26 Foods That Help You Build Lean Muscle

22. Pork Tenderloin

Pork is widely consumed in many countries .

Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat that provides 18 grams of protein and only two grams of fat per 3 ounces (85 grams) (54).

Some research has shown that pork has effects similar to those of other muscle-building foods, such as beef and chicken .

23. Milk

Milk provides a mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Similar to other dairy products, milk contains both fast- and slow-digesting proteins.

This is thought to be beneficial for muscle growth. In fact, several studies have shown that people can increase their muscle mass when they drink milk in combination with weight training .

24. Almonds

Half a cup (about 172 grams) of blanched almonds provides 16 grams of protein and large amounts of vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus (58).

Among other roles, phosphorus helps your body use carbohydrates and fats for energy at rest and during exercise (59).

As with peanuts, almonds should be consumed in moderation due to their high calorie content. Half a cup of blanched almonds contains more than 400 calories (58).

25. Bison

Similarly to beef, bison provides about 22 grams of protein per 3-ounce (85-gram) serving (60).

However, some research has shown that bison may be better than beef in terms of the risk of heart disease .

If you like to eat red meat as part of your muscle-building diet but also worry about your heart health, you could consider replacing some beef with bison.

26. Brown Rice

Although cooked brown rice provides only 5 grams of protein per cup (195 grams), it has the carbohydrates you need to fuel your physical activity (62).

Consider eating healthy carb sources like brown rice or quinoa in the hours leading up to exercise (41).

This may allow you to exercise harder, providing your body with a greater stimulus for your muscles to grow.

Furthermore, some research has shown that rice protein supplements can produce as much muscle gain as whey protein during a weight-training program .

The Bottom Line

Numerous foods can help you gain lean muscle. Many of them are protein-packed and allow your muscles to recover and grow after you have been active.

However, it is also important to consume carbohydrates and fats to provide fuel for exercise and physical activity.

What’s more, many of the foods on this list contain the vitamins and minerals your body needs to operate at its best.

To reach your goal of gaining lean muscle, focus on exercising regularly and eating more calories each day from nutritious foods like the ones listed in this article.