High Protein Foods for Muscle Building

High Protein Foods for Muscle Building, especially for athletes. You can read here which foods contain a lot of protein and how much of it you should eat every day.

Whether it’s about building muscle, losing weight or just being fit and healthy, protein-rich foods belong in every one of your main meals. Why is a protein-rich diet so important? And what are the best protein sources? You can find out all of that here.


Why is Protein so Important?

Protein (also called protein) is one of the three macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fats. Proteins or their “building blocks” – the amino acids – are indispensable for your body, because muscles, organs, skin and hair largely consist of this nutrient. The production of hormones and enzymes only works if the body has enough amino acids available.

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Proteins are used by the body to build muscle because muscles are made of protein. And not only that, your body also needs proteins to regenerate after a hard workout in order to repair injured muscle cells and fibers.


Protein-rich foods also stabilize your blood sugar levels. This means that a meal with a high protein content will keep you full for a long time and prevent cravings. But what actually happens if you don’t give your body enough protein?

How much protein is healthy per day?

In order to supply the body with sufficient protein, the German Nutrition Society recommends 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day. However, you should view this reference value as a minimum amount per day.

How much protein you should actually consume per day depends on what goal you are pursuing. If you do intensive exercise regularly throughout the week or want to build muscle mass, you definitely need more protein than couch potatoes. But they also benefit from a regular protein intake, as it keeps you full for a long time and thus prevents you from snacking in the evening.

According to the study, 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is “safe” and an absolutely moderate amount per day that you can use as a guide if you want to lose weight and/or build muscle. Professionals even need up to 2 grams of protein.

Note: However, the protein intake recommendations only apply to people of normal weight. If you are very overweight, the calculated protein requirement would be far too high. The excess fat tissue makes up a large part of your body weight, but it doesn’t actually play a role in your protein needs. It therefore makes sense if you subtract your body fat percentage when calculating (you can easily analyze it using a body fat scale ) and only use the “lean mass” to calculate your personal protein requirement. Here is our: The most important 11 tips for sports beginners

Is animal protein better than plant protein?

No, but your body can actually absorb protein from animal foods more easily than from plant sources. The reason: Animal proteins are more similar in structure to the body’s own proteins than plant proteins, and often have both a higher biological value and a higher PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score). Both values assess the quality of a food protein, with egg, milk and beef taking the top places – closely followed by soy and potatoes. Animal protein sources also contain cholesterol and saturated fat – unlike protein from plants.

There are enough plant-based and protein-rich foods with which you can easily cover your daily protein needs, even as an athlete. This is how you can build muscle as a vegan – ex-bodybuilder Ralf Moeller shows you how.

If you eat mixed foods (also known as omnivores), you should combine animal and plant protein sources in your meals. This means that the different amino acids complement each other optimally.

Is too much protein unhealthy?

One thing in advance: As with all other nutrients, the same applies to protein: the dose makes the poison. As healthy as protein-rich foods are for your body, you shouldn’t overdo it. Carbohydrates and fats also belong on your plate and are important for a balanced, healthy diet.

And what’s behind the rumor that protein is bad for your kidneys? If you have two healthy kidneys, it is absolutely no problem for your body to excrete the end products from protein metabolism (such as urea). Sufficient fluid intake is important here. However, studies have shown that in people with impaired kidney function, very high protein intake can actually cause kidney failure to worsen.

Our Top 13 Protein-Rich Foods

There are plenty of foods high in protein. We have made a small selection for you and put together the top protein sources that also have other benefits.

Top 1: Low-Fat Quark

Low-fat quark is an excellent source of protein because a 150-gram portion already contains over 20 grams of protein, which can be optimally absorbed by the body. In addition, low-fat quark is very low in calories and fills you up. One reason for this is the milk protein it contains , casein , which is slowly digested and supplies your muscles with all the vital amino acids (EAAs) for hours.

If you then refine the low-fat quark with some fresh fruit, a few nuts, flax seeds and oat flakes, you have a perfect breakfast. If you’re in a hurry, you can also stir in a flavoring powder.

Top 2: Chicken Egg – Quick muscle-building foods

Of course, eggs should not be missing from any protein ranking, because they are ahead in terms of both biological value and PDCAAS and in both cases take the top spot with a value of 100 or 1.0 – this is what all other foods have to measure themselves against. This means: Your body can optimally utilize the protein from eggs. Eggs are therefore THE ultimate muscle food.

One egg provides around 7 grams of protein. With an omelette or two fried eggs in the morning, you lay the perfect foundation for a successful day.

Top 3: Chicken and Turkey breasts

Chicken and turkey breasts are among the particularly low-fat animal protein sources because they only have 1 gram of fat per 100 grams. At the same time, poultry provides around 30 grams of protein per fillet (120 to 150 grams). The tender and juicy meat also contains vitamin B6, which also supports protein metabolism.

Important: Since poultry can be contaminated with Salmonella or Campylobacter, it is important that you always cook poultry well – this is also the advice of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment . It should never be pink inside, like pork or beef. In contrast to red meat, poultry has not been classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the WHO. Studies have found no connection.

Top 4: Tofu – Food to gain muscle for females

Animal protein sources don’t just have advantages, as can be clearly seen with the example of tofu: Tofu is made from soybeans, water and salt and provides around 16 grams of protein per 100 grams, which can be optimally utilized by the body. For comparison: poultry and beef do not contain much more protein, namely 20 grams per 100 grams of meat.

In addition, in contrast to most animal products, tofu contains hardly any fat, saturated fatty acids or cholesterol. Most vegan and vegetarian protein sources provide a good portion of fiber, (healthy) unsaturated fatty acids, numerous vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

Top 5: Lenses

Like peas and beans, lentils belong to the legume family. They are low in fat, high in fiber and excellent sources of protein. Lentils also contain a good portion of zinc, which studies have shown is a central component of your immune system. If you consume too little zinc, this can result in an increased susceptibility to infections, for example.

Top 6: Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is a real all-rounder in the kitchen. You can basically snack on it straight from the can, top your salad with it, top a pizza with it or even make a whole pizza dough out of it.

Make sure it is marinated in its own juice instead of sunflower oil. Otherwise it’s just bursting with fat. Tuna still contains fat, but the healthy (and vital!) omega-3 fatty acids . They not only keep the heart and brain healthy, but also play an important role in converting dietary protein into the body’s own protein. Also on board: iodine, zinc and vitamin D, which, among other things, strengthens the immune system.

Top 7: Cottage Cheese

Because of its high protein and low calorie content, cottage cheese is equally popular among athletes and those trying to lose weight. 100 grams of cottage cheese (about half a cup) contains just under 100 calories, a whopping 13 grams of protein, only 4 grams of fat and 3 grams of carbohydrates. This makes it a wonderful alternative to butter if you want to save fat.

You can incorporate it perfectly as a small filling snack in between:

  • a) sweet: with fruit, maple syrup and chopped nuts
  • b) savory: with cornichons, mustard and herbs

Top 8: Nuts

Nuts are best known as a top source of the aforementioned omega-3 fatty acids. But they are also among the foods that contain a lot of vegetable protein. The protein content per serving of around 40 grams is 6 to 10 grams of protein, depending on the variety.

Although they are very high in calories and fat, it is best to snack on them every day. A handful is ideal – whether cashews, pecans or almonds. According to this meta-analysis , those who regularly eat nuts also reduce their risk of the so-called metabolic syndrome. Obesity, high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and a disturbed fat and cholesterol balance are typical.

Top 9: Cod Fillet

Not only does cod provide a lot of protein (18 grams per 100 grams), which helps muscles grow, it is also one of the leanest types of fish with just 0.6 grams of fat per 100 grams. On the other hand, cod contains more potassium, calcium, magnesium as well as iodine, zinc and selenium. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D strengthen bones.

Top 10: Chickpeas

They not only go well in falafel and hummus, but also in salads or curry dishes: Chickpeas score points with their high vegetable protein content, as well as magnesium, iron, copper and folic acid.

Tip: You need to soak dried chickpeas for several hours before cooking. Canned chickpeas, on the other hand, can be used immediately. Try them as a crispy salad topping.

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Top 11: Beef

100 grams of beef contains over 20 grams of protein and many important minerals, such as iron. Your body can utilize iron from animal foods better than plant-based iron. Unfortunately, according to a study , the so-called heme iron is probably also the reason why red meat, such as beef, promotes the development of colon cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, limit consumption to one serving per week.

Top 12: Salmon – Muscle gain diet plan 7 days

And another delicious representative from the sea: In addition to its top protein content, salmon also provides many other healthy ingredients, such as

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Numerous B vitamins
  • Vitamin A and D
  • as well as potassium and iodine

Salmon has a variety of uses in fitness cuisine: you can fry or bake it as a fillet in one piece, use it in a delicious pasta sauce or enjoy it raw in sushi quality.

Top 13: Quinoa

The so-called pseudograin not only contains a lot of protein, it is also gluten-free and contains many nutrients. In addition to magnesium, which is responsible, among other things, for the proper functioning of the muscles, there is also a lot of potassium, which plays an important role in the electrolyte balance. Quinoa can be used as a high-protein alternative to rice.

Conclusion: It’s all in the mix!

There are many High Protein Foods for Muscle Building, but the highlight is the balanced mix of animal and plant sources. So you can be sure every day that you are getting all the vital amino acids your body needs. The “potato and egg” combination in particular has a high biological value.