27 Best Sources of Protein To Build Muscles!
Of the 20 amino acids that you get from dietary protein, nine are essential. This means that you body cannot produce them. Protein not only helps in muscle building, but is also integral to neurological health and hormonal balance. So, here is a look at the best sources of protein to build muscles, including animal products, vegan and vegetarian foods and natural supplements.
A vital point to consider here is that it is not uncommon for women who slog it out in the gym to stay away from protein rich food under the assumption that it will bulk them up, giving them a masculine look. Contrary to this misconception, your muscles need protein for growth and repair. If you get the right amount of protein every day, it can help you to stabilize your energy levels, burn fats and prevent lean muscle breakdown.
Best Sources of Protein to Build Muscles: Meat, Dairy, Poultry and Fish!
1. Tuna: The fish in brine or water can give you 40 g of protein and you can go for as much as a can of tuna chunks every day. This will leave you short of just 6 g of your daily protein intake.
2. Eggs: No, you don’t have to throw away the yolk. In fact, by going for only the egg whites, you are getting just 2/3rd of the protein from this super food. One egg can give you as much as 7 g of protein, Vitamin A, D, E and 1/2 g of leucine, which is a branched chain amino acid that can put your muscle growth into fourth gear.
3. Yoghurt: It’s delicious and you can couple it with any fruit you want. The best part is that along with your daily supply of protein, you also get probiotics with yoghurt that aid in digestion. Yoghurt can give you 10 g of protein per serving of 100 g.
4. Ground beef: Ideally, it would be best to go for lean beef. However, if it is too expensive, you can get 80% ground beef and just rinse it, which will bring down the fat content by 50%. One hundred grams of lean ground beef can give you 25g of protein.
5. Milk: A liter contains 30 g of protein. However, this is not a good choice if you want to lose fat/weight.
6. Chicken Breast: You can get 25 g of protein from 100 g of chicken breast. It stores easily and can be used to prepare a multitude of delicious meals.
7. Cottage cheese: If you are looking for some variation in terms of protein intake, you could try cottage cheese, which can give you 10 g of protein per 100 g.
8. Turkey Cuts: These are made from the breast of the bird and can supply 25 g of protein for every 100g. Less expensive cuts will have some skin and fats which can be rinsed off.
9. Mackerel: This fish comes second only to chicken and turkey in terms of its protein value at 23 g/ 100 g of mackerel. It is also a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
10. Calves liver: This is a low fat and nutrient rich option to get your daily dose of protein. A hundred grams can supply about 20g of protein.
11. Oysters: Not the least expensive product in this list, but certainly one that packs in the proteins, oysters will offer 9 g of protein per 100 g.
12. Mussels: They are rich in Selenium and Vitamin B 12 plus they can provide as much as 24 g of protein per 100 g.
Best Sources of Protein to Build Muscles for Vegans and Vegetarians
1. Green veggies: From Bok choy to spinach and from French beans to kale, you can get ample of proteins from your veggies too. For instance, a cup of cooked spinach is about 7 g of proteins while French beans will give you 13 g per cup. Boiled pees can get you 9 g of protein in every serving and two cups of kale contain 5 g of protein. Of course, these vegetables are also rich in several vitamins and minerals and a healthy source of fiber which will keep you feeling full. So, you definitely get more bang for your buck from these veggies.
2. Hemp: 30 g of hemp powder in a smoothie will get you 11 g of guilt free protein.
3. Milk (non-dairy): Milk is a fantastic source of protein, whether it comes from a cow, soy or nuts. For example, you could get as much as 7-9 g of protein from a cup of soy or almond milk. Now, add some fortified vegan cereal to this and you have a healthy and protein rich breakfast.
4. Nut butter: Butter made from peanuts, almonds and cashews can get you 8 g of protein in a couple of tablespoons.
5. Quinoa: This one is truly god’s gift to gluten intolerant people as well as vegans and you can get 9 g of protein per cup.
6. Tofu: It is cheap; it can be prepared in a variety of ways and you will consume 9 g of protein from 4 ounces of tofu.
7. Lentils: Use lentils to make veggie burgers, casseroles and even rice dishes. It’s versatile, cheap and a powerhouse of protein at 18 g per cup.
8. Beans: Pinto, black or kidney, go with what you like because you stand to get 15 g of fiber and protein in a cup of beans. Plus, beans are a rich source of Vitamins A, B, C and K.
9. Tempeh: This is a vegan woman’s BFF because it can offer as much as 30 g of protein in a one cup serving. That is more than a regular hamburger patty, now what more could you ask for?
10. Sprouted grains: Turn these into delicious bread and you will get 10 g of protein from two slices.
11. Buckwheat: It’s just called wheat; actually, it’s not even from the same botanical family. It’s crazy healthy and offers a host of health benefits along with 6 g of protein in a 1 cup serving.
12. Chia: You get calcium, iron, zinc, Omega 3 and antioxidants from these little seeds. They can be used in smoothies and in a variety of dishes and the seeds offer 4 g of protein in a mere 2 tablespoons.
Best Sources of Protein to Build Muscles: Natural Supplements
1. Whey protein: This one needs no introduction. So, it is understandable why shelves of health food stores are lined up with whey protein offerings from different manufacturers. It is a milk protein that is a rich source of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s, leucine is one of them). The supplement works on two fronts. It is digested easily, so it provides nutrition to support muscle growth and it increases the flow of blood to the muscle tissue.
2. Casein protein: This is the other milk protein; it comes in a close second to whey because it is digested slowly. However, this does have its own benefits. The slow digestion means that it works great as a pre- bedtime supplement/snack as it lowers the catabolic activity.
3. Creatine: No, this supplement is not just for guys. Made of 3 amino acids, creatine can help in building lean muscle, reducing soreness and increasing stamina and energy.
How much protein do you need?
Women should keep their daily intake of protein at about 46 g but this is only for those who have a moderately sedentary lifestyle. If you are a regular at the gym, you will need to increase your protein intake to make up for the muscle wear and tear. Add dieting to this mix and you will have to go higher with your protein consumption.
Typically, if you only exercise but are not on a diet program, you should aim for about 0.8 to 1 g of protein for every pound of body weight. If you couple your workouts with a diet plan, go for 1 to 1.5 g of protein for every pound of body weight.