Are you trying to put on mass while maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Maybe just trying to get a little more definition in your arms, chest or abs, without turning into the Hulk or a female MMA fighter? Try these nutrient-dense foods to spark muscle growth while staying lean and tight:

Eggs—Although eggs have been notoriously highlighted as a food that will raise your cholesterol and clog your arteries, the dietary cholesterol has been shown to rarely be linked to heart disease. This food is seriously meant for building muscle and the cholesterol in the yolk of eggs provides support for steroid hormones. Eggs are also known to have ½ a gram of Leucine in each egg, working as fuel for building muscle.

Lentils—Building mass has never been easier when adding lentils to your diet. A protein-packed slow-digesting carbohydrate such as lentils inevitably contributes to muscle growth. These cook fast and have nearly 20 grams of protein per cup! Toss these in a soup or salad for an extra protein and carb boost.

Chickpeas—Are you looking for a good carbohydrate to add to your diet? Look no further! Chick peas are great for anyone trying to get big and remain lean. By replacing some of the rice or grains that you eat with chickpeas, you will be adding plenty of slow acting carbs and fiber.

Nuts—Putting on weight is facilitated by indulging in nuts. Eating an ounce of almonds or cashews brings nearly 200 nutrient-dense calories into your body. Protein, fats, and fiber are found throughout nuts, allowing plenty of calories to be added to your diet while bringing nutrition in as well.

Lean Beef—Beef has always been one of the most well-known foods to promote muscle growth because it is made up of protein, essential amino acids, Creatine, and B-vitamins. The saturated fat found in beef also contributes to health testosterone levels. Monounsaturated fat found in beef is good for heart health as well. Anxiety and stress levels are shown to deteriorate when indulging in more red meat as well.

Full Fat Cottage Cheese With Live Cultures—Sounds gross, yes, but casein is found in cottage cheese in high levels. Casein allows the body’s blood amino acid levels to rise at a slow rate and remain higher for a longer period of time than if you were to take in whey protein. Cottage cheese also has live cultures that are full of good bacteria. This good bacteria assists the body in digestion — breaking down and absorbing all of the necessary nutrients to allow your body to grow!

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