8 Unexpected Muscle-Building Foods

These surprising food choices can help you build muscle and stay fit

We all know that what you eat can either make or break your fitness goals. By providing your body with the raw nutrients it needs, you can ensure that your muscles are getting fed correctly in order to grow. Every bodybuilder knows the usual  “bodybuilding foods” like the back of their hand—chicken breast, salmon, eggs… and the list goes on. However, there is an array of unconventional food options that fit-minded individuals can benefit from. Here is a list of 8 unexpected exercise foods that can help you build muscle and stay fit


Pronounced keen-wah, this food has the highest amount of protein than any other grain. With a nutty flavor and chewy texture, quinoa makes the perfect health-conscious substitute for rice


This creature of the sea is loaded with iron, a hemoglobin-building mineral, which is needed to disperse oxygen throughout the body.  A lack of iron can cause a dramatic decrease in energy levels, making it a task to drag yourself to the gym.  Even worse, the lack of oxygen can cause working muscles to excrete lactic acid, making you tire more quickly

(Apples (With Skin

A recent study found that a natural compound found in apple skins known as ursolic acid increased muscle mass in healthy mice. The study also found that the compound reduced obesity, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Apples as a whole are an excellent source of fiber. The soluble fiber found in the “meat” of the apple reduces cholesterol and the insoluble fiber found in the skin speeds the passage of food through your stomach


In need of an energy boost? Pick up a box of raisins to get a healthy dose of carbs and potassium, one of the most underrated minerals for fitness buffs. Potassium helps prevent muscle cramping and dehydration, a serious concern for someone pushing their limit. It helps naturally maintain fluid balance so you can work harder in the gym

Chia Seeds

These tiny members of the mint family have recently become the talk of the town because of their newly discovered array of health benefits. They are the richest plant source of omega-3s, containing a unique type called stearidonic acid, which converts into EPA to aid muscle recovery and inflammation. Chia seeds are also made up of 20% protein and are thought to aid in weight loss


Skip the medicine cabinet and opt for this natural remedy when your muscles are aching from an intense workout. This potent anti-inflammatory root can decrease swelling and prevent joint stiffness. It has also been shown to aid with weight loss, as it enables you to feel fuller, longer


This bite-sized fruit is packed with exercise-friendly nutrients. The polyphenols in cherries help decrease damage to your cells caused by free radicals during intense exercise. They also contain an array of B-vitamins, which help convert nutrients into energy.  Other benefits include combating post-workout soreness, easing the pain and inflammation of swollen joints, and helping you stay asleep longer


Pronounced kee-fer, this fermented milk beverage is similar to yogurt in that it is derived from cultures of bacteria and yeast. However, unlike yogurt, kefir has 3 times the amount of probiotics, which help boost your immune system. It’s also packed with protein from whey and casein, both of which are needed to build muscle tissue
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What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
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