Muscle growth involves a blend of adequate caloric intake, optimum protein ingested at the right time and sufficient strength training workouts. “It isn't just important to eat the right food, but to also know how to balance them out. Overeating on muscle friendly foods like nuts can result in weight gain, since these are high in fat. Therefore knowing when to eat and how much to eat is as important as knowing what to eat for enhanced muscle growth”, says Rajan Mehta, a gym instructor and owner in Dehradun.

By adding these specific high protein foods to your diet, you will notice that you can grow lean, hard muscle a lot faster along with adequate good quality carbohydrates, dietary fat, adequate water and vitamins, minerals:

1.Whey

Whey protein is an extract of milk and has the highest biological value of 104. This means that it helps in maximum nitrogen retention in the body, thereby contributing to muscle growth. Besides, it is the fastest absorbed protein and helps to increase immunity with the help of immune boosting enzymes that are similar to the ones present in human breast milk.

2.Eggs

The proteins in eggs are considered to have one of the highest biological values; so these are a great source of protein that your body uses efficiently. While the yolk is high in fats, it is also a great source of Vitamin B12 which facilitates fat breakdown and muscle contractions. Eggs are good for building muscle because they are also high in Vitamins B6, B12, D as well as E, Zinc, Iron, Riboflavin, Phosphorus and Folate.

3.Dairy products:

Milk and milk products have a good combination of two highly bioavailable proteins, namely whey and casein. It is rich in vitamin A, D and Calcium so consuming limited quantities can contribute good quality proteins and calcium to the diet.

4.Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese or paneer is also highly bioavailable. It consists of a protein called casein, which releases amino acids at an extremely slow rate, thereby preventing over night muscle catabolism. By using low-fat milk, the fat content in the cottage cheese can be kept minimum.

5.Chicken

Chicken or white meat has good quality protein, capable of complete muscle repair. It is preferable to have your chicken boiled or grilled to minimize fat intake.

6.Oily Fish

Fish has high quality protein and is also an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids. The protein will help you build lean muscle mass, while the Omega 3 fatty acids will ensure that fats are mobilised to fuel your workout and kick-start ‘post workout' recovery. This will help your body find the energy to repair and restore muscle wear and tear. In addition, research by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that oily fish helps reduce inflammation, which usually accompanies strenuous workouts.

The Verdict:

The right food will definitely enhance your muscle's ability to grow in size and strength, which is why a diet rich in muscle friendly foods is the perfect complement to your workout sessions. While a lean, muscular body is a result of regular strength training, selecting these muscle enhancing foods over high calorie junk will give you better results.

However, bear in mind, just eating large quantities of these foods will not help you build muscle, or else we would all have a chiseled physique without ever stepping in to the gym! Make sure you couple these foods with the right workout, adequate sleep and lots of water to stay hydrated and get maximum results.

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