Protein-packed foods We all know that proteins are extremely important for muscle repair and growth. This is the reason; many people take protein supplements and powders in the form of shakes during or after their workouts. Apart from these protein shakes and supplements (which should be taken under medical supervision) adding natural sources of proteins to your diet can also be a good option to enhance muscle strength. The body builds muscle and recovers twenty-four hours a day. Foods rich in proteins and carbohydrates can give the body the fuel it needs to build muscle, promote quick recovery, boost immunity, replenishes glycogen, and burn fat all of which are important during strenuous workouts.
Here we go Protein-packed foods that will help fuel your muscles
One ounce (28 grams) of roasted almonds provides 6 grams of protein and large amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus (58Trusted Source).
Among other roles, phosphorus helps your body use carbohydrates and fats for energy at rest and during exercise (59).
As with peanuts, almonds should be consumed in moderation due to their high-calorie content. Half a cup of blanched almonds contains more than 400 calories
2. Lean beef
Beef is packed with high-quality protein, B vitamins, minerals, and creatine (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
Some research has even shown that consuming lean red meat can increase the amount of lean mass gained with weight training.
Even when you’re trying to gain muscle, it may be best to choose beef that supports muscle gain without providing too many extra calories.
For example, 3 ounces (85 grams) of 70% lean ground beef contains 235 calories and 16 grams of fat (19Trusted Source).
However, the same amount of 95% lean ground beef contains slightly more protein, plus only 148 calories and 6 grams of fat
3. Cottage cheese
One cup (226 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese packs 28 grams of protein, including a hearty dose of the important muscle-building amino acid leucine (27Trusted Source).
Like other dairy products, cottage cheese can be purchased with varying fat content. High-fat versions like creamed cottage cheese have more calories.
Choosing which type of cottage cheese is best simply depends on how many extra calories you want to add to your diet. Regardless of which type you choose, it’s a great muscle-building snack.
4. Chicken breast
There’s a good reason why chicken breasts are considered a staple for gaining muscle: They’re packed with protein. Each 3-ounce (85-gram) serving contains about 26.7 grams of high-quality protein (7Trusted Source).
Chicken breasts also contain generous amounts of the B vitamins niacin and B6, which may be particularly important if you are active
These vitamins help your body function properly during the physical activity that’s necessary for optimal muscle gain (4).
What’s more, some research has shown that higher protein diets containing chicken may aid in fat loss
You might call them chickpeas, or you might call them garbanzo beans, but we can all agree to call them an excellent source of protein. Every ounce of chickpeas contains three grams of plant-based protein, so add them to your salads, have some hummus, or season & bake them for a tasty, healthy snack.
You might want to steer clear of creamier (and thus fattier) versions of cheese, but if you’re strictly looking for some extra protein, it’s all good! The highest protein levels are found in hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and Gruyère, as well as soft varieties such as ricotta and goat. One type takes the crown, but we’ll get to that later
In addition to 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce (85-gram) serving, tuna contains high amounts of vitamin A and several B vitamins, including B12, niacin, and B6. These nutrients are important for optimal health, energy, and exercise performance
Additionally, tuna provides large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which may support muscle health
This may be particularly important for older adults. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can slow the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with age
Half a cup (86 grams) of cooked soybeans contains 16 grams of protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and several vitamins and minerals.
Soybeans are a particularly good source of vitamin K, iron, and phosphorus.
Iron is used to store and transport oxygen in your blood and muscles, and a deficiency can impair these functions
People who menstruate may be particularly at risk of iron deficiency due to blood loss during their cycle.
9. Turkey breast
A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of turkey breast contains around 26 grams of protein and almost no fat or carbs.
Turkey is also a good source of the B vitamin niacin, which helps process fats and carbohydrates in your body.
Having optimal levels of B vitamins could help you gain muscle over time by supporting your body’s ability to exercise
Although it doesn’t have as many omega-3 fatty acids as salmon, tilapia is another protein-packed seafood item.
A single (87-gram) fillet provides around 23 grams of protein, along with good amounts of vitamin B12 and selenium
Vitamin B12 is important for the health of your blood cells and nerves, which allows you to perform the exercise you need to gain muscle
Many different types of beans can be part of a diet for lean muscle gain.
Popular varieties — such as black, pinto, and kidney beans — contain around 15 grams of protein per cup (about 172 grams) of cooked beans
What’s more, they are excellent sources of fiber and B vitamins, in addition to being high in magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. For these reasons, beans are a good source of plant-based protein to add to your diet.
They also contain higher amounts of the amino acid leucine than many other plant products.
Each 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of peanuts contains around 166 calories (47Trusted Source).
If you’re having a hard time getting enough calories to drive your muscle gain, eating peanuts could be a good way to get some extra calories and nutrients.
Additionally, nuts are thought to play an important role in an overall healthy diet
Tofu is produced from soy milk and is often used as a meat substitute.
Each half-cup (124-gram) serving of raw tofu contains 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 2 grams of carbohydrates
Tofu is also a good source of calcium, which is important for proper muscle function and bone health
Soy protein, found in foods like tofu and soybeans, is considered one of the highest-quality plant proteins For all these reasons, foods containing soy protein are great options for vegans and vegetarians.
14. Pork tenderloin
Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat that provides 23.1 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat per 4 ounces (113 grams) (
Some research has shown that pork has effects similar to those of other muscle-building foods, such as beef and chicken
Milk provides a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fats
Similar to other dairy products, milk contains both fast- and slow-digesting proteins
This is thought to be beneficial for muscle growth. In fact, several studies have shown that people can increase their muscle mass when they drink milk in combination with weight training
16. Brown rice
Although cooked brown rice provides only 6 grams of protein per cup (202 grams), it has the carbohydrates you need to fuel your physical activity.
Consider eating healthy carb sources like brown rice or quinoa in the hours leading up to exercise ().
This may allow you to exercise harder, providing your body with a greater stimulus for your muscles to grow.
Plus, some research has shown that rice protein supplements can produce as much muscle gain as whey protein during a weight training program.
If you’re looking for a high-protein food that serves as both a snack and a side, go with edamame. A cup of cooked and shelled pods contains 18 grams of protein and clocks in at under 200 calories, while also offering antioxidants, vitamin K, and fiber.
18. Hemp Seeds
These hemp seeds can be added to smoothies, baked goods, and pasta bowls. Eat these any way you can, as just three tablespoons (uncooked) pack nearly 10 grams of protein. Hemp seeds are also notable for being a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids, as well as omega-3 oils!
Eggs contain high-quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline (1Trusted Source).
Proteins are made up of amino acids. Eggs contain large amounts of the amino acid leucine, which is particularly important for muscle gain (1, 2).
B vitamins are also critically important for a variety of processes in your body, including energy production (3Trusted Source, 4).
Dairy not only contains high-quality protein but also a mixture of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein (8Trusted Source).
Some research has shown that people experience increases in lean mass when they consume a combination of fast- and slow-digesting dairy proteins (9Trusted Source).
But not all dairy is created equal. For example, Greek yogurt often contains approximately double the amount of protein as regular yogurt
While Greek yogurt is a good snack anytime, eating it after a workout or before bed may be beneficial, due to its mixture of fast- and slow-digesting proteins
Numerous foods can help you gain lean muscle. Many of them are high in protein and allow your muscles to recover and grow after you have been active.
It is also important to consume carbohydrates and fats to provide fuel for exercise and physical activity.
What’s more, many of the foods on this list contain the vitamins and minerals your body needs to operate at its best.
To reach your goal of gaining lean muscle, focus on exercising regularly and eating more calories each day from nutritious foods like the ones listed in this article.