to gain mass and build muscle, you better be ready to eat. Not all the squats, bench presses, and push-ups in the universe will get you very far unless you’re consuming builder foods — and that means lean, rich, and complete protein.
Prioritize these 30 protein-rich foods and you’ll ensure your body has everything it needs to capitalize on all your hard work in the gym.
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Eggs have been vilified for years as an artery-clogging food. But additional research into the role of dietary cholesterol and heart disease shows that for most people, the two are not linked. Since then, eggs have returned to the spotlight as natural food, especially for building serious muscle. The cholesterol found in egg yolks serves as the scaffold for steroid hormones, and half a gram of leucine in each egg is like throwing gasoline on a muscle-building fire.
Nuts are a must for anyone struggling to gain muscle weight. One ounce (38g) of cashews or almonds contains 150-170 high-quality calories. Nuts are the perfect blend of protein, fat and fiber, allowing you to get the extra calories you need without them showing through your waistline. They’re also extremely portable, making them perfect for snacking during the day if you need to up your calorie intake.
A protein and carbohydrate recovery shake should be the cornerstone of your muscle building program. Drinking a protein and carbohydrate shake before your workout sets the stage for optimal muscle growth and nutrient usage. Research from several universities shows that this combination of energy nutrition stops excessive muscle breakdown, increases protein synthesis, quickly replenishes muscle energy stores, increases blood flow to the muscles, regulates creatine transport, and improves the capacity. of the body to process and use carbohydrates for hours after your workout.
Whole fat cottage cheese
The muscle-building powers of cottage cheese come from two different components. Cottage cheese contains a high proportion of casein, the slow-digesting milk protein. When you consume casein, your blood amino acid levels rise slowly and remain elevated longer than if you had ingested whey (the other dairy protein). Cottage cheese also contains live cultures – otherwise known as good bacteria – that will help you break down and absorb all the nutrients you need to grow and strengthen.
Chickpeas should be your carbohydrate source at all times. If you’re having trouble growing and staying lean, replace some of the rice and grains in your diet with chickpeas. This versatile bean contains 45 grams of slow-acting carbs per cup, plus 12 grams of fiber.
For decades, beef has remained at the top of the list of the best muscle-building foods — and for good reason! Beef contains a combination of muscle building proteins such as essential amino acids, B vitamins and creatine. Beef also contains a blend of saturated fat, which can support healthy levels of testosterone and monounsaturated fat, for heart health. As an added benefit, people who eat more red meat report feeling lower levels of anxiety and stress, according to research from the University of Melbourne.
Roast chicken should be your emergency muscle food. Available in almost every supermarket, roast chicken provides ready-to-eat protein in a delicious package. Eat one or two chicken breasts, or mix and match light and dark meat – whatever suits your diet.
Lentils should be your secret weapon for building muscle. A cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of slow-digesting quality carbs. They are also very inexpensive and have a long shelf life. They cook in just 10 minutes and can be added mixed with brown rice, sprinkled over a salad or eaten as a stand-alone side dish.
Salmon contains high-quality protein and long-chain omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA. These omega-3 fatty acids are best known for their ability to improve heart health, but they also inhibit muscle breakdown and increase the anabolic capacity of amino acids. If you don’t like to eat fish, take a fish oil supplement to reap these benefits.
fermented dairy products
Fermented dairy products like kefir are a little-known magic potion. a for muscle building. Kefir is the perfect addition to any muscle-building mix, offering distinct nutritional advantages over plain water or milk. If you often use water in your shakes, 1 cup of kefir will add 150 calories to your diet. Compared to regular milk, kefir will allow your meal to be more easily digested due to the presence of probiotics (up to 10 billion good bacteria per cup). These healthy bacteria will help keep your digestive tract running at peak condition so it can break down and assimilate the maximum amount of calories and nutrients from your meals.
Looking for an even leaner alternative to beef with lots of flavor? Look at the bison. Bison meat contains just 2-3 grams of fat per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving — beef has several times that, averaging 8-9 grams of fat in a comparable cut. It also has fewer calories per ounce, making it a precious source of protein for people trying to stay lean.
Like many seafoods, scallops are lean, high in protein, and endlessly useful for cooking. Soft and flavorful, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) scallop has 15 grams of protein with about half a gram of fat. If you live near the coast (or just a high-end fishmonger), buy some of these for your next muscle-building meal.
Grab the most nutritious item you can think of, and there’s a good chance it still misses out compared to the tiny chia seed. Long touted by the indigenous peoples of South America as a source of strength and energy, chia seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, soluble fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Toss them in a shake or put it in an oatmeal bowl.
plain greek yogurt
Real Greek yogurt is even higher in protein than the regular variety and contains probiotics that stimulate gut bacteria. Be careful not to use flavored yogurts as they are often sneaky sugar bombs. (Add some fresh fruit.)
Cooked brown rice has five grams of protein per cup. It also has a relatively high amount of branched-chain amino acids, making it good muscle-building food.
Tuna is very high in protein and very lean, especially when compared to land animal proteins. However, if you are buying tuna steaks, look for sustainably caught tuna as they are a fish species. A single 5-ounce (141-gram) can of chunky white tuna (actually yellowfin, a relative of tuna) contains 30 grams of protein.
Some pork products are very fatty – watch out for the bacon! – but pork loin is relatively lean and still contains a lot of protein, making it a great muscle-building food. It is also widely available in plain packaging and is quite easy to prepare like a master.
Hemp – yes, the stuff related to marijuana – is an infinitely useful plant and its seeds are no exception. Hemp seeds (often sold as a protein powder) are not only high in protein but also contain healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a number of healthy benefits. Bonus: It’s highly digestible, making it a great vegetarian alternative for people who have trouble digesting whey.
Flax is not just a pretty flower. Flaxseed is a natural and diet-friendly source of fiber, fatty acids, and protein. Flaxseed has been shown to reduce hypertension, prevent skin cancer, fight depression and reduce the risk of liver disease. In addition, it is conveniently packaged in supplement pills, ground powder, and oil forms.
Inexpensive, widely available, high in fiber, low in fat, and high in protein for muscle building. Sure, beans require a bit of culinary creativity, but that makes them even easier to include in your diet. And did we mention they are cheap? Because they’re cheap.
Now growing in popularity, almond butter has a much better protein-to-fat ratio than peanut butter. It is also milder in flavor and, like unprocessed almonds (duh), contains vitamin B2 and vitamin E, helping to strengthen the immune system.
Mahi Mahi is easy to cook, tasty, and packs 16 grams of protein with very little fat into a 3 oz (100 grams) serving. Grill and serve with a little lemon and cilantro.
Astonished? Do not stay. Pea protein is easier on the stomach than milk-based forms of protein and contains muscle-building nutrients like