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10 Foods That Help Build Muscle

Updated on February 16, 2016

There is more to gaining muscle mass than bodybuilding alone. Exercises like squats and stomach crunches are important, sure, because they strengthen muscles and muscles help burn fat in the areas around them. Most people, though, overlook diet as an important factor in building a strong body. You need to feed your physique. Here are 10 muscle-building foods that will help you achieve the ripped look you crave:

1) Whey Protein

Whey protein concentrate contains every one of the 9 amino acids needed for the growth of lean muscle mass. Low in fat and lactose, it is perfect for burning fat and building muscle.

2) Eggs

Second only whey protein in amino acid concentration, the egg is a powerful muscle-building food. There is a whopping 7 grams of protein per egg.

3) Wild salmon

Super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids, wild salmon packs in the protein with about 20 grams in a 100 gram serving. Make sure it’s wild, though, farm-raised salmon is grain fed and contains little omega-3.

4) Flax seed

Not to be confused with less-healthy flax oil, flax seed is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids as well as being rich in fiber. Grind the seeds to get the best nutritional benefit and sprinkle on yogurt for a healthy snack.

5) Red meat

Red meat, such as beef or bison, is packed with nutrients such as protein, iron and vitamin B12 to name a few. Grass fed beef, especially, is good for you as it is high in omega-3.

6) Nuts

Any type of nut is okay but almonds are particularly great. Jam-packed with protein and fiber, they help you feel full so you eat less junk.

7) Yams

Yes, they are starchy, but they are also full of complex carbohydrates and vitamins A and B. Yams will satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping you feeling full longer without blowing your diet.

8) Apples

Supplying a wealth of carbs, fiber and electrolytes in every sweet bite, apples are the perfect post-workout snack. Even the skin is packed with nutrients.

9) Water

Okay, while not technically a food, about 80% of your muscle is made up of water. Water is vital to muscle growth. It keeps you hydrated so you can work out longer and helps muscles heal faster after a tough workout.

10) Berries

Loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients needed for proper muscle growth. You can’t go wrong with a bowl full of these sweet treats.

There are many supplements on the market that make wild claims about giving you an overnight 6-pack. The truth is there is no magic bullet and supplements shouldn’t take the place of a healthy diet. While supplements alone are rarely sufficient, taking muscle-building pills along with a diet rich in these foods can help a great deal.

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