If you want to build muscle, you need lots of protein. On the other hand, the body has to be able to process that protein for it to be effective. This means you also need to make sure you get plenty of fiber and probiotics. The best foods give you a nice mix of both sides of this equation. Here are five foods that help build muscle, while still making sure that these other needs are addressed as well. I have included five choices that you might not hear of very often but are quite effective:
Cottage Cheese is a great snack and can be enjoyed morning, afternoon and evening without much problem. It has plenty of protein including casein—a special type that you can think of as a sort of “time release” protein. This is great for the body because it doesn’t get hit with everything all at once and can easily process it while you sleep. In addition, you can eat cottage cheese with just about anything and it is incredibly tasty.
When you want a good dose of fiber with your protein, black beans are the way to go. They also have vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin K, and vitamin C. If you don’t like black beans on their own, try adding them to a salad, soup, or chili. This way you get all of the benefits while masking the flavor. Most people enjoy black beans though and it is a great source of all the things you need for muscle.
There is a reason that people still eat venison…it has a lot of iron and protein but very little fat. In fact, some people actually add lard to their ground venison to make it the same texture as ground beef. One of the best things about venison is that it has its own hearty flavor, but does well when combined with just about any kind of vegetable.
Of the five foods that help build muscle listed here, olive oil is the one that people tend to overlook the most. What you cook with or dress your salad with is just as important as the primary foods. Olive oil contains Omega-3 for one. This helps with reducing inflammation as well as pain. As you are building muscles, it is important to account for the side effects that can occur as well. If you can reduce your muscle pain by adding olive oil to your salad instead of taking a pill, your body will appreciate it. Best of all, you will be freed up to not miss workouts and exercise. Sometimes building muscle with food is done in a very indirect manner, and olive oil is a perfect example.
Whether you eat it when you have a sweet tooth or put it in a smoothie, yogurt has plenty to offer for building muscles. It does offer protein, calcium, and vitamin D, but the right kind of yogurt also has probiotics. Yogurt with live, active yeast cultures helps your digestive system with probiotics. When you are eating a lot of protein, your digestive system needs a bit of a boost. You can also add fruits, nuts, and berries to taste.
Remember that when you are building muscle you need to make sure you stay hydrated and give your body a good combination of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Otherwise you may do more damage than good. Balance is the key in diet as well as exercise if you truly want to build muscle that will last.
See also: 15 Best Post-Workout Foods and Snacks