Protein is the essence of muscle building foods. It contains 20 amino acids, nine of which are essential and must be supplied through the diet in order for the body to build and repair muscle tissues. Unlike carbohydrates, the body does not store proteins because essential amino acids present in them are only available in small quantities at any given time. When your body lacks these essential amino acids, protein synthesis is prohibited and you are unable to achieve muscle mass formation. It is therefore important to continuously supply the body with the right amounts of protein, so essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and tryptophan) are always available when your body demands them, especially if you work out regularly.
Here are six muscle building foods, and the first three are good sources of protein.
Although egg white is the leanest part of an egg, the body easily absorbs this food whole and breaks it down into amino acids. Whole eggs are rich in healthy fats, saturated fats and lecithin, which are necessary for muscle building. You can opt to eat one whole egg with two egg whites for a leaner but still protein-rich diet.
Salmon contains 34 g of muscle building protein and 4 g of omega-3 fatty acids, which are the healthy fats that reduce muscle inflammation and control the production of the cortisol hormone. The less cortisol produced, the more testosterone, which is needed to promote muscle gain. Omega-3 fatty acids also convert glucose to muscles and not toward body fat storage.
3. Lean Beef
Beef contains saturated fat, but when eaten in the right quantities, it will contribute toward muscle growth. Remember that insufficient saturated fat in your diet can compromise testosterone and insulin-like growth factor levels. Testosterone and insulin are hormones that encourage growth. In addition, beef is a good source of cholesterol, the main ingredient that helps the body produce testosterone.
When you build muscle mass, your body requires carbohydrates for fuel. Carbohydrates like pasta are important because they change protein metabolism radically and increase its capacity to be absorbed. Without carbohydrates, protein does not work as efficiently at boosting growth and development.
5. Apple Juice
The more vigorous your work out, the more wear and tear your muscles suffer. Drinking apple juice before working out will provide you with the energy boost you need. Apple juice also inhibits cortisol production to minimize damage to muscle fibers.
Garlic, when mixed with a diet high in protein, causes the testosterone levels to increase, resulting in fewer muscles to break down.
Although vegetables, legumes and grains are also sources of protein, they lack one or more of the essential amino acids needed for muscle building. It is recommended that you eat complete protein foods, usually from animal sources, for better muscle growth and development. It is common knowledge that foods derived from animal sources have higher fat content, so it’s important to choose the leanest foods. Another tip is to consume the right amounts in six small meals a day.