Top 10 fitness foods for weight loss, dieting, and building muscles. Remember, it’s essential to exercise in combination with eating well to reach your goals. Foods that can help you get the shape you want are listed below. Both nutrition and physical activity are critical if you want to gain lean muscle. It’s essential to challenge your body through physical activity, but without proper nutritional support, your progress will stall. High-protein foods are important for gaining muscle, but carbohydrates and fats are also necessary energy sources. If your goal is to gain lean muscle, you should focus on exercising regularly and eating more calories daily from muscle-building food.
Here are the most important top 10 fitness foods for weight loss, dieting, and building muscles.
1. Full-fat Dairy
You know me, I can never say enough good things about Greek yogurt. On the fat loss side, Greek yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid, known to burn fat and promote weight loss. As for muscle building, slow-digesting dairy proteins contribute to muscle gain. Cottage cheese is another protein-filled snack that helps to fill you up.
2. Fish Like Salmon, Tuna, and Tilapia Fish
The mega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon not only reduce inflammation but are also one of the best foods to help you lose fat. How? Fish helps lessen the production of cortisol ( a stress hormone that can lead to increased fat storage). It’s good for both heart and muscular health.
Each 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of salmon contains about 17 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and several important B vitamins (5Trusted Source).
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in muscular health and may even increase muscle gain during exercise programs (6Trusted Source).
3. Meats (Like Lean Beef and Chicken Breast)
Vitamins, like B6, in particular, are known to give you the stamina you need during exercise. Lean beef, turkey, and chicken are considered essentials for gaining muscle. These proteins boost the body without a heavy calorie load, and that’s why they are so beneficial.
Chicken breasts also contain generous amounts of the B vitamins niacin and B6, which may be particularly important if you are active.
These vitamins help your body function properly during the necessary physical activity for optimal muscle gain.
Moreover, some research has shown that higher protein diets containing chicken may aid in fat loss.
4. Brown Rice
Brown rice has a bit of protein but, more importantly, is another useful source of carbs. Considered almost as good as whey for muscle building, brown rice is gluten-free, It contains vitamins and minerals key to providing energy when you need it.
Although cooked brown rice provides only 6 grams of protein per cup (202 grams), it has the carbohydrates you need to fuel your physical activity.
Consider eating healthy carb sources like brown rice or quinoa in the hours following exercise.
This may allow you to exercise harder, giving your body a greater stimulus for your muscles to grow.
Plus, some research has shown that rice protein supplements can produce muscle gain as whey protein during a weight training program.
5. Beans and Legumes
Chickpeas, edamame, and kidney beans are all excellent ways to add protein to the diet. Edamame, in particular, contains the all-important folate that helps with muscle strength. Beans, like black or kidney beans, are packed with iron and phosphorus (aid in protein building.)
Many different types of beans can be part of a diet for lean muscle gain.
Popular varieties — such as black, pinto, and kidney beans — contain around 15 grams of protein per cup (about 172 grams) of cooked beans.
What’s more, they are excellent sources of fiber and B vitamins and are high in magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. For these reasons, beans are a good source of plant-based protein to add to your diet.
Moreover, they may play a role in long-term health and disease prevention.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of my go-to hunger reducers. Now that I follow an intermittent fasting eating regimen, I drink a lot of water. I add apple cider vinegar, and doing so helps stave off hunger.
The acetic acid in the vinegar is thought to lessen fat accumulation in the stomach and increase the body’s ability to lose fat.
Chances are you may not be familiar with this exotic whole grain grown in the Andes mountains. But you should be. It has a light, mild flavor-making it ideal for guys who hate other whole grains. Even better, it’s higher in protein than any other grain and packs a hefty dose of healthy, unsaturated fats. “Quinoa is also a great source of fiber and B vitamins.
While protein-rich foods are a priority for building lean muscle, it’s also important to have the fuel to get active.
Foods with carbohydrates can help provide this energy.
Cooked quinoa contains about 40 grams of carbs per cup (185 grams), along with 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and hearty amounts of magnesium and phosphorus.
Magnesium plays an important role in the function of your muscles and nerves, both of which are used every time you move.
8. Green Tea
From cancer prevention to weight loss to potentially slowing the development of Alzheimer’s, green tea has been shown to help fight almost every major medical ill. “Hot or cold, there’s almost nothing better you can drink,” says Mohr. Not the teabagging type? Try buying a liquid extract. Drop a bit in the water, and voila! Instant tea.
“An egg a day is A-OK,” says Ward. Here’s why: Eggs contain a heavy-hitting 4 grams of pure muscle-building amino acids inside every shell, in addition to boasting some of the highest naturally available doses around of a vitamin called choline, which is thought to help enhance memory. “They’re the gold standard for providing all the right nutrients for muscle growth,” says Ward.
Eggs contain high-quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline.
Proteins are made up of amino acids. Eggs contain large amounts of the amino acid leucine, which is particularly important for muscle gain.
B vitamins are also critically important for a variety of processes in your body, including energy production.
Dairy not only contains high-quality protein but also a mixture of fast-digesting whey protein and slow-digesting casein protein. Some research has shown that people experience increases in lean mass when they consume a combination of fast- and slow-digesting dairy proteins
10. Greek Yogurt
But not all dairy is created equal. For example, Greek yogurt often contains approximately double the amount of protein as regular yogurt.
While Greek yogurt is a good snack anytime, eating it after a workout or before bed may be beneficial due to its mixture of fast- and slow-digesting proteins.
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