If we could build muscle by eating chicken wings and drinking beer we’d be all set, unfortunately for us the only thing we’d gain by doing that is a spare time around our guts. So what foods combined with exercise will help you build muscle. We’ve complied the following list to give you some ideas.

Eggs: When it comes to eggs it takes less protein calorie for calorie to get the muscle building benefits then it would if you were to compare it to another source like beef. Contrary to what you may believe eating the yolks can be good for you as well. Not only does it contain protein it contains vitamin b-12. Vitamin b-12 is essential for the breakdown of fat and muscle contraction. Eggs are packed with nutrition goodness including riboflavin, folate, vitamins B-6, B-12, D, and E they also have iron, phosphorus and zinc.

Almonds. These nuts are one of the best sources of absorbable vitamin E. Vitamin E is important for your muscles because it helps to prevent extreme damage after extreme workouts. This is important because it will allow your muscles to recover and grow faster. A study done at a Toronto University found that men could eat about two handfuls a day and gain the benefits of this nut without actually putting on any weight. Another study done by the American Medical Journal found that men who got vitamin E from actual food sources instead of supplements have a 67% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s then those eating less vitamin E.

Salmon: Salmon is full of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. This is important for improving muscle recovery after a workout. Salmon can reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes. A study done at Louisiana State University found that if overweight people added 1.8 grams of DHA to their diet, a form of Omega fatty 3 acids to their daily diets their insulin resistance would decrease by nearly 70% in 12 weeks.

Yogurt: With its combination of protein and carbohydrates, yogurt is excellent for muscle recovery and growth. To get the benefit you need to buy regular yogurt not fat free. If you buy yogurt with fruit at the bottom the extra carbohydrates will boost blood insulin levels. Yogurt is one of the few things to contain Conjugated linoleic acid which is a special type of fat which in some studies has shown reduction of body fat.

Beef: Beef isn’t only good for protein it contains zinc and iron which are important for muscle building. Beef is also the number one source for creatine. In order to get the maximum benefit with minimum calories you need to look for “rounds” or “loins” which are cuts of extra-lean meat. Beef is full of selenium. In a study done at Stanford University found that men with low levels of selenium in their blood were five times as likely to develop prostate cancer then those with normal levels.

Olive Oil: Monounsaturated fat found in olive oil helps to prevent muscle breakdown by lowering levels of the cellular protein “tumor necrosis factor-a which is linked to muscle weakness and breakdown. Aim for extra-virgin which has a higher level of vitamin E. Monounsaturated fats have been associated with lower rates of heart disease as well as colon cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Water: The muscle in your body is approximately 80% water. Even a change as small as 1% in the water of your body can impair your muscles performance and negatively affect your ability to recover. The more dehydrated you are, the slower your body will use protein to build muscle. If you are not sure about how much water you are losing weigh yourself before and after every workout. For each pound lost drink 24 ounces of water. By drinking 5 or more 8 ounces of water men can decrease their risk of suffering a heart attack by 54%.

Coffee: Fuelling your body with caffeine can help you lift longer. In a study published “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” it was revealed that men who drink 2 1/2 cups of coffee a few hours before exercise were able to sprint 9 times longer then when they didn’t drink any. If you have a history of high blood pressure it’s advised you skip the cup of joe. Researchers have found that drinking coffee reduces your risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease by up to 30%.