What are the best foods to gain muscle mass?

protein-rich foods

Many people who begin to practice bodybuilding turn out to be disillusioned after a while because they do not see the results they expected. They train, train, train, but they never seem to move, or else they are slow.

Food is an important factor to help you develop muscle mass. At this stage, the  eating plan to build muscle (hypertrophy) may be useful.

Were they divinely marked not to gain muscle or could there be another problem? We are optimistic and therefore we believe there is a problem. And in most cases, this problem is in the food. Let’s make an analogy. Think of your body as a car. He needs fuel to be able to walk. But it’s not any fuel that serves. It needs the right fuel or, otherwise, it will not work and can get you into trouble.

With our body the same thing happens. It needs certain nutrients to function properly and to gain muscle mass . Nutrients are obtained through diet or supplementation. But not all nutrients are best suited for the muscle building process. If you eat 4000 calories per day but 70 percent of them are from carbohydrates, you can be sure that you will not gain lean mass but fat mass.

Proteins are essential for gaining muscle mass

Consuming high quality proteins is essential for building muscles . All your meals should have as their main point the intake of quality protein. They will repair damaged muscle tissue in training and build new tissues.

According to the American College of Sport Medicine , the protein intake of athletes who practice strength training, such as bodybuilding, should be 1.5g to 2g per body kilogram [* 1].

Workout and diet should go hand in hand. It’s no use doing an insane workout and then going to eat fast food. In fact, some people argue that eating is even more important than training.

Carbohydrates and fats should also be part of the diet

Your diet should also contain complex carbohydrates and essential fats. Proteins have a builder function, carbohydrates and fats provide the energy needed to handle the workouts.

There are studies that demonstrate a direct link between dietary fat and testosterone , the hormone that plays an important role in muscle gain .

The Best Foods to Gain Muscle Mass

Not all protein sources are on the same level. There are higher quality proteins than others with respect to their bioavailability (how quickly a certain nutrient is absorbed into the bloodstream). Then we present the best foods that help in gaining muscle mass :

1) Eggs

Egg protein – albumin – has the highest biological value available, being one of the best protein choices. Egg yolk is rich in vitamins and minerals important in energy metabolism. On the other hand, the egg yolk contains omega-3 DHA (required for proper functioning of the brain and retina of the eyes), and omega-6 .

Egg whites should not be eaten raw as they contain trypsin enzyme inhibitors, which have to be destroyed by heat.

2) Fatty fish

By fatty fish we mean fish that are rich in essential fats, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring. They all contain essential fatty acids suchas omega-3 . These fatty acids favor the production of testosterone and reduce inflammation of the muscles.

Tuna, in particular, contains virtually no carbohydrates and can be consumed at both main meals and mid-morning or at lunch.

Red meat contains the main amino acids needed for muscle growth. It is rich in iron, vitamin B12 and zinc , essential mineral for the production of testosterone. In addition, it is rich in creatine , an essential amino acid for energy production and that allows you to increase muscle mass.

The down side of red meat is that it contains lots of saturated fat and cholesterol. For this reason, do not consume more than two or three doses per week.

4) Chicken and turkey

Lean meats are an excellent source of proteins of high biological valueand should be part of any diet for gaining muscle mass. Chicken breast is a very common food in the bodybuilding universe precisely because of its protein richness. However, you should always take off the skin as it contains a considerable amount of fat and cholesterol.

5) Sweet potato

Forget the potato. Swap it for sweet potatoes. It is one of the best sources of complex carbohydrates , of slow absorption, which allows a constant supply of energy. It is therefore a very consumed food in the pre-workout meal.

In addition to its favorable glycemic index, sweet potatoes contain a high content of vitamin A, B and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus .

6) Olive oil

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, good fats that protect the heart. These fats lower the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood and increase that of good cholesterol (HDL). But the benefits of olive oil do not linger here. It also boosts liver function, regulates blood sugar levels and improves intestinal transit.

Bodybuilders should ensure proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. The fats present in olive oil ensure this.

7) Nuts

Dried fruits are great suppliers of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat , inevitably very caloric (average 600 kcal / 100g), but quite rich in some minerals, such as calcium, iron and phosphorus. In addition, they also possess a considerable amount of protein.

The choices are diverse: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios and peanuts. Consume 15 units per day, in the snack or in the salad.

Whole grains are an excellent choice for those who want to gain muscle. They are quick to prepare, rich in complex carbohydrates , fibers and also have a good amount of protein. Accompany with minced meat or tuna and you will have a good meal.

9) Cheese and ham

Cheese and ham are practical ways to add protein to your breakfast or snack (along with brown bread, for example). Each slice of cheese and ham has about 3 grams of protein. Opt for lean cheeses as they have less saturated fat. Turkey ham or chicken breast are good choices.

10) Water

Water? Yes, water! What does it matter to eat a lot of meat and fish and go dehydrated for lack of fluid intake?

A poor hydration method will impair athletes’ performance, both physically and mentally. The muscles will not yield what they could yield, your concentration will not be at its maximum. It’s important to hydrate yourself .

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