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14 Best Meat For Building Muscles + High-Protein Food Sources

Best Meat For Building Muscles. Protein is an important nutrient and can be seen as the building block of life.

Proteins are essential for the proper functioning of our bodies. They are the foundation of body cells and help build and maintain muscle mass and organs.

Anyone who does bodybuilding, fitness, or strength training cannot do without protein-rich food. In this blog, I'll give you the best protein sources you can eat.

What you will read about high protein foods include:

  • 17 Best High Protein Food Sources
  • The difference between animal and vegetable proteins
  • Cheap products with a lot of protein
  • Alternative sources of protein for vegetarians or vegans
  • Ultimate food list overview with protein-rich foods
Best Meat For Building Muscles

The difference between animal and vegetable proteins

Proteins are available from both animal and plant sources.

  • Meat, fish, dairy, and eggs belong to the animal category.
  • With vegetable proteins, you should think mainly of grains, but also quinoa and some seeds.

The question is: what is the difference between animal and vegetable proteins? Which of the two is the best to eat?

Opinions are divided on that. One says that every protein source is the same, the other claims that there is a difference.

Science teaches us that there are indeed notable differences between the two species.

First of all, the number of amino acids. As you may have read in one of my other blogs, proteins are broken down into various amino acids, which are involved in almost every process in the human body.

Animal proteins often have a good balance between all the necessary amino acids, while vegetable sources often score less.

In particular, methionine, lycine, isoleucine, and tryptophan are less represented in vegetable protein sources.

Proteins rarely come alone. Usually, a protein source is accompanied by a number of other beneficial nutrients. Animal protein sources sometimes contain more of these nutrients. Some examples of this:

  • Vitamin B12: This food source is mainly found in meat, fish, and dairy. This is one of the substances that vegetarians and vegans often develop a deficiency of. ( source )
  • DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is one of the essential omega fats mainly found in fish. This substance is very beneficial for the brain and is difficult to obtain from plant sources. ( source )
  • Zinc: Zinc is mainly found in animal food sources such as beef or pork.

Of course, there are also many substances that occur less in animal proteins, namely in vegetable sources. When it comes to health, it is strongly recommended to eat both alternately.

However, excessive intake of animal proteins can also have disadvantages. Especially if you eat a lot of red meat. The intake of processed red meat has been linked several times to conditions such as other cardiovascular diseases. ( source )

However, this turned out to be limited to processed meat. Unprocessed red meat is a lot less harmful. Chicken and turkey were also not linked to the aforementioned health risks.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, it is advisable to eat as many different protein sources as possible. You could also consider taking supplements such as zinc and vitamin B12.

#1: Game species (rabbit, hare, boar)

Game meat has always been very popular with consumers.

In addition to being incredibly tasty, it is also full of proteins, minerals and is low in calories.

A 10-gram piece of rabbit meat contains no less than 22 grams of protein. Another advantage is that the cholesterol and fat content of in-game meat is very low.

If we look at the larger animal species, a wild boar (also called wild boar) is also an excellent alternative when it comes to protein-rich food. 100 grams of boar meat contains about 21 grams of protein.

#2: Chicken breast

When we talk about chicken breast, we actually mean the easily digestible breast part of the chicken.

Boneless or skinless chicken meat is one of the most protein-rich foods you can eat, making it ideal for building muscle mass.

Chicken is basically lean meat when you call it without oily skin.

A 200-gram chicken breast contains 200 calories and no less than 45.6 grams of protein. Chicken breast is cheap, high in protein, and ideal to combine with other food products. So buy!

#3: Tuna

Tuna is a well-known lean fish and is very low in calories and fat. It is a good protein-rich alternative to chicken breast.

85 Grams of (yellowfin) tuna contains about 21 grams of protein and only 92 calories.

It is also a good source of B vitamins, minerals, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Tuna is also full of antioxidants due to the high amount of selenium. A 100-gram piece of tuna contains no less than 52% of the daily recommended amount.

There is mercury in tuna, but the high selenium content in tuna eliminates the toxic effect of mercury.

However, it is not recommended for pregnant women to eat tuna more than once a month.

#4: Shrimp

Personally, I love fresh shrimp.

As small crustaceans, shrimp are also an excellent choice when it comes to protein-rich foods.

In addition to high protein content, they are also low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat.

One serving of shrimp contains 17 grams of protein and just 90 calories. Shrimp is rich in vitamin D, niacin, and vitamin B12. They also contain iron, phosphorus, copper, and selenium.

A shrimp also contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant with an anti-inflammatory effect ( source ).

#5: Turkey fillet

Turkey is a protein-rich alternative to chicken breast. It contains a lot of protein and little fat.

An 85-gram piece of turkey breast (skinless) contains 24 grams of protein and 115 calories.

Turkey meat is also high in niacin, vitamin B6, selenium, phosphorus, and zinc.

In addition, turkey is rich in tryptophan. This amino acid aids in the synthesis of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter.

The protein content in turkey is 30 grams of protein per 100 grams of meat.

#6: Beef

Beef is the meat of cattle and is also known as red meat.

Lean beef is rich in various vitamins, minerals (including zinc and iron) and is therefore recommended as part of a healthy diet ( source ).

The meat of animals that move a lot in nature often contains more proteins.

Lean red meat is therefore very high in protein with a protein content of around 27%. Animal protein is of high quality because they contain all the essential amino acids necessary for the growth and maintenance of our bodies ( source ).

Meat is one of the most complete dietary sources of protein, its amino acid profile is almost identical to that of our own muscles.

#7: Lamb

Lamb is the meat of young sheep that are slaughtered for consumption in their first year while mutton is a term used for the meat of adult sheep.

Lamb is a high-quality source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids necessary for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.

Because the protein content of lamb is very high (about 26%) it is a popular protein source for bodybuilders and athletes. Lamb is also a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

The meat contains varying amounts of fat, depending on the diet and age of the animal. The fat content can therefore vary between 17 and 21%. It consists of both saturated and monounsaturated fats in approximately equal amounts.

Protein meals for muscle gain

#8: Eggs

Eggs have been labeled unhealthy for decades. Eating too many eggs could be harmful to your health. We now know that this is largely outdated.

Eggs have no negative effects on blood cholesterol levels in healthy people ( source ).

For bodybuilding and strength training, eggs are ideal because they contain many vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and proteins. One egg contains an average of 6 grams of animal protein, which has many benefits when it comes to building muscle mass and better bone health ( source ).

Eggs also score high on the satiety scale, meaning you're less likely to start eating again.

In one study, 30 overweight women had to eat eggs for breakfast instead of their usual breakfast. They felt full for longer and automatically ate less for the next 36 hours ( source ).

Research shows that eating 3 eggs a day is completely safe ( source ). Eating more than 3 eggs is not necessarily unhealthy, it just has never been properly scientifically researched.

#9: Milk

Milk is incredibly nutritious, the only problem is that not everyone can tolerate milk well.

Asians and Africans in particular are more likely to suffer from lactose intolerance.

Native Europeans can tolerate lactose much better (only 5% are lactose intolerant).

A gene mutation in Europe is said to have occurred thousands of years ago and spread across the European population. This has allowed us to drink large amounts of mammalian milk today.

If you can tolerate milk, it is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Milk contains various nutrients that are important for the human body.

Milk is particularly high in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B2. A cup of whole milk contains 148 calories and 8 grams of protein.

#10: Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese has been popular among bodybuilders and strength athletes for years.

Not only is it high in protein, it is also packed with essential nutrients and low in calories.

For that reason, it is often consumed by people who want to lose weight and maintain their muscle mass.

In addition, casein protein in cottage cheese stimulates the feeling of fullness, so that you are less likely to eat something ( source ). Cottage cheese also has a high content of calcium.

Several studies have shown that calcium provides metabolic processes that reduce fat accumulation and stimulate fat-burning ( source ).

#11: Protein Shake

If you don't have much time to cook, whey protein shakes are a good protein-rich alternative.

There are several protein shakes and protein powders on the market that can be used by bodybuilders.

Whey is the main component of protein powder.

This powdery substance is created when milk is forced through a filter to make cheese. The water that remains in the filter is dried into whey powder.

The whey powder that remains consists largely of proteins (30 to 90%), fats, carbohydrates, and milk sugar.

Whey contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for muscle recovery.

  • Click here to find out what the best protein shakes and protein powders are.

High protein vegetarian foods for muscle building - vegan protein bodybuilding

In addition to the usual protein sources such as chicken and cottage cheese, there are also many alternative protein sources that you may not have known about. Below I give you a number of alternatives that you should definitely try out:

#12: Spirulina

When it comes to alternative protein sources, spirulina is an excellent choice.

This blue-green alga is a superfood that is eaten by both humans and animals.

It contains more than 65 to 71% vegetable proteins, which is much more protein than most animal protein sources contain.

In addition, spirulina also contains significant amounts of magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, potassium, and other nutrients including essential fatty acids.

Phycocyanin, a natural pigment in spirulina, is rich in antioxidants and contains anticancer substances ( source ).

Spirulina is a nutritious protein-rich food with many health-promoting properties, ranging from a stronger immune system to a reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol levels ( source ).

#13: Seitan

Seitan, also known as wheat meat, is a popular protein source for many vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders.

It has a bit of the look and fiber structure of meat when cooked.

With about 22 grams of protein per 100 grams, it is immediately one of the richest vegetable protein sources you can eat.

This meat substitute is also a good source of selenium and contains small amounts of iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

Seitan is available in most supermarket stores.

Do you suffer from celiac disease or are you gluten-sensitive? In that case, it is better to avoid seitan.

Spirulina represents a biomass of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that can be consumed by humans and other animals.

#14: Hemp seed

You might not think so, but hemp seeds are extremely nutritious and rich in healthy fats, proteins, and various minerals.

It can rightly be called a superfood.

Hemp seeds are considered a complete source of protein, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids that our bodies make on their own.

Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom, as plants often lack the amino acid lysine.

More than 25% of the total calories in hemp seed come from high-quality protein. Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc ( source ).

#15: Quinoa

Quinoa has been an important food source for South Americans for thousands of years. The Incas even believed it to be sacred.

It became trendy a few years ago when it gained superfood status in the media.

Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein, and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids.

It contains more protein than most grains. With 16 grams of protein per 100 grams, it is an excellent vegetable protein source for vegetarians and vegans.

Because this plant is gluten-free, it is also ideal for people with gluten intolerance.

#16: Legumes

Eating legumes seem to be getting more and more popular.

This to me is positive. Legumes are not only full of vitamins and minerals but also contain a high protein content.

In addition, several studies have proven that consuming legumes can help stabilize blood sugar, lower blood pressure and even reduce belly fat ( source )

#17: Sunflower seeds

There are probably few people who take sunflower seeds after a heavy training session.

Yet 100 grams of this quickly contains 21 grams of protein.

In addition, the minerals calcium, magnesium, and zinc are well represented in these seeds.

Sunflower seeds are easily available at the supermarket and are a tasty and inexpensive addition to a meal salad.

Products with a lot of protein

Looking for the best protein-rich products? With the foods below you will never run out of high-quality proteins again.

The Ultimate Food List Overview - Protein (per 100 gr):
beef tenderloin
Minced beef
 Wild boar
 Roast beef
Beef steak
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