Foods to Help You Build Muscle

If you've started a strength training and core toning workout, it's very important to pay attention to what you eat. The key is to eat the right foods that help build healthy muscle without bulking up. Here are 6 foods to add to your diet. 

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1. Wild Salmon: Insist on wild salmon, say no to farmed salmon which contains God knows what. The wild version, straight from the sea, is chocked full of omega-3s, amino acids, vitamins A, B, D, and E, creating the ability to fight everything from diabetes and heart disease to improving brain performance and reducing cholesterol.

2. So maybe quinoa isn’t that exotic these days, but I bet you didn’t know it’s NOT a whole grain. This grain-like food hailing from South America is actually the seed of a green leafy plant.   It is a complete protein, high in manganese, niacin and fiber.  Manganese helps keep bones strong, while niacin helps lower cholesterol.

3. Almonds, native to the Mediterranean region of the Middle East, are considered to be one of the earliest domesticated tree nuts, and one of the most prized snacks in the world.  If the spread of the almond throughout the world is not proof enough of this, the Food and Agriculture Organization reported that the world produced 2 million tons of almonds in 2011 alone!  Packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, it is easy to see why the almond is present on almost every continent and the health benefits of this little nut have long been touted by experts. 

4. Many people don't know egg yolks contain many antioxidants which help fight inflammation. Also chocked full of B12, vitamin A, iron, selenium, biotin, phosphorous, choline and other various trace nutrients. In particular, choline, which most Americans are deficient in, is a very important nutrient for brain function, nervous system and supporting detoxification in the body. Here are tons of other reasons to love eggs. 

5. Beans are a low-fat protein, also rich in fiber as well as vitamins, minerals, and potassium. Beans aid in hair growth and thicken hair cells by making the fibers stronger.

6. Lean Meats: Lean meats are high in protein and contain less total fat and saturated fat than regular meat. They are rich in important vitamins and nutrients like vitamin B, which aids in our metabolism. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, lean meat is defined as containing less than 10 grams of total fat, and less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat, while extra lean is defined as containing less than 5 g of total fat and 2 g of saturated fat. The average adult needs about 60 to 80 grams of protein a day. Good sources of lean meat/protein: chicken breast, fish, turkey breast, shrimp, and tuna fish.