Building bigger muscles primarily involves weight training, adequate rest and sleep, and good diet that’s rich in protein. The basic rule when you’re working out for muscle gain is to increase your calorie intake, but you can’t just make calorie gains by eating anything. You have to choose the right type of foods.
Eggs have got a bad rep because pseudo-experts are saying they raise your cholesterol levels. But research showed us that cholesterol in eggs does not raise people’s risk to heart disease. Instead, the cholesterol we find in egg yolks are good in manufacturing hormones. Not to mention, egg yolks are nutrient dense. More importantly, eggs are rich in protein, which you need for building muscle.
Lean beef is one of the best sources of B-complex, iron, zinc, and creatine, all of which are necessary for building muscle mass. Even lean red meat contains some fat, but your body needs some of this fat in manufacturing testosterone, a hormone vital for building and strengthening muscles. Also, some fatty acids present in beef are good for the heart.
However, the most important thing about beef is it contains a lot of protein, but it’s not loaded with calories. Three ounces of beef and 1.5 cups of beans contain roughly the same amount of protein, but the former packs less calories. Beef, is thus, great for people who want to gain muscle mass without gaining body fat.
Chicken is another excellent source of muscle-building protein. You can buy raw chicken and cook it as you prefer, hopefully not fried. If you’re out of options, you can always buy rotisserie chicken, and help yourself. Just don’t eat the skin because it’s rich in bad cholesterol and fat.
Of all protein sources, fish is unique because it’s a combo of high quality protein and healthy fats. Any type of fish is a good source of protein, but the best two are salmon and tuna. For instance, a quarter of salmon’s weight is protein, which means a 100-gram serving has 25 grams of protein. Both tuna and salmon are celebrated for containing the famous omega-3 fatty acids, which are not only good for your heart but also good for your muscles.
Of course, you do not put nuts on a platter and have them for dinner. But they are great for snack time. If you’re looking for something to munch on in between meals, then nuts are the best option, especially because you’re concerned about gaining muscle mass. Cashew or almonds have good amounts of protein and good fat. Munch on a handful if you’re feeling a bit famished hours before mealtime.
Cottage cheese has a lot of a protein called casein. It takes a while for your body to digest casein, which is a good thing because it means amino acids in the blood rise in slow, controlled fashion. This is good if you’re doing intermittent fasting, wherein you go for long periods without eating anything. Cottage cheese also contains Vitamin B12 and calcium. Just choose the low-fat products.