When it comes to fitness and nutrition, there’s no greater controversy than food itself.
It seems that the pendulum constantly swings back and forth between food quality and food quantity, with extremists on both sides.
Food quality vs. quantity: what’s best?
On one side of the coin, you have those who believe in nothing but food quality – those with 100% organic diets, ultra-clean eaters, ridiculously strict paleo dieters, etc.
And on the other side, there are those who only care about quantity – the most extreme flexible dieters, who claim that “if it fits your macros”, you can eat it.
As with nearly everything, the best approach lies somewhere in the reasonable middle.
After all, if food quantity was the only key to health and physique, why are there so many people at the local organic food store have zero muscle tissue and look downright unfit?
And on the other side, if you have a friend who eats nothing but Pop Tarts as their only carb source (because “it fits their macros”), you might want to ask how their blood work and triglyceride levels are looking.
…but what’s best for building muscle?
With all that said, there’s one thing for certain: Without enough calories, you’re not going to gain weight.[1,2] And without enough protein, you’re not going to build muscle.
You can eat all the vegetables and “organic” grains in the world – without some serious protein, muscle tissue is going to be extremely hard to come by.
For that reason, when it comes to building muscle, we err on the side of quantity over quality.
But that doesn’t mean we only want to eat empty junk all day. Just like omega-3 fatty acids weren’t really understood until the 1970s, we’re now realizing that there’s a whole lot of micronutrients and plant flavonols that can seriously contribute to our gains.
Ten Muscle Building Foods that work
So below is our list of foods that build muscle – starting with the drop dead basics to cover the quantity portion, and then moving to a few extra foods that will add in some quality.
Eggs / egg whites
Known as “nature’s perfect protein”, nothing makes for a better protein booster than some egg whites.
Whole eggs are a bit on the high-fat side, which may or may not work for your diet depending on your macronutrient goals, but a quality egg will bring some great omega-3 fatty acids and essential saturated fat.
Our solution is to typically use about 2 whole eggs along with 4-6 egg whites (about a half cup of liquid), which will provide a great high-protein balance.[5,6]
A relatively clean carb choice that’s been a bodybuilding foundation for decades. They’re quick, easy, and provide good amounts of fiber.
We won’t complain about the protein that comes along with our oats either.
Too often, beef gets put onto the chopping block of dieters, but quality beef brings with it a popular compound: creatine.
What’s great about beef is that there are so many different cuts and different selections of ground beef that you can get. You can get it very lean, or you can get the cheaper 80% lean beef that has 20% fat for some serious bulking calories.
It’s up to you, but there’s no reason to ignore at least the lean stuff.
Combine that creatine with the betaine in the Nitramine pre workout supplement (free sample at the bottom of this page) and you’ll have the best of both worlds in terms of these two muscle-building compounds.
Nothing works better for a quick hit of protein than a can of water-packed albacore tuna. You can substitute in various types of fish too, like salmon, which has a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Tilapia and mahi mahi are very popular, but when in doubt, it’s great to have some tuna around.
Mix it with some fresh salsa to boost the taste and get a variety of vegetables in as well.
No list is complete without protein-packed chicken breast. If you’re not bulk cooking 6 or more chicken breasts once a week and throwing them into the fridge, then you’re simply doing it wrong.
With pre-cooked chicken ready to go, you never have an excuse for missing your protein number. Take it to go with some brown rice, or make a salad at home with the greens below.
The afternoon carbohydrate staple for centuries (that’s not to say you can’t eat it with breakfast, we just usually don’t). Some say it can even boost your growth hormone levels due to its high l-arginine levels!
But if you’re looking for a change-up from the same ol’ same ol’ brown rice (or oats), consider quinoa – because the only thing that beats as grain is a grain with lots of protein in it!
Yams / Sweet potatoes
The most nutrient-rich carb source on this list, and the one that you can use to make some fantastic recipes that satisfy the sweet tooth as well.
With yams, you can a huge source of vitamins C and B6, which will assist with protein metabolism. There are also some great minerals like copper and potassium, which help with other types of protein formations (collagen, for instance).
This and the next step are all about a flavonol named epicatechin, which has been found to have wonderful health benefits such as potentially lowering blood pressure.
But did you know that it may also have anabolic properties to it as well? Epicatechin has been shown to reduce myostatin levels, and when myostatin is reduced, muscle growth can occur more quickly!
This is why epicatechin is the main anabolic ingredient in Magnitropin, Myokem’s natural anabolic supplement that is taking off in 2015, especially since prohormones have been officially banned and outlawed.
Apples, Berries, and Bananas
Once again, epicatechin is back with the berries and apples. The skins of these fruits contain all sorts of great micronutrients such as this one and others.
Meanwhile, eating fruits and vegetables will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, as explained here on our sister site for the Pyroxamine focus-driven fat burner.
As far as the bananas go, it’s just a super cheap way to get some quick and tasty carbs in.
You can read more about epicatechin in the article titled Epicatechin: The Dark Force Behind Dark Chocolate, which discusses the detailed research about it and features the Magnitropin natural muscle builder as well as other ways to get these flavonols in.
Spinach / Kale
We couldn’t leave you hanging without some roughage for your salads.
Green vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, and others will round out your diet’s micronutrients and provide any other essential vitamins that your muscles need. With these, they can perform the biochemical reactions needed to grow – don’t let a lack of vitamins be a rate-limiter
In addition, like mentioned above, the vegetables will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, alongside the fruits (a total of about five ~80g servings per day of fruits and vegetables combined does the trick).
Some familiar favorites, but also some interesting new takes on why we don’t want to ignore the micronutrient side as well.
As always, measure your food with a food scale and track your calories for best success. If you’re not hitting your protein number, then you aren’t going to succeed.
Amplify your muscle-building workouts with Nitramine
Combine those intense workouts with plenty of the foods above, and you’re well on your way to adding some mass. One note is that Nitramine doesn’t contain creatine, which is discussed here. You can grab a free sample or compare prices on Nitramine below.