Eight Powerful Foods for Muscle Mass

Ryan Reynolds Six Pack before and afterNot all food is created equal. Some menu items just bring more to the nutritional table than others. By selecting the right foods to put onto your plate, you can add some power punch to your muscle-building goal.


In the 1980’s, eggs took a big reputation hit. Eggs are back in favor and considered on of Mother Nature’s most perfect foods. When compared to the steak on the plate, eggs offer fewer calories and more biological protein.

Eggs are a great source of protein since they contain 9 essential amino acids.  Essential amino acids are those that your body cannot synthesize, so their only source comes from your diet.   That means that you can eat fewer eggs and get the same boost to your muscle formation. The egg also provides a plethora of other vitamins and minerals.

In addition to essential amino acids, eggs also contain iron, Vitamins A, D, E,  B12, and Folate.  Okay, so they’re packed with vitamins, but they also contain lutein and zeaxanthin which help to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.  Selenium in eggs works well with Vitamin E as antioxidants to prevent the breakdown of tissue.  Choline found in eggs plays a role in brain function.


When the crunch monster is knocking at your door, pass by the chips and reach for some almonds. Two handfuls of almonds per day can fight that need to snack as well as add some boost to your muscles. Almonds contain high levels of alpha-tocopherol Vitamin E.

This type of vitamin E gets absorbed by the body the best. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that combats free-radicals which can be produced by heavy workouts. The fewer free-radicals causing damage means that your muscles can recover faster and get back the business of building.

Almonds can protect your brain as well as your body. One study from the Journal of American Medical Association found that men who got their vitamin E from food sources were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. These subjects dropped their risk by 67% when compared to other men who were consuming the least amount of vitamin E [1].

Fish Oil

If you want something fishy for your diet, make it salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids counter protein breakdown that happens after a workout and salmon has high amounts. This improves the overall recovery of the muscle. In order to build up muscle, you need to store new protein at a higher rate than your body can break down the protein that already is present.

Omega 3’s is also a diabetes and heart disease defender. Recent recommendations to prevent heart disease include eating  one serving of fatty fish (200-400mg) twice per week or taking a supplement containing 900 mg of EPA+DHA [eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] and consuming a diet rich in alpha-linoleic acid [2].

woman eating probiotic yogurtYogurt

Yogurt may seem like chick food, but guys should incorporate this into their diet if they want to boost muscle development. Yogurt is a perfect blend of protein and carbohydrates. This rather simple food can help the muscles recover and grow after a workout.

Skip the sugar-free varieties and opt for the regular yogurt with fruit. The extra carbohydrates that come from the additional fruit will boost insulin levels in the bloodstream. This counters the protein breakdown that happens after a workout.

Yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid. Some studies suggest that this fat helps reduce the overall body fat. Yogurt is one of the few foods that contain this specialized fat naturally.


Nothing is more manly and better than a big hunk of beef. This slice of protein power also contains iron and zinc which are important muscle-boosting nutrients. Beef also yields two grams of creatine for every sixteen ounces. Creatine gives you the energy to keeping pumping the muscle-building iron.

Not all cuts of beef will give you the cut muscle look you are looking for. Look for leaner cuts like rounds or loins. Leaner cuts still pack the nutrient punch without the excess calories. Beef also contains high levels of selenium which can help keep away prostate cancer.

Olive Oil

Adding a little olive oil to the regiment will also help muscle mass development. The body has a cellular protein called tumor necrosis factor-a. This nasty little bugger is responsible for muscle breakdown associated with muscle wasting and weakening [3].

The monounsaturated fat in olive oil stops this from happening. Olive oil also contains high levels of vitamin E which fights free-radicals. Opt for the extra-virgin varieties because they have the highest vitamin E concentration. There are some things in life that are better the purer they are.

Besides helping muscle development, olive oil also has additional bonuses. Olive oil has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. Using olive oil to cook some of you favorite foods can help keeping you growing and going long-term.

Athlete Drinking Bottled WaterWater

People tend to forget how important water is to the human body. When you are dealing with a system that is made up of 80% water, even a drop of 1% can be problematic.  Researchers in Switzerland found that proper hydration led to greater fat loss while dehydration contributed to muscle breakdown [4]

It is hard to know just how much water you lose when working out. Weigh yourself before you start your routine and again after you are done. Drink 20-24 fl oz for every pound that the scale says you are down.

Water is good for all your muscles but especially your heart; the most important muscle of them all. A study at Loma Linda University looked at men that drank five or more eight ounce glasses of water on a daily basis. These subjects were 54% less likely to suffer a heart attack than similar, less-hydrated men.

Water may also play an important role in promoting weight loss and reducing obesity according to a study published in Nutrition Review.


The final food that can keep those muscles pumping is coffee. Most people can’t function without their daily jolt of Joe. A study review study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning research concluded that caffeine ingestion significantly benefited resistance training in 6 of 11 studies reviewed [5].  However, they did caution that caffeine ingestion can lead to dehydration and decreased performance too.

Weightlifting is an anaerobic activity which means it doesn’t require oxygen. The extra kick from coffee should help you push out more repetitions.

Some studies at Harvard have shown that coffee drinkers have a 30% reduced chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. This was compared to non-coffee drinkers. You may want opt out of this food if your blood pressure is known to be high. Extra caffeine may be hard on the already hard-working ticker.

Building muscle mass doesn’t happen with exercise alone. Eating the right foods can make a big difference. Lifting weights can be stressful on the muscles so it is important to boost those cells with some nutrient rich foods. Adding these eight powerful foods to your diet can help you build the muscle mass you desire.

About the Author

David Kelly is an amateur sportsperson and enjoys writing articles on the topics of mens health and fitness (vigrxplus.theymen.com/fitness-and-sex-life/). Keeping physically active is not only important for sportsmen like me, but for all men. The areas are endless where fitness can result in a better quality of life. At my blog, I try to cover several mens issues including fitness and exercise.


  1. JAMA. 2002;287:3223-3229.
  2. Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2010 Aug;12(4):365-80.
  3. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Feb 24;58(4):2246-52.
  4. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003) 57, Suppl 2, S69–S74. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601904
  5. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):257-65.

David Kelly

Hi, I am a passionate fitness and health writer. Recently I have started blogging on mens health and sex life.

6 thoughts on “Eight Powerful Foods for Muscle Mass

  • May 26, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I guess those foods are very helpful. Maybe I should include those foods on my list, I really love eating those foods but I’m also watching my diet because I have a goal in getting the body figure I always wanted.

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  • March 28, 2011 at 6:44 am

    I am (for now) a big coffee drinker myself, so nice to see that on the list! For me, eggs are huge – not just for the low caloric punch but also for the quality of the protein itself. A must for any muscle-building diet in my opinion. Awesome post David …


  • October 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Yeah, I do drink Coffee, but I try to keep it reasonable. I used to drink far too much coffee during medical school.

  • October 27, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Hi David

    Great informative post. I’ll skip the coffee as I’m a tea drinker but all the rest are great healthy foods so I’m happy about that. Thanks for sharing.

    Patricia Perth Australia


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