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What foods should I eat to gain muscle?

Protein-rich foods are essential to eat in order to gain muscle. Consuming high-quality proteins containing essential amino acids is crucial. Research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that a protein intake of around 1.6-2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day is beneficial for maximizing muscle protein synthesis and promoting muscle hypertrophy.

What foods are high in protein?

1. Lean meats: Chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef, are excellent sources of high-quality protein. They provide essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth. Fish, such as salmon and tuna, is also beneficial due to its omega-3 fatty acid content, which has anti-inflammatory properties and supports muscle recovery.

2. Dairy products: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk are rich in protein and contain essential amino acids. They are also excellent sources of calcium, which plays a role in muscle contraction.

3. Plant-based protein sources: legumes, tofu, tempeh, and quinoa, are suitable options for individuals following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Combining different plant-based protein sources can help ensure a complete amino acid profile.

What other foods should I eat to gain muscle?

1. Carbs: In addition to protein, carbohydrates are vital for providing energy during workouts. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, brown rice, and oats provide sustained energy and support muscle glycogen replenishment. Including a variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet ensures an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which aid in overall health and recovery.

2. Healthy fats: found in sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil, are important for hormone production and overall cellular health.

3. Hydration: Hydration is also crucial for optimal muscle function and recovery. Staying adequately hydrated by consuming water and electrolyte-rich fluids supports muscle performance.


  1. Jäger, R., Kerksick, C. M., Campbell, B. I., Cribb, P. J., Wells, S. D., Skwiat, T. M., ... & Smith-Ryan, A. E. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 20.

  2. Phillips, S. M., & Van Loon, L. J. (2011). Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29(S1), S29-S38.

  3. Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(3), 501-528.

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