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General Practice 2023

15 best foods to gain muscle mass

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15 best foods to gain muscle mass
15 best foods to gain muscle mass

Foods to gain muscle mass are those rich in proteins, which can be of animal origin, such as meat, eggs and chicken, or proteins of plant origin, such as beans, avocado, tofu and peanuts, for example.

However, the body also needs carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole-grain pasta or whole-grain bread, and he althy fats, which are found in foods like salmon, tuna, and avocado. These foods help to increase energy and physical disposition during training and improve muscle recovery after exercise.

However, when the diet does not provide the adequate amount of protein to achieve the desired goals, the use of protein supplements, such as creatine or whey protein, may be indicated by a nutritionist or doctor. See some supplements indicated to gain muscle mass.


The best foods to gain muscle mass that cannot be missing in a hypertrophy diet are:

1. Chicken

Chicken is a food rich in proteins and has a low amount of fat and, therefore, including this food at lunch or dinner, associated with physical activity, could favor muscle hypertrophy.

2. Red meat

Red meats, in addition to being rich in protein, also contain iron, an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen in the blood, improving physical disposition during training.

3. Salmon

In addition to protein, salmon is a fish rich in omega 3, a he althy fat with an anti-inflammatory effect, which improves blood circulation and prevents muscle loss.

4. Eggs

In addition to being a great source of albumin, the main protein present in egg whites, the food also contains iron and B vitamins, which improve oxygenation and transport of nutrients in the body, favoring muscle growth.

5. Cheeses

Low-fat cheeses are rich in protein and calcium, an important mineral for strength and muscle contraction, making them an excellent choice for breakfast or lunch.

6. Tuna

Tuna is a fish rich in omega-3 and a source of protein, favoring muscle hypertrophy. This food can be consumed in snacks before or after training.

7. Milk

Milk is rich in proteins and minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, milk is an important food to stimulate muscle contraction, increasing performance during training and favoring muscle mass gain.

8. Peanut

Peanut, in addition to being a source of protein, is also a source of magnesium, an important mineral for muscle contraction, B vitamins, which are necessary to guarantee energy for the body, and antioxidants, which favor the muscle recovery after training.

9. Avocado

Avocado is a source of monounsaturated fats and an excellent source of calories, increasing the amount of energy and antioxidants in the body. In addition, avocado is rich in vitamin E, which helps to improve muscle endurance and strength, as well as favoring muscle recovery right after training. In addition, it is a source of potassium, a mineral that prevents muscle weakness and cramps during exercise.

Avocado can be consumed in its natural form, in salads or in pre- or post-workout smoothies.

10. Beans

Beans are a great source of vegetable protein, and when consumed with cereals such as brown rice, wholegrain pasta or corn, they provide a good amount and quality of essential amino acids for muscle building.

The ideal in a diet to gain muscle mass is that all meals have good sources of protein, being necessary to include foods such as cheeses, eggs, yogurts and meats in snacks. This strategy provides a good amount of amino acids to the muscles throughout the day, favoring hypertrophy.

11. Tofu

Tofu is a vegetable food made with soy beans, being rich in proteins that contribute to the formation of muscles. By having good amounts of potassium and phosphorus, tofu also helps to improve resistance and performance during training.

12. Lentil

By having great amounts of iron and vegetable proteins, lentils improve the transport of oxygen in the blood, improving physical disposition and stimulating the production of muscle mass.

13. Amaranth

Amaranth is a pseudocereal rich in good quality proteins, in addition to being a source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, potassium and zinc. This pseudocereal can be found in the form of flour, grains or seeds, and can be added to vitamins, fruit or vegetable salads, yogurts and cereals. It can also be used to prepare pancakes or to be consumed at lunch as a substitute for pasta and rice, for example. Learn more about amaranth.

14. Buckwheat

Like amaranth, buckwheat is a pseudocereal rich in proteins, carbohydrates, potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber that can be consumed in the form of whole grain or used as flour, being an excellent option to be included in lunch and dinner.

15. Turkey

Turkey is a type of white meat rich in protein and low in fat, in addition to being rich in B vitamins, mainly niacin, a vitamin that is essential for the cell to produce energy. In addition, it is rich in potassium and magnesium and, therefore, can help improve physical performance, as they are important minerals for muscle contraction.

Check out the following video for a vitamin recipe to help you gain muscle mass:

Nutritional information on foods for hypertrophy

The following table shows the amount of calories, proteins and fats for each 100g of the foods indicated above for muscle mass gain:

Food Calories Proteins Fat
Boiled chicken breast 194 kcal 32, 1 g 7, 3 g
Low-fat meat 219 kcal 35, 9 g 7, 3 g
Grilled Salmon 273 kcal 20, 7 g 21, 1 g
Boiled egg (1 piece) 75 kcal 6, 5 g 5, 4 g
White cheese 240 kcal 17, 6 g 14, 1 g
Peanuts 589 kcal 25, 4 g 47, 7 g
Tuna 166 kcal 28, 4 g 5, 8 g
Avocado 114 kcal 1, 1 g 10, 5 g
Skimmed milk 35 kcal 3, 5 g 0, 2 g
Beans 76 kcal 4, 7 g 0, 5 g


64 kcal 6, 6 g 4 g
Lentil 93 kcal 6, 3 g 0, 5 g
Raw amaranth 371 kcal 13, 56 g 7, 02 g
Buckwheat (whole grain) 343 kcal 13, 25 g 3, 4 g
Turkey (skinless breast) 105 kcal 23, 4 g 1, 3 g

These foods should be eaten in a balanced, he althy diet that also includes carbohydrate sources such as brown rice, wholegrain pasta or fresh fruit.

Menu option

The following table indicates a menu option that contains the best foods to gain muscle mass, taking into account the practice of physical activity in the morning, a few hours after breakfast:

Main Meals Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Breakfast 1 glass of unsweetened natural orange juice + 2 scrambled eggs with tomato and onion + 1 slice of rye bread 1 unit of plain yogurt + 1/2 cup of granola + 1 cup of chopped fruit 1 cup unsweetened coffee + 2 medium pancakes made with oatmeal, banana and cinnamon + 1 tablespoon peanut butter
Morning snack 2 hard-boiled eggs + 2 slices of avocado + 2 wholegrain toast 1 cup skim milk with 2 teaspoons cocoa powder + 2 whole-grain toast with 1 teaspoon peanut butter 1 unit of protein yogurt + 1/2 sliced bananas + 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
Lunch 120 grams of grilled chicken accompanied by 1/2 cup of brown rice and 1/2 cup of lentils + arugula and cherry tomato salad dressed with apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of olive oil + 1 slice of melon 1 portion of oven-roasted hake fish accompanied by 1 cup of buckwheat and 1 cup of cooked spinach seasoned with 1 teaspoon of olive oil + 1 orange 120 grams of grilled turkey breast accompanied by sweet potato chips and 1 cup of broccoli with cooked carrots, seasoned with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegar + 1 pear
Afternoon snack 1 apple sliced with a little peanut butter 2 small oranges 1 cup fresh fruit with 1 tablespoon rolled oats
Dinner 120 grams of grilled salmon accompanied by 2 medium potatoes in the oven (with skin) and asparagus seasoned with olive oil 1 oven-baked eggplant stuffed with tuna, vegetables and grated white cheese 1 wrap stuffed with chicken strips, sautéed vegetables (peppers, onions and carrots) and chopped lettuce
Evening Snack (supper) 1 unit of high-protein yogurt 1 boiled egg 1 cup of skimmed milk

The amounts included in the menu may vary according to age, gender, physical activity and whether the person has any disease. In addition, the menu may vary according to the time of day when exercise is practiced. Thus, it is important that the nutritionist is consulted so that the best food plan can be indicated.

Supplements to gain muscle mass

Supplements to gain muscle mass must be advised and supervised by a nutritionist, who must assess the need for supplement intake and which one is best for the person to achieve their goals. Learn more about supplements to gain muscle mass.

In addition, the nutritionist can create an individualized food plan that favors the increase in muscle mass, taking into account various factors such as the type of physical activity that the person practices, age, weight, gender and he alth condition.

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