Simple And Healthy Foods To Build Muscle

The two-word key to finding healthy foods to build muscle is lean protein. So, for the most part, it’s about finding good sources of lean protein, that are hopefully not too expensive.

Do You Need to Build Muscle?

The short answer is “yes.” Muscle doesn’t automatically build itself – particularly as you age. It tends to deteriorate, and as it deteriorates, it reduces your quality of life in many potential ways. Strong muscles give you the physical ability to enjoy life!

One of the main ways people build muscle is through resistance exercise, often in the form of lifting weights, etc. But the right foods also play a huge role, because you need the lean protein base for resistance exercise to have the desired effect.

Strength training is not only good for the body, it’s also good for the mind. It can significantly help lower the risk of depression.

Simple and Healthy Foods for Muscle Strength

The essential amino acids that make up what we know as “protein” are necessary for muscle repair and growth. Lean protein, as mentioned in the first paragraph of this post, is key! Here are some simple and hopefully healthful foods that can assist you in your quest for strong muscles.

  1. Chicken and turkey breast. Chicken and turkey breast are low-fat high protein sources containing all 9 essential amino acids. They are probably among the more expensive forms of lean protein but pack a lot of protein punch.
  2. Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a complete protein that contains a lot of calcium, which plays a crucial role in muscle contractions. The protein content of Greek yogurt per ounce is approximately twice as high as ordinary yogurt.
  3. Eggs. Eggs contain protein that is very “bioavailable,” that is, the body can easily absorb and use it. They also contain vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, including Vitamin D and choline, which are great for muscular health.
  4. Cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is rich in casein protein. Casein protein digests slowly and keeps up a steady supply of amino acids to your muscles. It’s also low-fat and low-carb – and low in calories! So it can help prevent you from gaining weight while strengthening your muscles.
  5. Tofu. Not everyone is a fan of the flavor of tofu, it’s very bland, but it’s also a great source of protein – plus calcium and iron. Tofu contains six grams of protein per three-ounce serving, which is great for a plant-based protein source! Calcium and iron are important for muscle growth.
  6. Legumes – especially soy. Legumes, in general, provide plant-based protein but are not a complete protein. You need grains together with legumes to accomplish that purpose. However, soy (from which tofu is made) is an exception. Soybeans contain all 9 essential amino acids, so they are a very valuable vegan source of complete protein.
  7. Quinoa. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids – thus it is a complete protein – somewhat rare in a single plant-based protein source. In addition, quinoa is high in healthy complex carbohydrates, so your workouts can thrive with a sustained source of energy! It’s also rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which support muscle growth and recovery.
  8. Nuts and seeds. Most nuts and seeds are good plant-based sources, not only of protein but also healthy fats and carbohydrates. They also have fiber. They also have vitamins and minerals. What’s not to love?! The nutrients in nuts and seeds support many of the body’s systems. One seed shines especially, though when it comes to the health and maintenance of your muscles: pumpkin seeds! They are high in some great nutrients, including iron, magnesium, folate, and Vitamin K. Vitamin K is a significant factor in muscle maintenance and recovery.
  9. Fatty fish. Tuna, salmon, and other “fatty” fish are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s directly help to reduce muscle loss and improve muscle function. It is thought that they may actually help increase muscle mass. That’s significant!
  10. Leafy greens. No, leafy greens are not a great source of protein, but leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard support overall health and muscle function because of their abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Being low as well in calories and carbs, they help to keep you lean while strengthening muscle!
  11. Lean beef. In general, beef is not considered one of the healthier foods, but that is probably in large part due to the deleterious effects of beef fat on the body – particularly the heart. Lean beef, however, is a different story. Lean beef contains creatine – a known agent in creating muscle mass, improving muscle strength, and helping the muscles recover quickly after exercise.


Of all the foods listed above, the cheapest are plant foods such as legumes, soy, and some nuts and seeds. So if you’re desiring to get strong muscles, and don’t have so many dollars to buy large quantities of meat like chicken, turkey breast, or lean beef, there are other options!


So yes, eating muscle-building foods and foods that support your muscular system in general are a very necessary part of your total muscle-building regimen, which of course also needs to include resistance exercise. That’s an aspect of muscle-building that is generally well understood. The supportive role of food that also supports muscles in various ways is also important.

If you have any questions or comments about simple and healthy foods that strengthen your muscles, please feel free to share in the comments below.

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