These are the best foods to gain mass quickly as both nutrition and physical activity are essential if you want to gain lean muscle mass. For starters, it is essential to challenge your body through physical activity . However, without adequate nutritional support, your progress will stall.
Protein – rich foods are very important for gaining muscle, but carbohydrates and fats are also necessary sources of energy. If your goal is to gain lean muscle, you should focus on exercising regularly and getting more calories per day from muscle building foods.
Foods to gain muscle mass:
Proteins are made up of amino acids and eggs contain large amounts of the amino acid leucine, which is particularly important for muscle gain. Additionally, B vitamins are extremely important for a variety of processes in your body, including energy production.
Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health. Each 85-gram serving of salmon contains about 17 grams of protein, nearly 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and several important B vitamins. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in muscle health and can even increase muscle gain during exercise programs.
3. Chicken breast:
Chicken breast is a top protein as there is a good reason why chicken breasts are considered a staple for gaining muscle. They are packed with protein, with each 3-gram (85-gram) serving containing around 26 grams of high-quality protein.
They also contain generous amounts of the B vitamins niacin and B6, which can be particularly important if you’re active. These vitamins help the body to function properly during the physical activity and exercise necessary for optimal muscle gain.
Also, some research has shown that higher protein diets containing chicken can help with fat loss.
4. Greek yogurt:
The dairy industry not only contains high quality protein , but also a blend of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein. Some research has shown that people experience increases in lean mass when they consume a combination of fast and slow digesting dairy proteins.
However, not all dairy products are created equal. For example, Greek yogurt generally contains approximately twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt.
While Greek yogurt is a good anytime snack, eating it after a workout or before bed can be beneficial due to its blend of fast and slow digesting proteins.
Tuna is a good mass-gaining food choice , as in addition to 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce (85-gram) serving, tuna contains high amounts of vitamin A and several B vitamins, including B12, niacin , and B6. These nutrients are important for optimal health, energy, and exercise performance.
Additionally, tuna provides high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which can support muscle health. This can be particularly important for the elderly. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can slow the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with age.
6. Lean meat:
Beef is packed with high quality protein, B vitamins , minerals and creatine. Some research has shown that consuming lean red meat can increase the amount of lean mass gained from weight training.
However, even when you’re trying to gain muscle, it may be best to choose meat that supports muscle gain without providing too many extra calories. For example, 3 ounces (85 grams) of 70% lean ground beef contains 228 calories and 15 grams of fat.
However, the same amount of 95% lean ground beef contains slightly more protein and only 145 calories and 5 grams of fat.
In the list of foods to gain mass , shrimp cannot be left out, as shrimp are almost pure protein. Each 3-ounce (85-gram) serving contains 18 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and zero carbs.
While healthy fats and carbs are important in your diet as a whole, adding some shrimp is an easy way to get muscle-building protein without too many additional calories. Like many other animal proteins, shrimp contain a high amount of the amino acid leucine, which is necessary for optimal muscle growth.
A half cup (86 grams) of cooked soybeans contains 14 grams of protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and several vitamins and minerals. Soybeans are a particularly good source of vitamin K , iron and phosphorus .
Iron is used to store and transport oxygen in the blood and muscles, and a deficiency can impair these functions. Young women may be particularly at risk for iron deficiency due to blood loss during menstruation.
9. Cottage cheese:
Cottage cheese is a good muscle-building food alternative , as one cup (226 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese contains 28 grams of protein, including a healthy dose of the important muscle-building amino acid, leucine.
Like other dairy products, cottage cheese can be purchased with different fat content. High-fat versions such as cream cottage cheese provide more calories. Choosing which type of cottage cheese is best simply depends on how many extra calories you want to add to your diet.
Regardless of the type you choose, it’s a great muscle-building snack.
10. Turkey breast:
An 85-gram serving of turkey breast contains about 25 grams of protein and almost no fat or carbohydrates. Turkey is also a good source of vitamin B niacin, which helps process fats and carbohydrates in your body. Having optimal levels of B vitamins can help you gain muscle over time, supporting your body’s ability to exercise.
If you’ve never added tilapia to your list of foods to gain muscle mass , it’s time to add it. Also, while it doesn’t have as much omega-3 fatty acid as salmon , tilapia is another protein-packed seafood item.
An 85-gram serving provides around 21 grams of protein, along with good amounts of vitamin B12 and selenium. Vitamin B12 is important for the health of blood cells and nerves, which allows you to perform the exercise you need to gain muscle mass.
Many different varieties of beans can be part of a lean muscle gain diet. Popular varieties such as black beans, pinto and kidney beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cup (about 172 grams) of cooked beans.
In addition, they are excellent sources of fiber and B vitamins , as well as being rich in magnesium , phosphorus and iron. For these reasons, beans are a good source of plant-based protein to add to your diet. In addition, they may play a role in disease prevention and long-term health.
13. Protein powder:
Protein powder is a great food choice for gaining muscle mass , as while any good diet should focus on whole foods, there are times when dietary supplements can be beneficial.
If you struggle to get enough protein from food alone, you might consider adding protein shakes to your daily routine. Dairy protein powders such as whey and casein are some of the most popular. However, there are other options as well. Some protein powders use soy, pea, beef or chicken protein.
Edamame is the term for immature soybeans. These developing beans are found in pods and served in a variety of dishes, especially those of Asian origin. One cup (155 grams) of frozen edamame provides about 17 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. It also contains high amounts of folate , vitamin K and manganese .
Among other functions, folate helps the body process amino acids , the building blocks of protein. In fact, folate may be important for optimal muscle mass and strength, particularly in the elderly.
Quinoa is a great food alternative for gaining muscle mass , as while protein-rich foods are a priority for building lean muscle mass, it’s also important to have the fuel to stay active. Carbohydrate foods can help provide that energy.
Cooked quinoa contains about 40 grams of carbs per cup (185 grams), along with 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and substantial amounts of magnesium and phosphorus. Magnesium plays an important role in the function of your muscles and nerves, both of which are used every time you move.
Like shrimp, tilapia , and lean poultry, scallops provide protein with very little fat. If you’re looking to add protein to your diet without consuming too many calories, these very lean sources can be good choices. Three ounces (85 grams) of scallops provide about 20 grams of protein and less than 100 calories.
17. Lean and dried meats:
Lean and dried meats are indispensable foods for gaining muscle mass , as sometimes you may want high quality protein from meat when you are on the go. If so, lean and dried meats might be an option to consider. Many different types of meat can be made into jerky, so nutritional facts will vary.
However, most of the fat is removed from lean jerky during processing, so nearly all of the calories in jerky come directly from protein. These animal sources of protein are high quality and encourage muscle growth.
Chickpeas are a good source of carbohydrates and protein. Each 1-cup (240-gram) serving of canned chickpeas contains about 12 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbohydrates, including 10 grams of fiber.
As with many plants, the protein in chickpeas is considered to be of lower quality than animal sources. However, it can still be part of a balanced muscle-building diet.
Peanuts are excellent foods for gaining muscle mass , as peanuts contain a mixture of protein, fat and carbohydrates. A half-cup (73-gram) serving contains 17 grams of protein, 16 grams of carbohydrates, and large amounts of unsaturated fat.
They also contain higher amounts of leucine amino acids than many other plant products. Each half-cup (73-gram) serving of peanuts contains about 425 calories.
So if you’re having a hard time getting enough calories to boost your muscle gain, eating peanuts can be a good way to get some extra calories and nutrients. Additionally, nuts are believed to play an important role in an overall healthy diet.
Buckwheat or buckwheat is a seed that can be ground into flour and used in place of traditional flours. Half a cup (60 grams) of all-purpose flour contains about 8 grams of protein, along with plenty of fiber and other carbohydrates.
Buckwheat has become a very popular health food due to its impressive amount of vitamins and minerals. It contains large amounts of B vitamins , magnesium , manganese and phosphorus . These vitamins and minerals can help your body stay healthy and able to perform muscle-strengthening exercises.
Tofu is one of the best foods for gaining muscle mass , as tofu is made from soy milk and is often used as a meat substitute. Each half-cup (124-gram) serving of raw tofu contains 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 2 grams of carbs.
Tofu is also a good source of calcium, which is important for proper muscle function and bone health. Soy protein, found in foods like tofu and soy, is considered one of the highest quality plant proteins. For all these reasons, foods that contain soy protein are great choices for vegetarians and vegans.
22. Pork tenderloin:
Pork is widely consumed in many countries. Pork loin is a lean cut of meat that provides 18 grams of protein and just two grams of fat per 3 ounces (85 grams). Some research has shown that pork has similar effects to other muscle building foods like beef and chicken.
Milk is a great food alternative for gaining muscle mass , as milk provides a mix of protein , carbohydrates and fat. Similar to other dairy products, milk contains both fast and slow digesting proteins.
This is considered beneficial for muscle growth. In fact, several studies have shown that people can increase their muscle mass when they drink milk in combination with weight training.
24. Bison Meat:
Similar to beef, bison provides about 22 grams of protein per 85-gram (85-gram) serving. However, some research has shown that bison may be better than beef in terms of heart disease risk.
If you enjoy eating red meat as part of your muscle-building diet, but are also concerned about your heart health, you might consider replacing some meat with bison.
Among other functions, phosphorus helps the body use carbohydrates and fats for energy at rest and during exercise. As with peanuts, almonds should be consumed in moderation due to their high calorie content. Half a cup of blanched almonds contains over 400 calories.
26. Brown rice:
While cooked brown rice provides only 5 grams of protein per cup (195 grams), it has the carbohydrates you need to fuel your physical activity. Consider eating healthy sources of carbs , such as brown rice or quinoa, in the hours leading up to exercise.
This can allow you to exercise more, giving your body a greater stimulus for muscles to grow. Additionally, some research has shown that rice protein supplements can produce as much muscle gain as whey protein during a weight training program.
27. Whole Grains:
Whole grains are key foods for gaining muscle mass , as whole grains digest more efficiently and provide more nutrients than refined grains. This promotes sustained energy levels and overall health.
In particular, brown rice can help increase growth hormone levels, which are critical for stimulating muscle growth, fat loss, and strength gains.
28. Whey protein:
There’s a reason why whey protein supplements are the most popular supplement in the fitness industry: they provide a quick and convenient source of protein at an affordable price. Bodybuilders typically use them when they wake up, right after training, and mix them in with some of their meals.
For the rest of us, a scoop in our shakers right after our workouts can be very effective for muscle mass gains. It’s important that you still get high-quality protein from whole foods, and use whey protein as a booster.
29. Healthy Fats:
Healthy fats are indispensable foods for gaining muscle mass , as I know the thought of consuming fat makes some of you cringe, but good fats are essential for muscle growth.
In fact, they play an essential role in the production of hormones (testosterone and growth hormones), which help drive muscle growth and strength gains. In addition, fats are necessary for many important maintenance functions.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are the good fats. You can find them in salmon , other fish, nuts, leafy vegetables, oils such as flaxseeds, avocados and seeds. They are also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
30. Oat flour:
Oatmeal is an excellent source of carbohydrates due to its low glycemic index (GI) and the fact that it is minimally processed. The benefits of a low GI diet include:
- Better micronutrient profile and more fiber;
- Increased satiety;
- Decreased hunger;
- Lower subsequent energy intake (second meal effect);
- Weight loss.
In short, low GI foods can boost fat loss for those looking to lose weight and provide a steady source of carbs for muscle preservation.