These Nutritious Foods Are Great For Building Lean Muscle

Exercising is just part of the process of gaining lean muscle. People also need to make sure they’re eating certain nutritious foods. Foods with decent amounts of vitamins, protein, fat, and carbs provide enough sustenance for someone to build and tone their muscles. These are the foods that will keep people strong and healthy long-term.

Stock Up On Almonds

Those looking for a snack with a ton of protein should eat some almonds. About a half a cup of almonds have 16 grams of protein.

almonds spread around a white background
DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Almonds are also packed with phosphorus, vitamin E, and magnesium. Phosphorus allows your body use carbs and fat for energy, which can help people get more of an intense workout.

Eggs Will Give You Energy

A single serving of a boiled or poached egg has about 6.28 grams of protein. There are also a ton of healthy fats, choline, vitamin B, and amino acids in them.

hard boiled eggs on a plate with hay in the background
Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Eggs have an amino acid called leucine, which helps with muscle growth. The vitamin B found in eggs is great for energy.

Eat Beets Before Training

According to Men’s Health, people who eat two medium-sized beets an hour and 15 minutes before they exercise will boost their performance, reduce exertion, and decrease their necessary amount of oxygen.

Bundle of young organic garden beetroot over white marble background
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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

This means that people will be able to train more intensely for a longer period of time after eating beets.

Turkey Breast Is Rich In Vitamin B

If you eat a three-ounce serving of turkey breast, then you’ll get a whopping 25 grams of protein. Also, turkey breast has practically no fat or carbs.

turkey breast on a plate with some side dishes
Justin Tsucalas/Lisa Cherkasky/Getty Images
Justin Tsucalas/Lisa Cherkasky/Getty Images

This food is rich in vitamin B, which helps with processing fats and carbs in the body, gaining muscle, and giving people the energy to exercise for longer periods of time.

Gobble Up Greek Yogurt Before Bed

Five ounces of Greek yogurt contains up to 18 grams of protein, which is about double the amount found in regular yogurt.

greek yogurt in a bowl with a spoon
Laura Chase de Formigny/Lisa Cherkasky/Getty Images
Laura Chase de Formigny/Lisa Cherkasky/Getty Images

It’s best to eat Greek yogurt either after a workout or before bed because it has a mixture of fast and slow-digesting casein proteins. This allows people to get more lean muscle mass.

Swig Some Apple Cider Vinegar Before Eating

It’s recommended to consume apple cider vinegar before a meal because it can raise insulin sensitivity by 34 percent.

apple cider vinegar bottle with blue background
Rajya Laxmi/Flickr
Rajya Laxmi/Flickr

According to Medical News Today, high insulin sensitivity allows the cells of the body to use blood glucose more effectively, which reduces blood sugar. This also causes people to gain lean muscle.

Shrimp Has A Muscle-Building Amino Acid

Seafood lovers should know that one of the most protein-rich items is shrimp. A three-ounce serving contains 18 grams of protein, one gram of fat, and no carbs.

shrimps on a tray
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Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Shrimp have high levels of an amino acid called leucine, which is necessary for muscle growth. Also, it’s important to note that fats and carbs are okay for muscle growth, but there shouldn’t be an excessive amount.

Beans Are Great For Bone Health

Beans are a great way to incorporate some protein into your meals, especially if you have a plant-based diet. Cooked kidney, black, pinto, and navy beans all contain about eight grams of protein per half-cup.

Red kidney beans soup with small splashes of grains falling into the hot food
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Beans are also packed with fiber, minerals, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which support bone health.

Salmon Has Tons Of Nutritional Benefits

Not only does salmon have 20 grams of protein per serving, but it’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids. More specifically, the EPA and DHA acids help with reducing inflammation.

grilled salmon with lemon
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Also, omega-3 increases insulin sensitivity, which decreases the amount you have in your bloodstream. The more insulin someone has in their body, the more fat they are able to store.

Don’t Be Alarmed By The Carbs In Quinoa

Those looking to build some lean muscle need to remember to include some carbohydrates in their diet. Quinoa has about 40 grams of carbs per cup.

quinoa being poured into a pot
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Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Carbs are a great way to have energy for a workout, which can make it go longer and faster. Also, quinoa has tons of magnesium and phosphorus, which help with muscle and nerve function.

Chicken Breast Is Loaded With Protein

One of the most common foods eaten to build muscle is chicken breast. This is because it has high levels of protein. A three-ounce serving contains about 26 grams of protein.

chicken breast with roasted red peppers and lettuce
Deb Lindsey/Getty Images
Deb Lindsey/Getty Images

Chicken breast also contains lots of vitamin B, which is great to have in the body for optimal muscle gain.

Pineapple Is The Only Food With Bromelein

Fruit isn’t typically a food that’s eaten to gain lean muscle, but pineapple is an exception. It’s the only food that contains bromelein, which is an enzyme that digests protein.

pineapples piled on top of each other
Joseph Prezioso/Getty Images
Joseph Prezioso/Getty Images

Be careful of bromelein because it can sting the inside of your mouth. Also, pineapple is an anti-inflammatory that can help soothe the pain and swelling from a workout.

Tuna Increases Muscle Growth

One three-ounce serving of tuna fish has 20 grams of protein, which makes it one of the healthiest food options for gaining lean muscle.

tuna sushi with chopsticks
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Tuna contains a lot of vitamins A and B, which provide energy for exercise. There are high levels of omega-3 fatty acids as well, which support muscle health.

Chickpeas Have High Levels Of Protein And Carbs

Chickpeas provide healthy levels of protein and carbohydrates and they can be eaten dried, soaked, canned, or ready-made. One serving has about 14.6 grams of protein, which is great for people on plant-based diets.

chickpeas on a plate
Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

While the protein in chickpeas is lower quality than animal sources, it still can provide people with a way to gain lean muscle.

Garlic Gets Rid Of Stress Hormones

A study from The Journal of Nutrition found that garlic can increase testosterone and lower cortisol in a high-protein diet. This is because of a compound called allicin.

GettyImages-904782836
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Allicin lowers stress hormones in the body, which improves muscle cells and allows the muscles to grow stronger. Also, garlic can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood clotting.

Grab Some Edamame For A Snack

Edamame is a delicious snack that’s packed with some beneficial nutrients. One cup of edamame has 17 grams of protein and eight grams of fiber.

edamame in a wooden box
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

There’s also a ton of folate, vitamin K, and manganese. Folate is used to process amino acids, which is how people get protein. This builds muscle mass and strength.

The Carbs In Brown Rice Are Good For You

Carbs are important for gaining lean muscle and brown rice provides a healthy amount. One cup of brown rice has 5.32 grams of protein and is a good source of vitamin B, fiber, and carbs.

brown rice in a blue bowl with a spoon
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

The carbs found in brown rice provide people with the energy for a longer and more intense workout.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Protects Your Heart

According to Men’s Health, the monounsaturated fats in olive oil stimulate protein production for muscle growth and prevent tissue breakdown.

extra virgin olive oil bottle and bowl
Monica Schipper/Getty Images
Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Extra virgin olive oil increases the insulin sensitivity in muscles, which allows them to absorb more nutrients, glucose, and amino acids. Also, olive oil is great for cardiovascular health and can reduce the risk of some cancers.

Lean Beef Goes Perfectly With Weight Training

One of the best foods to eat when you’re trying to gain lean muscle is lean beef. Beef has a ton of high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and creatine.

a piece of steak on the barbecue
Miguel Mendez/AFP via Getty Images
Miguel Mendez/AFP via Getty Images

Those who eat lean beef along with weight training will see the most dramatic results. It’s important to pick beef with a lower fat content.

Cottage Cheese Provides Healthy Amounts Of Fat And Calories

While some dairy products are high in fat, there are others that can compliment muscle growth. One serving of cottage cheese has about 28 grams of protein and a ton of amino acids.

cottage cheese in a clay bowl with a spoon
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Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Since cottage cheese has a little extra calories and fat, it can significantly increase lean muscle. This snack is best eaten before bed.