Superfoods for building muscles

Superfoods may not be "miracle" foods, but they can help athletes and bodybuilders achieve their muscle-building goals.

Two bodybuilders eating superfoods for building the muscles

Key Takeaways:

  • Superfoods are foods that are packed with special nutrients that help repair body cells and reduce aging.
  • Bodybuilding superfoods for athletes and bodybuilders include chia seeds, Greek yogurt, quinoa, and salmon.
  • Superfoods can help prevent the onset of diseases and help bodybuilders improve their mental and physical health.

Meals for fitness enthusiasts are often centered on lower-calorie diets like chicken and brown rice. These are great meals; however, they may not offer athletes and people who do high-intensity exercises much of the nutrients they need to build their muscles. That is why they need superfoods.

Superfoods are foods that are abundant in special nutrients that support cellular repair and enhance longevity. Superfoods are not only low in calories, but they also offer maximum nutritional benefits. 

Superfoods such as eggs, legumes, and potatoes are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This makes them excellent meals of choice for bodybuilders and athletes who have limited food choices. 

Superfoods may not cure your diseases, but they can help reduce symptoms and prevent the onset of diseases. They may reduce the effects of free radicals on diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Incorporating some of these superfoods into meals can help bodybuilders improve their physical and mental health.

8 Superfoods for promoting strength and building muscle fast

Below are some superfoods that every bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast should incorporate into their meals: 

1. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are tiny, but they shouldn’t be underestimated. These seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which is good because these unsaturated fats are healthier fat options. Omega-3 fatty acids help combat inflammation, and help the muscles recover quickly after a workout session. 

A 2019 study showed that chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, polyunsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. The study also stated that they are a great source of antioxidants such as myricetin, rosmarinic acid, and quercetin. 

2. Greek yoghurt

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Many people love yogurt in their diet. Greek yogurt is not just a sweet addition to a diet, but a healthy one. Yogurt always makes it to the top of every superfood list because it is packed with probiotics, which are great for gastrointestinal tract health. Studies have shown that probiotics can significantly cause weight reduction.

Greek yogurt is also jam-packed with the protein - casein. Having casein in meals is one of the most effective and fastest ways to build muscles while exercising. The high protein content of yogurt can also help keep a person full, helping them to avoid snacking.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the foods that has unique nutritional content and is a great superfood for bodybuilders. Quinoa has a complete blend of protein and carbohydrates. Each cup of the seeds contains about 46 grams of complex carbohydrates. This makes it useful to bodybuilders because burning the carbs releases longer-lasting energy, which they will need for high-intensity exercises.

Quinoa also contains all nine essential amino acids. This means the food is a protein diet. Consuming this superfood offers a way to maximize muscle protein synthesis after a workout. 

4. Salmon

Every bodybuilder needs to incorporate clean protein, like fish, into their meals. Salmon is always an excellent choice to opt for. If you are constantly working out to build your muscles or are an athlete, your body will need the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids from foods like salmon.

Some people reported reduced post-workout muscle soreness when their body had sufficient omega-3 fatty acids compared to people who had low levels of the nutrient, a study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine reported.

Aside from improving post-workout muscle soreness, a 2014 study found that omega-3 fatty acids may enhance protein metabolism when combined with anabolic stimuli like protein diet and physical activity.

5. Eggs

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Eggs are readily available in different parts of the world. They are regarded as great snacks, especially for children. But they can form great meals for bodybuilders, too. 

Just one egg contains about 6 grams of protein, which is needed for muscle building. Eggs contain the essential amino acids needed for bodybuilding and gaining strength. Protein from this pareve is used in making some protein powders.

Aside from their high protein content, eggs are packed with other nutrients like folic acid, riboflavin, zinc, potassium, sodium, calcium, and vitamin B12.

6. Chickpeas

When it comes to fueling the body for exercise, people often think of carbohydrates like whole grains. However, beans are good food options for getting long-lasting energy. Beans like chickpeas are great superfoods for building the muscles.  

Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are packed with two macronutrients- proteins and carbohydrates. This combination is great for fueling the body both before and after a workout. 

Chickpeas also contain substantial amounts of iron. The body needs iron to produce haemoglobin which is the component of the red blood cell that carries oxygen to various tissues and cells of the body. A low level of iron in the body can lower oxygen transport, further reducing endurance and exercise performance.

7. Maca

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Maca is not a common household name like eggs, Greek yogurt, and salmon. However, it is one superfood that should often make it to the meals of bodybuilders. 

The maca plant is a traditional cruciferous vegetable commonly grown in the Andes mountains. It is related to cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. 

Some people take maca as a natural remedy for treating medical conditions such as low sex drive and infertility because it contains bioactive compounds such as macaridine and glucosinolates. If you are thinking of a superfood vegetable to incorporate into your meals, maca may be an excellent option. 

Studies suggest that maca may enhance mood and improve energy levels in some people. Taking 3 grams of red or black maca daily for 12 weeks improved the energy and mood scores of 175 people living in high or low altitudes compared to those getting a placebo, a 2016 study demonstrated.

Also, an older 2009 pilot study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology demonstrated that cycling sportspeople who consumed maca supplements for two weeks improved their driving speed.

8. Sweet potatoes

Potatoes are tuber plants, just like yams. They are rich in complex carbohydrates (84 grams per cup). They are also densely packed with fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Thus, you are getting more than just carbs. 

Potatoes are digested slowly because they have a low glycemic index. This is good for you because it will prevent a spike in blood glucose levels (which increases the risk of diabetes and weight gain). 

Potatoes are superfoods that encourage muscle building, as they can keep you fueled even during long workouts. They can also be consumed post-workout to replenish lost energy. Aside from the carb content, potatoes are rich in potassium. Potassium deficiency has been associated with reduced muscle contraction and muscle weakness.

Other foods to eat for bodybuilding

Superfoods for bodybuilders and athletes

Aside from muscle-targeted exercises, eating the right foods will help your bodybuilding journey. If you are aiming to increase your muscle mass, you will have to consume more calories than your daily maintenance calorie. That is why every builder should learn how to calculate their daily caloric needs.

Below are foods that are great for muscle building and body fitness:

  • Poultry
  • Lean red meat
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Avocadoes
  • Sesame seed and oil
  • Soybean
  • Oatmeal
  • Fruits
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Shrimp
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Brown rice
  • Black, pinto, and kidney beans
  • Olive oil


Superfoods are foods that contain more substantial nutrients with fewer calories. They can help keep you healthy, both physically and mentally. Eating these foods will help build your muscles while enhancing performance, endurance, and mental strength.

If you find it difficult to draw up a meal plan, you can speak with a dietitian to help you create one. They can also suggest more foods that will help increase muscle mass and strength. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What foods should bodybuilders eat?

Bodybuilders should eat enough foods rich in the macronutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. However, they should focus more on lean protein sources like eggs, fish, and poultry, as these provide the body with the building blocks needed for building muscle mass and strength.

The percentage of protein, carbs, or fats bodybuilders should consume in each meal will depend on their bodybuilding goals. It is often helpful to work with a registered dietitian to meet your bodybuilding nutritional goals.

How often should bodybuilders eat?

To gain muscles, you need to bulk up. This means eating a substantial amount of nutrient-dense foods, often spread across 3–6 meals per day.

The goal of bodybuilding is usually to increase muscle mass without adding unnecessary body fat, and it is important to keep in mind that eating substantial amounts of food alone will not help a person achieve that. This is where exercise also comes in. Exercises like cardio help you burn calories, while strength training and resistance training help you gain muscle mass and strength.

Which vegetable is good for muscle building?

Scientific evidence indicates that vegetable proteins play a positive role in physical performance. Some high-protein vegetables that may benefit people who are building their muscles include chickpeas, spinach, lentils, and broccoli.

Why are superfoods important for bodybuilders and athletes?

Superfoods are important for bodybuilders because they have an abundance of nutrients needed to increase physical performance, build muscle strength and mass, aid fast muscle recovery and improve general health.


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