Consuming a wide variety of muscle building foods for stronger joints will protect you from joint injuries, speed muscle recovery and energy production. While joints require healthy doses of vitamin D, omega-3 and calcium to remain strong, you also need strong muscles to protect your joints from harm and keep them supported. Foods high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals will go a long way to improve muscle building and supporting joint health.
Yogurt is a delicious and healthy super food. Protein, calcium, Vitamin D and live probiotic cultures support the entire body, from the joints through to the muscles and bones. One serving of yogurt each day will help with muscle and bone strength as well as mood levels. Sugar-free yogurt is the best, if you want the live probiotic bacteria to support immune function too.
Apple a day keeps the muscle aches away! Apples are a rich source of malic acid, a chemical that supports energy production and muscle health. When malic acid in the diet is low, you are more likely to get cramps, muscle pains and poor muscle recovery. Eat one or two apples as a snack every day to benefit.
Soy is a vegetarian-friendly source of whole protein and has many benefits for overall health. Quite often, most people will think of soy milk since it is the common food. In fact, it can also be found in many different forms and foods like soy yogurt, soy beans, soy protein powder, tofu, tempeh etc. Typically, soy products tend to absorb the tastes of the foods they are cooked with. So why not give yourself a chance to experiment with delicious Asian stir fries and Indian food?
#4 Lean Chicken
One serving of grilled lean chicken breast will provide you with over 70g of protein for your muscle health and recovery. Chicken is always a healthy choice as the meat is low in saturated fat and may even have benefits for immune function and fat metabolism.
#5 Golden Peas
Golden peas are fast becoming a popular alternative to soy. Like soy beans, these legumes are a source of whole and digestible protein but are lower in the plant oestrogens that put many people off using soy. Buy golden peas and cook as you would like regular peas. Alternatively, you can try golden pea protein powder.
Kelp is a powerhouse of nutrition. As well as containing anywhere from 20 to 50% protein, kelp is the highest dietary food source of calcium, potassium, iron, and copper. These are all essential nutrients for strong bones and joints as well as healthy connective tissues. Add kelp flakes to soups, stir fries and salads or try using kelp powder as an alternative to salt.
Whey is a by-product of the dairy industry and one of the best muscle building foods available. High quality whey powder contains anywhere from 60 to 90% protein, and can be added to cereal, smoothies or made into a shake. For the highest quality protein content, look into WPI whey protein powders.
Spirulina is a bright blue, freshwater algae that is often sold as a whole food supplement. Not only does spirulina contain 40% whole protein, it has shown in studies to build up lean muscle in people who are underweight. In addition, it contains antioxidants and vitamins that reduce fatigue and low mood.
#9 Green Lipped Mussels
Green lipped mussels might seem a bit posh but they are just full of good things for your muscles and joints. They are rich in protein for muscle building, Omega-3 for healthy joints and chondroitin for cartilage health. Studies show that a diet high in green lipped mussels improves range of motion and reduces pain in people with joint diseases.
#10 Deep Sea Fish
Tuna, herring, salmon, mackerel, sardines, swordfish and other deep sea fish are excellent food sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fats can be used by the body as an excellent source of fuel for building muscle. On top of that, they also help to lubricate joints, reduce inflammation and ease joint stiffness.
For sprains, strains, tenderness, muscle aches and joint problems, you should be including more spices in the diet. Turmeric, chilli, black pepper and curry all have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To relieve pain while building muscles, add a teaspoon of high quality turmeric to your diet each day.
#12 Fruits + Berries
Muscle building, training and exercises builds up a lot of acid in the body. Counteract this with vitamin C and bioflavonoids found in fresh or frozen fruits and berries. Many berries such as blackcurrants are well known for improving athletic performance. One serving a day will ease muscle problems and improve energy.
#13 Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a concentrated dairy food that not only provides energy and minerals for joints and bones but also support the immune system. For slow-release energy to support muscle growth, add cottage cheese to dips, spreads, sauces and sandwiches.
Almonds are one of the highest food sources of magnesium, a mineral which aids muscle relaxation, bone strength and nerve function. For tired, sore or cramping muscles, consume one handful of whole and raw almonds each day.
#15 Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are full of zinc, magnesium, Omega-3, iron which are important nutrients for connective tissue health and muscle strength. Unlike other seeds, chia seeds can be eaten raw and added to cereals, stir fries and baking. Get one teaspoon each day for the full benefit of their dense nutritional profile.
Eggs are bad for your heart, right? Wrong! Eggs are a source of HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol as well as many other nutrients important for energy production, muscle building and bone health. One egg a day provides 15g of whole protein, zinc for connective tissue healing as well as some Vitamin D for strong bones.
#17 Collard and Turnip Greens
Collard and turnip greens provide minerals for strong bones, healthy joints and tough muscles. Both are rich in calcium and magnesium, which are needed together for bone mineralization as well as muscle and nerve function. One cup of steamed greens each day will bump up your nutrition phenomenally!
Beans provide carbohydrates, B vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Many varieties of beans are high in glutamine, an amino acid important for muscle recovery. For slow-release energy, get plenty of freshly cooked beans in the diet each day. You can also combine beans with nuts and seeds to make their protein content more absorbable.
#19 Wild Game (Creatine)
Know any good hunters? Wild game is an excellent food for anyone who is in search of building muscle foods for stronger joints. Other than lean protein, wild game such as ducks, venison, rabbit and wild pig has very high creatine value. In fact, creatine is the first source of energy in the muscle fibers and is important for weight lifting and anaerobic exercise.
Spinach may really give you muscles like Popeye, the favourite cartoon character. Besides providing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support brain health, spinach is a good food source of glutamine, an antioxidant known for aiding connective tissue recovery and muscle health. One handful of steamed spinach each day will provide enough glutamine for muscle building.
When trying to increase lean muscle mass, many athletes begin to supplement with arginine, an amino acid that supports fat metabolism and muscle growth. Peanuts in this case contain an excellent amount of this amino acid and extra calories for energy.
#22 Nutritional Yeast
Brewer’s yeast is a live organism used in the brewing of beer. In its inactive form, it can be used as a nutritional supplement. It is high in protein, chromium, B vitamins (for good energy levels) and iron. In addition, yeast is a brilliant food for reducing muscular fatigue. Make brewer’s yeast into sauces, dips or add to cereal.
Oats are a great way to start the day. Their carbohydrates provide slow-releasing energy for the body and help to balance out blood sugars, triglycerides, cholesterol, and mood levels. For sustained energy throughout the day, make rolled out porridge with yogurt, berries and seeds. You can also add oats to baking, deserts, and meusli bars.
#24 Green Tea
Muscle building always increases acid production and oxidation within the body. Counteract these negative side effects which can be hard on the heart and kidneys with two cups of green tea each day. Green tea speeds up metabolism, cleanses the blood, protects against oxidation and even balances high stress levels.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a popular medicinal plant and muscle building food among athletes. Studies show that ginseng tea helps to improve athletic performance, increase testosterone and reduce inflammation associated with muscle or joint problems. One cup of ginseng tea each day can be taken to speed up muscle building and recovery.