- It’s important to eat a combination of animal and plant proteins to promote muscle-building, instead of just pumping iron.
- The recommended amount of daily protein intake depends on gender, daily caloric intake, and physical activity.
- Aside from lean ground beef, salmon, and Greek yogurt, other good protein sources include guavas, quinoa, and soybeans.
How much protein does a body need?
Proteins are important for muscle-building.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) varies according to physical activity, daily caloric intake, and gender. It is 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women, as the RDA is 0.8 grams per kilogram of your body weight.
Lisa Davis, PhD, chief nutrition officer at Terra’s Kitchen, says, “If you’re strength training, your body requires more protein than the average person in order to repair muscle that’s broken down during training and build new muscle tissue.”
“The average weight lifter may need 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, whereas a professional bodybuilder may need 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight,” she continues.
Here are 9 muscle-building foods to eat:
1. Lean ground beef
Kendall says, “Because iron is so critical to proteins involved in oxygen transport, low iron levels can lead to fatigue, lowered immunity, feelings of weakness, and poor performance in the gym.”
You get 23 grams of protein and around 15% of recommended daily intake of iron for every 3-ounce serving of beef.
Just 3 ounces of salmon supplies your body with 1-1.5 grams of omega-3 and 23 grams of protein.
Combining regular exercise with ample amounts of omega-3 can reduce body fat more than just exercise.
3. Greek yogurt
Dr. Kendall says, “Greek yogurt contains almost twice the protein of regular yogurt, plus it has gut-friendly probiotics and bone-strengthening calcium.”
For a 6-ounce serving of 0% percent Fage Greek Yogurt, you get 18 grams of protein and 20% of your daily intake of calcium.
Avoid the sugary flavored pre-packaged yogurt and go for the plain Greek yogurt. Sweeten it with stevia, honey, or add a handful of berries.
Soybeans come in different forms: tofu, milk, miso, and tempeh.
Dr. Davis says, “Firm tofu packs 10 grams of protein per half-cup, and the firmer the tofu is, the better when it comes to amount of protein.”
One cup of roasted soybeans has 43 grams of proteins. Soybeans are also rich in magnesium that metabolizes energy for muscle-building, weight-bearing exercises, resistance training, and muscle repair.
This tropical fruit contains Vitamin C plus 4.2 grams of protein. Guavas have 3 times more Vitamin C than the RDA so it smoothens skin, raises collagen production, and improves blood circulation.
Quinoa is one of the very few plant-based foods that’s a complete protein.
Dr. Davis says, “Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids that your body needs, but can’t produce on its own.”
A cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and also provides iron and fiber.
7. Hemp seeds
With just 3 tablespoons, you get 10 grams of protein and a substantial amount of omega-3 acids.
Just go easy on the servings as a tablespoon is also equivalent to 50 calories. Add a tablespoon or two to your salad, smoothie, or as a topping to oatmeal or yogurt.
8. Nutritional yeast
Davis says, “Three tablespoons of this vegan staple contains 12 grams of protein, and is a good source of B vitamins for muscle strength, protein and acid metabolism, preventing muscle damage, and repairing muscle tears.
9. Protein powders
Ilana Muhlstein, RD, nutritionist for Explore Cuisine says, “The healthiest protein powders should have at least 15 grams of protein per scoop (usually 42 grams) and ideally have the same, if not more, grams of fiber than sugar.”
Use protein powders that have added fiber, Vitamins D and C, calcium, iron, and other nutrients as a meal replacement or post-workout recovery.
Source: THE Healthy