7 Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

Regardless of your health and fitness goals, increasing muscle mass should be a common goal for everyone who is looking to decrease overall body fat. Increasing lean muscle improves resting metabolism, as muscle uses more calories than fat does.

Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

For those looking to improve muscle mass significantly, we recommend that you include a weight-lifting program, ideally designed by a trainer, to target areas of growth. 

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Add in cardio as well to torch calories and fat (try high-intensity interval training), but make sure you include strength-training exercises to maintain and build on existing muscles.

Not only is an exercise program relevant to your muscle-gaining goals, but proper nutrition also plays an integral part.

Including foods high in protein are essential, and a given, but certain other foods that made this list may surprise you.

1. Eggs

Eggs are considered the perfect protein source for people looking to increase lean mass and decrease fat. Calorie for calorie, your body can better absorb and utilize the protein in eggs than from any other source, which means more of it can be used to build muscle.

We’re not just talking about the egg whites, even though that’s where you will find the most protein. The yolk, however, contains vitamin B12, necessary for breaking down fat and muscle function, along with fat, which assists in the absorption of the various fat-soluble vitamins found in the wondrous egg.

Best of all? Eggs are a very inexpensive food source, making it the all-around star in a muscle builder’s diet.

2. Beef

Unsurprisingly, shows up on this list. An excellent source of protein, meat also provides vitamin B12 to aid in muscle development.

A significant source of iron, zinc, and creatine, lean cuts of beef or low-fat ground beef are considered extremely important to building muscle.

If you’re looking for an extra boost beyond food sources, or just trying to avoid red meat, creatine supplements have shown success in increasing lean muscle mass.

3. Almonds

Almonds are known for being an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps prevent free-radical damage, in the form that’s best absorbed by your body. You can find at protein bar snack.

Protection against damage decreases muscle breakdown post-workout.

To build muscle, you need to store more protein than your body breaks down. Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that is required for protein production and for energy regulation. Check 10 Best Tasting Protein Bars

4. Omega-3s

Packed with protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is one of the many types of fish that should be on a muscle builder’s diet. 

Omega-3s, like vitamin E, battles free-radical damage, which helps protect existing muscles and can decrease post-workout recovery time.

Additionally, salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D. Omega-3 protects all muscles, including the heart, so be sure to incorporate it through food sources or via fish oil supplements.

5. Water

Water is considered an essential nutrient when it comes to building muscle. As muscle consists of about 80 percent water, dehydration can severely affect lean mass growing efforts.

Your body is unable to build muscle from protein if you are water deficient efficiently. 

Not enough water will derail your efforts even if you are working out and eating all the right protein-rich foods. Water needs vary by lean mass, age, and how much exercise you do.

6. Milk

Often considered more of a treat than a portion of health food, chocolate milk makes it to this list of essential foods to build muscle mass. 

A decent source of animal protein and rich in branched chain amino acids and electrolytes, recent studies have shown that milk is a better post-workout recovery drink than most specially formulated exercise beverages.

Also, the protein in milk is 80% (casein) slow-digesting and 20% fast-digesting (whey), which research has shown is superior for lean muscle gain. Don’t like chocolate? Try strawberry, vanilla, or plain-based—just as long as it’s low in fat.

7. Oysters

More commonly considered an aphrodisiac or a luxury, oysters have been known by weightlifters and bodybuilders as an excellent source of low-fat protein. 

High in zinc and magnesium, both essential in protein synthesis, oysters should find their way into your diet if you are looking to increase lean body muscle.

Maximize your workouts with these top foods to build muscle mass. Ultimately, a balanced diet filled with whole grains and high in minerals and vitamins will go a long way to helping you achieve your muscle gain goals.