Anyone who is into body building will tell you that the best way to build muscle and burn fat is through high protein foods. In addition to carbs, fruits and veggies and healthy fats, the type and amount of protein you put into your diet determines how fast you can build your muscles.
So here’s a list of foods, ranked from lowest to highest for their protein content. Keep in mind that the recommended daily protein intake for people looking to build and maintain muscles is about 1.0-1.5 gram of protein for every pound (0.5 kilo) of body weight.
1 whole, raw: 4.8g protein, 0.3g carbohydrates, 3.6g fat, 53 calories
Egg is a complete protein food; it provides a complete range of essential amino acids readily utilizable by the body. Because of this, eggs have the highest high biological value (HBV) of any food. HBV is a measure of how well a food supports the body’s protein needs.
Eggs also contain vitamin B12, which is vital for muscle breakdown and muscle contraction, plus other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins D, E and B6, riboflavin, folate, iron, zinc and phosphorus.
Low fat, 8 ounces: 6.28 g protein, 2g carbohydrates, 2.4g fat, 162 calories
Cottage cheese contains a slow digesting milk protein called casein. Because it digests slowly, the level of amino acids in your blood rises slowly and stays elevated longer. The probiotics found in cottage cheese helps in the breakdown and absorption of all the nutrients you need to build your muscles.
Cooked, 1 cup: 8.1g protein, 39.4g carbohydrates, 3.6g fat, 222 calories
Quinoa is a protein-rich grain native to South America that supplies all essential amino acids. It is gluten free, fiber-rich and high in the minerals iron and magnesium, which is important in energy generation and helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function.
Firm, 100 grams: 10.1 protein, 2.52g carbohydrates, 5.04g fat, 101 calories
Aside from protein, tofu is also an excellent source of manganese. Manganese is important for bone strength and for metabolizing carbohydrates, cholesterol and amino acids.
Boiled, 100 grams: 17.9g protein, 39.9g carbohydrates, 0.8g fat, 230 calories
Lentils are high protein legumes ideal for vegetarians looking to gain muscle mass. It is rich in iron and complex carbohydrates in the form of fiber, thus giving you a steady supply of slow burning energy.
Atlantic, raw 100 grams: 19.9g protein, 0g carbohydrates, 10.9g fat, 183 calories
Salmon provides excellent source for high quality protein and the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3 fatty acids have long been associated with heart health, but they are also known to inhibit the breakdown of muscles whilst increasing the anabolic capacity of amino acids for cell and tissue repair.
Salmon is also rich in vitamin B12, vitamin D, and selenium, which helps reduce the risk for joint inflammation.
Skinless, 100 grams: 23.1g protein, 0g carbohydrates, 1.2g fat, 110 calories,
Chicken is a good source of the B vitamin niacin, which plays an important role in helping your body produce energy and in keeping your cardiovascular, nervous and endocrine systems healthy. It is low in carbohydrates and saturated fat but high in omega-3, making it an excellent protein source for those trying to lose weight and gain muscles.
Loin, broiled, 100 grams: 30g protein, 0g carbohydrates, 9.7g fat, 216 calories
Lamb is an excellent source of high quality protein as well as the vitamins niacin and vitamin B12, which are essential in energy production. It is also a good source of zinc and selenium, which are useful in helping your muscles recover after training or injury. Just make sure to trim off the fat before you tuck in.
Lean sirloin steak, 100 grams: 30.8g protein, 0g carbohydrates, 5.8g fat, 183 calories
Beef is an excellent natural source of creatine, which helps provide the energy muscles need to move, particularly rapid, explosive movements.
Aside from being an excellent protein source, beef is also rich in Vitamin B12, iron and zinc, which are all crucial muscle building nutrients. Beef also contains saturated fats, which support healthy testosterone levels, and monosaturated fats, which promotes heart health.