These 12 Foods Will Help You Boost Muscle Mass & Strength

Extra Virgin Coconut oil.

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Coconut oils are satiating, delicious, and energy-boosting for a large amount of people. Medium-chain triglycerides don’t need to go through the lymphatic system and be digested by bile salts, so they’re digested very quickly and are used very similarly to carbohydrates. Although it can be expensive (a small tub runs me about $30), coconut oil is a necessary saturated fat to have in your diet. A randomized double-blind clinical trial with 40 women exhibiting obesity found that supplementation with coconut oil promoted a reduction in obesity without causing dyslipidemia. Add it to stir fry, fried eggs, desserts, and/or anything/everything. Damn thing is magic – especially if you’re a fan of the coconut flavour.

Kale.

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Go to your grocery store. Go to the fresh produce section. Step away from the lettuce (if you do anything, at least grab the spinach). STEP AWAY. Pick up that leafy monster. Never tried kale? Roast it with some olive oil in the oven (until it turns dark and brittle) for a crispy and super-healthy popcorn alternative. You can also add it to stir fry, boil it, steam it, and/or generally cook the hell out of it. Use it as filler with a piece of meat and some healthy fats (nuts, animal fat, olive/almond/macadamia nut/sesame oils) to stay satisfied longer. Kale is a flavonoid, vitamin, and an isothiocyanate (anti-cancer) delivery system. It’s the complete micro-supplement.

Omega-3 eggs.

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The whole damn egg. None of this “whites only” bullcrap. The omega-3 eggs have documented omega-3 fat content that’s mutiple times higher than the alternative (three-six times the amount in most cases) by having the hens eat a diet that’s more flax-rich. However, eggs are better than no eggs, so get whatever you can on your budget. 85 calories, 6 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, incredible nutrient density, a million ways to make them, relatively cheap protein source, they’ll keep you full for a lot longer than a bowl of cereal, and the cholesterol won’t do anything significant to your blood cholesterol in almost everyone. Eat them up.

Almond butter.

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Usually considered a bulking food, nut butters in moderation are fantastic at keeping hunger at bay and introducing good monounsaturated fats into your diet. Don’t, for heaven’s sake, buy anything that isn’t an oily mess when you open it (solid means hydrogenated oils – one of the most terrible things you can put in your body). There should be a layer of greasy goodness. Pro-tip: store it upside down for a couple days and mix it well. Don’t be pouring that goodness down the drain. There should be (at most) two ingredients: the almond and maybe salt. If you’re one of those people that finds it difficult to control intake of peanut butter, almond might suit you a lot better. Try putting a spoon in the middle of cottage cheese or yogurt to add some texture. Almonds, of course, have excellent health benefits and micronutrient profiles.

Lentils.

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Lentils should be your secret mass building weapon. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of slow digesting quality carbohydrates. They are also very inexpensive and have a long shelf-life. They cook up in just 10 minutes and can be added mixed in with rice, sprinkled over a salad or eaten as a standalone side dish.

Your favourite food.

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Sure, you might stick with healthy foods for a majority of your diet, but diets are by-large a mental game that develops your final physical state. It’s hard to remember to let yourself enjoy the stuff that makes you happy, whether it be cinnamon buns, Lindor chocolates, or a massive rack of sauced-up back ribs. In the long run, as long as it’s not an everyday type of thing and you keep your intake within reasonable amounts, it won’t make a measurable difference. Have a meal every week or two where you indulge in your favourite food(s) as part of your diet. It’ll keep you sane, prevent binges (once you add your favourite foods to your scheduled diet, you won’t be romanticizing the memory of them), and (most importantly) keep your favourites just a stone’s throw away. Eventually, if you’re anything like me, cheat meals will usually turn into oatmeal and whey protein (not to say that I don’t enjoy a good pizza or Chinese when I feel like I need it).

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