The 5 Best Muscle-Building Foods (That Aren't Just For Gym Junkies)
Our bodies are designed to move and everyone should try to be active, even if you live an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Make sure you're getting these 5 important foods into your diet whether you're a triathlete, bodybuilder, or weekend warrior.
Top of the list for their many health benefits are eggs. This natural 'super food' sometimes gets a bad rap due to the high cholesterol levels, however a healthy dose of eggs in your daily diet coupled with regular exercise and living a generally healthy lifestyle is nothing bad at all.
Why are eggs good for you?
The reason eggs are so good for building muscle is because they are a 'complete protein' meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids, the ones that the human body can't produce itself, as well as 9 other non-essential amino acids. You can get around 13g of protein by eating two eggs which isn't a huge amount but will still be beneficial for building muscle.
Lean meat like turkey and chicken are fantastic foods for building muscle as they contain a high amount of protein and not much else; they have a very low carb and fat content and no nasties if they are not overly processed.
Why is turkey good for you? Why is turkey healthier than chicken?
Turkey has a marginally higher protein content than chicken – turkey on average has 29g of protein per 100g while chicken has 27g per 100g – and on average has fewer calories and a slightly lower fat content and so this means it is the poultry of choice for many bodybuilders. However, turkey can often be more expensive than chicken so really it's up to you as the differences in nutrition are minimal.
The white meat is lower in calories and fat than the dark meat so it's best to opt for the breast rather than leg if you can.
Grilled turkey breast served with vegetables is the ideal muscle-building meal and will also aid with fat loss as part of an overall healthy diet along with regular exercise.
When we think tuna, most people will think of canned tuna which has suffered a bad reputation n the past due to the fear that the elevated mercury levels can harm your health. However, tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can improve your heart health and strengthen your immune system.
Why is tuna good for you?
Tuna is another food that is very rich in protein, delivering around 30g of protein per 100g which puts it above everything else on this list in terms of protein content. It is also rich in potassium which can lower your blood pressure as well as Vitamin B which strengthens your bones.
Tuna is popular in Asian cuisine and is very healthy and rich in protein.
The 'low fat' movement was hugely debunked by many scientists, bloggers, and anyone interested in being truly healthy. We now know that if a food is being marketed as 'low fat' it's probably high in sugar and/or various other nasty chemicals. However, Greek yogurt will always be a great option that is truly low in fat without any of the compromise.
Why is Greek yogurt good for you?
Greek yogurt is unique because it goes through a straining process to remove the whey which contains lactose, a natural sugar found in dairy. It is the removal of the whey that makes Greek yogurt taste so much sharper than other yogurts but it is also what makes it lower in sugar and therefore better for your health.
Unflavoured Greek yogurt with no added sugar or flavourings contains on average only around 60 calories per 100 g and 10 g of protein, so nearly as much as your two eggs with a tiny fraction of the cholesterol. Greek yogurt is also rich in calcium and potassium, two nutrients which are great for building bone strength and keeping you healthy.
Due to the fact the lactose is strained out of Greek yogurt, it is one of the most easily digestible dairy products and can even be eaten by some people who need to follow a free-from diet.
Greek yogurt is strained to remove the lactose so it is healthier than regular yogurt, but be careful how you eat it as added sugar in toppings could undo its healthiness.
Not many people realise this but a truly healthy diet will feature two portions of fish and/or oily fish per week, of which salmon is a prime example.
Why is salmon good for you?
Oily fish like salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are excellent for heart health and the equally rich protein content will help with your muscle building endeavours. Salmon contains on average 20g of protein per 100g putting in the middle of the range on this list but still putting it in the 'high' category in general.