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Six of the Most Powerful Muscle-Building Foods


Six of the Most Powerful Muscle-Building Foods

Do you want to gain a few pounds of muscle? What you do in the gym will undoubtedly help, but it is only half of the solution. The foods you consume contain all of the nutrients you need to promote muscle development, repair, and assist in the delivery of nutrients to your muscles so they can function properly. A high-protein, moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-fat diet is a good start, but if you're not sure where to go from there, include these 6 muscle-building foods in your diet.


Spinach (as well as other foods like beets) are rich in nitrates, which can aid in the production of nitric oxide, or NO. Dietary nitrates are thought to increase the amount of NO available in the body by feeding through the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway. Increased NO causes increased vasodilation of blood vessels, allowing more nutrients to reach working muscles. Nitrates have also been discovered to enhance exercise efficiency, such as time to exhaustion, oxygen intake, and speed. About 250 mg of nitrate can be found in a 100 g serving of spinach, which is around half a bag.


Many muscle-building food lists include this dairy protein, and with good reason. When it comes to protein powders, whey protein is the cream of the crop due to its high content of essential amino acids, branched chain amino acids, and growth factors, all of which are needed in the muscle-building process. Whey protein consumption causes a rapid and dramatic rise in plasma amino acids, making it ideal for post-workout supplementation. Whey protein has been shown to help athletes gain muscle mass by increasing protein synthesis, enhancing recovery after exercise, and maintaining immune function during high-volume training times.Whey protein can be used as a quick source of protein to help you fulfill your regular protein requirements or as part of your pre- and post-workout supplementation. Whey protein powders usually contain 20 to 30 grams of protein per scoop.


Casein is another dairy protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. Casein, on the other hand, is on the opposite end of the continuum, with a slow and steady digestion rate. In reality, clinical studies have shown that casein protein takes an average of seven hours to digest, making it an excellent nighttime snack. Since aminos are released slowly, your muscles will maintain a positive nitrogen balance, enabling protein synthesis rates to continue while you sleep.Supplementing with 40 grams of casein before bedtime resulted in a persistent rise in amino acid levels, which improved whole-body protein balance, as well as a 22% increase in protein synthesis rates, according to one report. Casein protein can be used on its own or in a protein mix with whey. Since casein protein is produced from the curds in cottage cheese, it can also be found in smaller amounts in non-fat Greek yogurt and even skim milk.


Most of us prefer almonds to cashews, but cashews are a perfect substitute. Cashews contain around 2.2 grams of saturated fat per ounce. Saturated fat serves as a building block for cholesterol, which is the building block for testosterone production in the body. It's no surprise that low-fat diets have been linked to lower testosterone levels, increased belly fat, and a loss of muscle mass. If you want to gain muscle and lose weight, cutting out saturated fat isn't necessary or beneficial.Dietary fat can also aid muscle preservation by changing the body's metabolism to burn sugars or fats rather than protein. Take a handful with your next meal, or try natural cashew butter instead of peanut butter for a real treat. Make a protein shake with it, or spread it on a rice cake.


Red meat is probably the best muscle-building meal, second only to whey protein. It not only has more protein per serving than most other meats (roughly 23 grams per three ounces), but it also contains a variety of other nutrients essential for muscle growth. Red meat is naturally rich in creatine, which has been shown in several studies to help increase lean muscle mass by providing a source of high-energy phosphate to aid in ATP re-generation.Creatine's presence in the body also aids in the stimulation of essential muscle-building growth factors and hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone. Red meat is also rich in heme iron, which aids in the delivery of oxygen to blood cells, as well as energy-boosting vitamins B12 and B6, as well as zinc, which aids in hormone development. If you're trying to lose weight, go for extra-lean sirloin, which has the least amount of fat and the most protein.


Protein is the obvious option for muscle development, but carbs shouldn't be overlooked. Carbs are important for providing the energy we need to lift heavy weights and heal quickly. Carbohydrates are processed in muscle as glycogen, which is accessed during exercise. Muscle glycogen levels begin to drop after a workout, and they can also drop first thing in the morning. The body stores glycogen during sleep to aid in the healing process after exercise.Butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and, of course, pumpkin squash are all perfect alternatives to more conventional starchy carbs. Squash has about 10 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fiber per cup. It's also high in vitamins and minerals like potassium, iron, and magnesium, as well as antioxidants like vitamins A and C.