Best foods to build muscle

Written by Abbi Ryan

Abbi Ryan is a contributing author and a creative director at Dr. J's Natural with a passion for all things health and wellness. As a former college athlete and fellow health enthusiast, Abbi aims to share her thoughts and research about the important things that will help create a happier and healthier lifestyle. In her spare time, Abbi enjoys cooking, spending time with family, and painting new pieces of wall decor for her new home!

March 30, 2022

Food is fuel, and helping to build muscle isn’t just about daily exercise. Nutrition plays a major role in the way your body converts food into energy and nutrients which feed your body and over time gain muscle.

In order to build muscle, it is important to stick to the foods that are going to support strong bones, fuel your energy needs and above all, help you get stronger! Take a peek at the best foods for building muscle.


With large amounts of protein and B vitamins, eggs are an excellent food source. Eggs also contain the amino acid called leucine, a vital type of protein that is essential for gaining muscle and post-workout recovery.

B vitamins are also an important part of fueling your energy for workouts and sustaining you throughout the day. Eggs should be eaten in moderation as too much may contribute to an increase in cholesterol levels.


With up to 60 grams of protein per serving, salmon is the protein powerhouse that you need to reach your strength goals. Salmon is also rich in Omega 3s which may help reduce muscle loss in older adults and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Although considered a fatty fish, salmon has been studied to assist people in weight loss, providing loads of great protein and vitamins/minerals without the extra calories.


Another high-protein, low-calorie food for gaining muscle is shrimp. With around 18 grams of protein per serving, shrimp provides the body with another source of leucine and healthy fats while keeping the extra weight off.

Greek Yogurt

Often containing more protein than regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is great muscle-building food with tons of benefits.

Greek yogurt contains a unique mixture of slow-digesting proteins and fast-digesting proteins, which makes it a great snack anytime after a workout or at the end of the workday. Studies show that people have noticed an increase in lean muscle mass when consuming more slow & fast-digesting dairy proteins such as Greek yogurt.


With over 20 grams of protein, tuna is another great source for gaining muscle, especially with essential A and B vitamins, which aid in exercise performance and energy.

Like salmon, tuna also contains Omega 3 fatty acids which can prolong muscle loss that comes as you age. You’ll find that Omega 3s contain amazing health benefits for people at a later age because they help with inflammation, muscle loss and can help manage age-related diseases.


Beans are great for building lean muscle, as they contain high amounts of protein, fiber, and B vitamins, including magnesium and iron. For those sticking to a plant-based diet, or who need more variety of protein sources for gaining muscle, beans are a great source.

Protein Powders

While the most nutritious muscle-building foods come from whole foods, protein powders can be a great supplemental source of protein that can help reach your strength goals and help build muscle.
Keep in mind that protein powders should not be your only source of protein, however, they are a good additive when you are not currently meeting your protein needs in order for optimal muscle growth.
There is a myriad of research conducted to deduce the best kind of protein powders for your health. Whey and casein are the most common, however, plant-based protein powders have begun to rise in competition.

Chicken Breast

Perhaps the most commonly consumed food source for gaining muscle, chicken breast contains loads of protein, including B vitamins which are particularly important for physically active individuals. These vitamins are essential for optimal exercise performance and help gain muscle mass.

Save for your next grocery trip and stock up on these muscle-building favorites!

Foods to help build muscle fast


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