Below are fourteen of my favorites for muscle building and retention. Not only that but these foods are health promoting.
There are certain foods with special attributes that I try to consume regularly when focused on building muscle. Whole foods, meaning unrefined, and full of all the original nutrients, are fantastic for packing on muscle. If you start with these, results will absolutely happen. Complex carbohydrates are essential for adding bulk. Calories, in general will do this if you look vaguely at the subject, but consider again that calories from refined foods will put a damper on success causing a loss of nutrients and nutrient deficiencies in the body. Protein is vital for muscle repair and all sorts of functions in the body, so it important to get enough so as not to burn muscle. Fats are huge. Yes, huge! The right kinds of fats help the body metabolize body fat and are like fuel to your furnace. Without them, we end up with brittle nails, dry skin, rusty joints and our brains can’t functions to their full capacity. See my list below for favorite super foods for body building.
C= carbohydrates P= protein F= fat (Important nutrients listed and primary nutrients listed first)
The kind of foods that I love are:
Potatoes (C)(all). Surely sweet potatoes are more nutritious than white or red, but do not totally avoid the latter; variety is important.
Whole or steel cut oats (C,P, F) are tremendous for sustained energy and make a great breakfast food or even a dinner food when used in pilafs. Offering fiber, and protein to keep you satisfied.
Quinoa (C,P,F) is relatively new to the nutrition world, but has been around forever, In quinoa you get complete protein, fat and carbohydrates. It is a meal in and of itself.
Amaranth, (C,P) Is great for those who have a hard time gaining weight. It nourishes the body very well. Add it to your usual rice or quinoa dish for a great mix. You can also buy amaranth flour for use in breads, muffins, etc.
Leafy greens (C, P) offer much vitamin A, a necessary antioxidant and vitamin, needed for repair of tissues. This includes, kale, spinach, collards, beet greens, and all other dark leafy greens.
Eggs (P), Cage free eggs from happy chickens. Also egg white protein is superior to most other proteins in muscle building.
Mushrooms , specifically maitake, reishi, shiitake, cordyceps. These medicinal mushrooms offer liver protection; some help reduce blood and liver fats which in turn helps reduce bodyfat, You will see an increase in energy and recovery with supplementation. Maitake helps stimulate T-cells which defend the body against viruses and cancer.
Nutritional yeast (P) for B-vitamins, especially important for vegetarians, protein
Wheat Germ (C) is a fantastic source of vitamin E and the B vitamin folic acid
Nuts, seeds, and oil (F) contain important minerals, vitamin E, and healthy fats which help protect the brain and joints. Eat fat to stay lean! I enjoy coconut, coconut oil, cashews, brazil nuts, almonds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil–almost daily. Yes, all of them! At 110 pounds, I’d say it’s effective.
Protein powders (P): Whey, brown rice, pea, and hemp are my favorites. If you can afford it, buy organic, especially if buying whey protein. The one I use often is from Vitacost (link below)
Berries (C) of all kinds are vital for antioxidant protection. Exercise increases free-radical production which can lead to premature aging of the cells.
Spirulina for vitamin A, nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), unmatched protein, and precious B-
Vegetables (C, P) Certain vegetables are touted for causing growth. And they’re not only good for the one who wants to ad muscle but for our growing children. Here are some of them: Cauliflower, collard greens (also mentioned above),Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and Eggplant.
Grass fed beef (P) Grass fed products contain conjugated linolenic acid (CLA), important for keeping lean mass. It reduces breakdown of muscle tissue for energy. IT also prevents certain types of cancers and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Grass fed cows gather all their nutrients from the grasses they graze on grasses we can’t digest, unless it’s through their meat and/or dairy products.