How Important is Nutrition for Building Muscles?

Building muscles requires a lot of effort in the kitchen and in the gym. To build muscle mass, you need a lot of strength training and cardiovascular training, as well as a healthy, balanced diet. 

Your diet should only consist of healthy foods, therefore, no junk food and sugar, as these foods are only bad for your health (check out foods to avoid) and do not increase muscle, only body fat. The following guide outlines the importance of diet for building muscle.

Healthy Food To Build Muscle

The following foods contain proteins as well as a mixture of vegetables containing fiber and carbohydrates, while others contain beneficial amino acids.

Protein For Muscle Growth


Lean pork contains about 40 grams of protein in each cup. A 2012 study showed that adults who have a high BMI have increased the rate at which they eat fresh, low-fat pork for 6 months, improving their body health, weight, and composition. Authors have suggested that pork is one of the nutritious proteins that does not have a negative effect on cardiovascular risk to a person.

Lean beef

Lean beef has over 23 grams of protein for every 4 ounces. It also has selenium, iron, and zinc, which are important for energy production and regeneration. They offer a low-fat meal that contains amino acids that can promote muscle recovery and growth.


Other poultry and chicken are excellent sources of lean protein; the average chicken breast has about 50 grams of protein. Poultry is also a primary source of amino acid leucine, an important branched-chain amino acid that assists in preventing age-related muscle breakdown (20) and may promote young muscle growth. 

Even though the evidence is inconclusive (19, 21). Animal foods also offer vitamin B12, which is needed to repair damaged cells and produce red blood cells.


Fish contains all the proteins in red meat without including saturated fat. Whitefish are high in protein and low in fat, while oily fish like sardines, mackerel, and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help in protein metabolism for efficient growth of muscles. Research has proved that supplements of omega-3 stimulate the synthesis of muscle protein in the elderly, young people, and mid-sized adults.


Eggs provide an effective dose of high-quality protein. An egg contains about 6 grams of protein. Eggs also offer choline, which can reduce athletic fatigue and improve athletic performance. Choline is also essential for communication between the muscles and the nervous system. Also, eggs can be helpful in controlling appetite and controlling weight.


Tofu is one of the most important vegetable sources of protein. All kinds of proteins provide the body with the amino acid building blocks needed to build new muscle, but some foods have better amino acid profiles than others. 

Tofu provides good amounts of essential amino acids that must be ingested through food as the body cannot produce them (5). In one study, soy protein was comparable to the protein from whey in avoiding muscle damage due to exercises and helping soccer players to recover.

Protein Powder

Many sources of protein are also high in fat and unsuitable for those looking to tone their muscle or lose weight. This is where protein powders come in. Protein powders like the whey protein powder, white egg protein powder, pea protein powder, casein protein powder and mixed plant protein powder are fat-free.  

This makes these protein powders suitable for those looking to lose weight and strengthen their muscles by consuming lean protein. However, some protein powders such as whey and casein come from milk, and they harbor lactose. This makes them unsuitable for people who have problems digesting lactose. 

However, plant based protein powders and white egg protein powder are lactose free, making them suitable for lactose intolerant people. The protein powders contain proteins and amino acids that are essential for repairing and rebuilding, making it the perfect protein-rich supplement post-workout.

Nuts, Beans, and Grains


Technically, peanut butter and peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes (in the same family as lentils and beans), which explains their higher content of protein than other normal nuts. Peanut butter and peanuts have about 24 grams of protein per 100 grams, compared to 18 grams of cashew nuts, 14 grams of Brazil nuts, and 9 grams of walnuts. 

In one research, elderly patients received peanut protein together with weight training for 6 weeks, which considerably increased strength and muscle growth.


Almonds are an excellent portable after-workout snack on the go. Almonds contain the highest content of protein of all nuts (except peanuts, see below); a handful has about 7 grams of protein. 

Almonds are also rich in satiety, which means they make you feel full and satisfied and assists in controlling your appetite. This may be essential for someone who wants to reduce body fat and build muscle at the same time. Almonds are another excellent source of magnesium.


A cup of shelled and chopped walnuts contains 15.2g of protein and 9g of omega-3 fatty acids, which can promote muscle building. Walnuts are also an adequate source of vitamin E in the diet, a Trusted Source study shows they can safeguard the body from physical stress during exercise.

Brown Rice

One cup of already cooked brown rice has 5.32 g of a reliable source of protein and is a sufficient source of B vitamins, fiber, and carbohydrates. The combination of brown rice and lentils, chickpeas or beans, provides a complete amino acid for a diet based on vegetables in a meal.


Lentils contain 9g of protein in half a cup and various amino acids. They are a reliable source of minerals, fiber, vitamins, and carbohydrates. Lentils are a source of protein for those on a plant-based diet, and a balanced amino acid profile can be achieved by combining lentils with whole grains like brown rice.


Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a good source of carbohydrates and protein. A person can eat dried and soggy chickpeas, ready-made, or as a canned meal such as dahl. 

Canned chickpeas have 14.6g of protein per cup, making them ideal for those who want to go on a plant-based diet and gain muscle. The hummus, which has ground chickpeas, contains 7 grams of protein per third cup.


Vegetables That Help To Build Muscles


Several studies have shown that eating carpet staining vegetables improves athletic performance. Athletes who drink beet juice have seen a 38% increase in the flow of blood to the muscles, especially “fast” muscles that impact strength and bursts of speed.


Spinach contains iron that is essential for building muscle strength. It is also an excellent source of magnesium, an essential mineral for muscle building, energy production, and carbohydrate metabolism.


Mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D. Remember that vitamin D supplements are positively related to muscle strength.

Green Pepper

Peppers are one of the vegetables with a significant amount of vitamin C, which contributes to the burning of fat and converting carbohydrates into fuel.


Kale is a low-calorie, high-calcium vegetable that contains about 101 mg in a single cup. Calcium is important for moving muscles and nerves and transmitting signals from the brain to other body parts.


Broccoli is good for reducing cholesterol, preventing cardiovascular complications, and supporting the cardiovascular system. Also, having low cholesterol is the only way of achieving muscle development and toning.


Cauliflower is important for its omega-3 fatty acid content. The Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the essential nutritional requirements when it comes to muscle development.

Butternut Squash

Pumpkin is another starchy vegetable to eat after training due to its high carbohydrate content. The carbohydrates help to replenish muscle glycogen stores.

Dairy Products

Greek Yogurt

5 ounces of Greek yogurt comes with 12-18 grams of protein. You can add a high-carb banana to Greek yogurt as a healthy post-workout snack.

Cottage Cheese

Partially skimmed cheese contains 14 grams of protein per half a cup. Also, cottage cheese contains high contents of calcium for bone health.


Skim milk or 1% milk contains 8 grams of protein per 8 ounces and high protein milk comes with 13 grams of protein per 8 ounces. As long as you can take milk, you can use it to increase protein intake and hydration after training. Also, milk contains calcium which you will need for healthy bones.



Since bananas are the richest in carbohydrate, you can eat them for breakfast so as to replenish glycogen levels of muscles and stop muscle breakdown. You can also mix it with a post-workout protein shake to replenish muscle energy reserves. Bananas also contain potassium which is necessary for good muscle contraction.


If you ask 10 bodybuilders which fruits contain the most vitamin C, many will say kiwi, even though many people think it’s orange. In fact, kiwi fruit contains more of this powerful antioxidant that can help remove fat from the body. 

Researchers at Arizona State University (Mesa) have found that vitamin C deficiency can make it harder to burn fat during exercise because the synthesis of carnitine, which is a good fatty acid oxidation, requires vitamin c.


An apple a day can keep Buddha’s stomach in check. Preliminary research suggests that an apple peel compound called ursolic acid may accelerate fat burning and increase skeletal muscle. 

The glycemic index of apples is lower than many other fruits, making them ideal before training. Consider using organic products when eating the skin. The environmental working group found that apples contain the most pesticide residues compared to other fruits.


This fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) is high in fiber – 13 grams per avocado. Bodybuilders who eat a high-protein diet may not be successful in the fiber industry, but a high-fiber diet helps cut it in half (it can reduce blood sugar spikes and prevent fat buildup). 

Avocados are also the main source of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats. Spread avocado over beans or add slices to salads for dinner.


This refreshment contains citrulline, an amino acid that is used in the generation of nitric oxide. Many bodybuilders love Nitric Oxide because it improves the flow of blood to the muscles and allows the delivery of anabolic compounds and healing nutrients. 

Would you like to light fireworks in your love life? Studies suggest that citrulline can also dilate blood vessels, like a small blue pill.

Final Thoughts

People need proteins of different varieties and amino acid sources for muscle building during exercise. You can select from various common plant and animal foods and combine them with sufficient amounts of carbohydrates. 

Protein-rich foods, for instance, oily fish, can have additional health and exercise benefits. People should ensure that their diet contains essential nutrients for recovery, energy, and performance. You also need to make sure they are properly hydrated.



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