When you do the calculations that is around 1000 calories meal. When you do the research you’ll find that it
isn’t that hard to achieve this number when you’re smashing fat-laden junk food in your mouth.
However, conventional wisdom is changing. A number of athletes who want to add more quality muscle than fat mass, and are concerned with how this way of eating affects their health, prefer to consume higher quality food, with more coming from natural and organic sources.
Unfortunately this approach can significantly increase the total amount of food, in grams, you’re required to eat to achieve the same calorie values. For this reason it is best to eat the most nutrient-dense foods, which contain the greatest combination of macronutrients, and yes, these body building superfoods do exist.
To help you make more educated food choices for your mass gain or bulking phase, here are the top 10 calorie dense, natural foods that offer the biggest bang for your buck, and your bite.
Red beans, the most common of which are red kidney beans, pack a double whammy as
they’re a great source of carbs and protein.
A one cup serving ( 177g) of these legumes contains 16g of protein and 40g of carbs, and packs a whopping 210 calories. When these beans are combined with whole grains such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta, they provide a high quality complete protein that has an amino acid profile comparable to red meat.
They also have a favourable bmega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which is important to reduce inflammation. Omega-3 also inhibits muscle breakdown while increasing the anabolic capacity of amino acids.
Red kidney beans are also a rich source of important vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium, which are vital for optimal muscle function and metabolism. They are. however, high in fibre, which can slow digestion and make you feel full before your meal has ended.
The protein in eggs the highest biological value of whole food. which means they| deliver more protein per gram than any other protein source.
And, at 7-8g of protein per egg, they are also one of the more affordable sources of protein available today.
The cholesterol found in the yolk of eggs is also an essential building block for important steroid hormones that drive anabolism, ensuring that more of the mass you put on is muscle. They’re also a nutrient-dense food, as they contain healthy omega-3 fatty adds, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B6,
B12, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus and zinc.
Sprouted grain bread
Sprouted bread is made from whole grains or legumes that have
I been allowed to sprout germinate).
There are various types of sprouted grain bread available; some are made with added flour, and some with gluten, while others are made with very few additional ingredients, and therefore contain no sugar, or other allergens.
When the grains are allowed to sprout they become living food, which significantly boosts their nutrient-density, as well as their protein and enzyme content. A comparison of nutritional analyses shows that sprouted grams contain about 75% the energy (from carbohydrates), a slightly higher protein content, and about 40% of the fat compared to whole grains.
Sprouted bread can also be made from a combination of whole grains and legumes such as millet, barley, oats, brown rice, corn, rye, lentils and soy. Jay Cutler is one of the best-known athletes who uses this form of highly nutritious bread as part of his mass gain diet, in the form of Ezekiel bread.
One slice of a sprouted bread that contains a variety of whole grains can contain up to 80 calories, with 15g of carbs and 4g of protein. The protein content is also highly bioavailable, and contains up to 18 amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids.
Eggs contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamins 82 (riboflavin), B6, B12, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus and zinc.
Full fat cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is a must-have dairy item on your mass gain shopping list as it’s a muscle-building powerhouse.
It contains both whey and casein protein, which ensures a burst of amino acids In the bloodstream directly after a meal, and a steady supply of them long after the meal has ended, thanks to the slow digesting nature of the casein.
Certain cottage cheese products (particularly the natural and/or organic kind) also contain live cultures, which are good bacteria that help you break down and absorb more of the nutrients from the food you eat. Cottage cheese is also an excellent source of vitamin B12, calcium, and other important nutrients.
SWEET potato is a better starch option than white potato as it contains more energy, and is more nutrient dense, which means you get more bang per bite.
This sweet tasting, tuberous root vegetable Is also rich In complex carbohydrates, and beta-carotene, and also has moderate amounts of other important micronutrients. Including vitamins B5 and B6, manganese, and potassium. When they are cooked in the right manner the micronutrient content also changes, increasing the vitamin C content.
NUTS are a calorie-dense, nutritious food source, many of which are rich in protein.
A serving (28g) of cashews or almonds, for instance, contain 150-170 calories, and offer a perfect blend of protein, healthy fats, and fibre.
Almonds are also a great choice as they have one of the highest protein contents of any nut, and are one of the more inexpensive nut varieties They are also a rich source of manganese and vitamin E
Walnuts are a great source of omega -3 fatty acids, which are important for all the reasons already mentioned. In fact, a single serving (28g) of walnuts contains more omega-3s than a 114g piece of salmon.
Lentils are another member of the legume family that should be included in your mass gain diet.
With about 30% of their calories derived from protein, lentils have the third-highrst level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp They’re also a great source of carbohydrates. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18g of protein. Including the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine, and 40g of slow digesting carbohydrates.
Lentils also contain folate, vitamin B1, and other important minerals. The Insoluble dietary fibre in lentils will also help prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, which are common among bodybuilders who eat so much food, particularly excessive protein.
Salmon is not only a rich
source of high quality protein, but it is also packed full of the long chain omeqa-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are important for the regulation of cell activity.
These fatty acids are considered essential’because they are essential for optimal bodily function, but our bodies cannot produce them, which is why we must get them through food or supplements.
Research into EPA and DHA supplementation also suggests that these fatty acids support muscle protein synthesis, and limit muscle protein degradation. They also seem to enhance nutrient partitioning by increasing insulin sensitivity, which ensures glucose, amino acids and fatty acids are more efficiently absorbed into muscle cells.
Researchers at the University of Aberdeen also looked at the activity of anabolic signalling molecules in the muscle cells, and found that ERA and DHA both activated p70s6k, and EPA activated another signalling molecule called F0X03a. The researchers concluded that supplementing with EPA and DHA. using products with a higher proportion of EPA, is “efficacious in improving protein accretion in response to anabolic stimuli such as L-leucine/ resistance exercise and could attenuate protein breakdown in ageing skeletal muscle.*
This type of fish is also rich In key nutrients, such as selenium, vitamins D and B12, and niacin.
The chickpea is another legume that offers a beneficial amount of amino acids.
The protein comes from the seeds, while the chickpea itself contains 45g of slow-digesting carbs per cup, along with 12g of fibre.
It also contains certain dietary minerals, including Iron and phosphorus.
When it comes to adding quality muscle few things beat good quality red meat.
A steak has a complete amino acid profile, and contains all the essential amino acids, as well as B-vitamins, and a good dose of creatine, to boost strength. Beef also contains a mixture of saturated fat, which can support healthy testosterone levels, and monounsaturated fat, for heart heath. It is also a major source of iron and zinc, two crucial muscle building nutrients.