The 10 Best Foods That Build Muscle

by | Jun 14, 2011 | Nutrition

Ever heard the saying that abs are made in the kitchen? Well, it’s true. No matter hard you’re pumping iron in the gym, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Try these ten foods to help build muscle and look ripped.

Sunflower Seeds

Apart from being a great source of protein, these seeds are full of muscle-building nutrients, as well as vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that can prevent free-radical damage after heavy workouts. A handful makes a great snack.

Related: Craving Chips? This Is How To Make Your Own Vegetable Crisps And Satisfy Your Junk Food Cravings


It’s the fishy omega-3 fats that reduce protein breakdown after a workout. This is important because to build muscle you need to store new protein faster than your body breaks down the old stuff. Whack it on toast for a breakfast boost.


Rich in a protein-digesting enzyme called bromelain, pineapple is also effective in reducing post-training muscle and tissue inflammation, making it the ideal post-workout snack for inside and out.

Edamame Beans

Also known as soybeans, they’re a great low-fat form of vegetable protein containing all the muscle-building essential amino acids. Throw into salads for a Japan-easy lunch.

Related: Doctor’s Orders: These Are The 7 Foods Doctors Prescribe For Your Health

Olive Oil

The favourite of virile, 80-year-old Tuscan chin-up champions, olive oil is like liquid life. The monounsaturated fat in it works to stop the breakdown of muscle tissue and it can also protect your joints, just what you need after a workout.


The lean meat of our wild friends is high in protein and vitamin B12, without which your body cannot utilise protein effectively. Buy it minced to make your own burgers.


Don’t pull a face. These little bonsai trees of goodness are a great source of vitamin C. A study at the University of South Carolina found that high-doses of this before and after exercise reduce muscle soreness. Just steam it lightly.

Related: 6 Food Combinations That Are Insanely Good For You


Apart from containing the essential amino acids to build and repair muscles, egg yolk contains a high level of vitamin D needed to maintain healthy muscle tissue. Breakfast of champions indeed.


The quickest route to more muscle (and, incidentally, the loo) is a shot of espresso. A study by the University of Georgia found caffeine improves endurance by easing muscle pain, so you can train for longer. So that’s no pain, more gain and just a few toilet twitches.

Related: 8 Foods You Had No Idea Could Put You To Sleep


Like Marmite and Cristiano Ronaldo, you either love anchovies or you hate them. But there’s no denying they’re full of healthy omega-3 fats. Taping one to the underside of your boss’s desk will also boost schadenfreude and temporarily beat depression.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This