Your body is your vehicle, so you have to keep your engine running when you work out.

That means fueling up your body by eating the right foods and drinking the right fluids, in the right amounts at the right times. When it comes to eating foods to fuel your exercise performance, it’s not as simple as choosing a few vegetables over doughnuts. You need to eat the right types of food at the right times of the day. Our nutritionists suggest that these eight foods that will help build muscle and support your efforts in the gym.

No matter how hard you work in the gym with your personal trainer, a disciplined diet is the key to reaching your physique goals. You know that dining out isn’t great for your diet, but the foods you keep on hand at home are just as important. Your refrigerator alone can either be a minefield of temptations or a stockpile of all the ammo you need for building muscle, depending on how you fill it.

If you keep these eight essential foods that will help build muscle on hand, you’ll never be scrambling to put together a muscle-friendly pre or post-workout meal.

1 Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein and contains relatively few calories. It’s also packed with many nutrients, such as B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium. It is higher casein levels help to slow protein kinetics, which can help to keep a positive nitrogen status for a longer duration. This creates the ideal environment to grow new muscle tissue. Many bodybuilders like to eat cottage cheese before bed. This leads to a sustained release of amino acids into the blood and muscles during the night, which may reduce muscle breakdown.

2. Eggs

Eggs are are nutritional powerhouses containing all nine essential amino acids and about 8 grams of protein, more specifically large amounts of the amino acid leucine, which is particularly important for muscle gain. They also have a good amount of vitamin B-12, which is necessary for fat breakdown and helps your brain and muscles communicate for better contraction during lifts.

3. Avocados

Eating half an avocado can lower your a desire to snack afterward by 40 percent, according to a study in the Nutrition Journal. They also have plenty of ALA, a precursor to Omega-3s, which can help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. Research has shown that regularly consuming healthy fats like Avocado’s, boosts the production of testosterone and growth hormone. This is vital foods that will help build muscle

Avocados also contain 60% more of the electrolyte potassium than a banana. That, along with magnesium, contributes to proper cell and muscle function.

4. Plain Greek Yogurt

This healthy dairy product has twice the protein of regular yogurt to help with muscle repair as well as lower levels of sugar and salt. Skip the fruit-flavored brands and add your own berries and nuts. . Research shows that a high-protein diet may increase muscle mass in people doing resistance training.

5. Salmon

Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health.To build bigger muscles, you need to feed them protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s can improve recovery because they help increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis, according to a 2011 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Vitamin D can promote strength as well as fuel weight loss. One study found that vitamin D improved peak power after just four weeks of resistance training and helped reduce waist-to-hip ratio among overweight men after 12 weeks. Salmon is also potentially a better muscle-building protein than a low-fat fish, such as tuna or cod, because it’s higher in calories. These extra calories are ideal if you’re active and looking to build muscle.

6. Berries

Berries are a low glycemic food, which curbs cravings and blood sugar crashes. They are also a top antioxidant, helping repair damaged muscle tissue and calm inflammation to speed up recovery. Any berry will do: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are always winners. Blueberries are power packed super-fruits that are foods that will help build muscle. They contain a huge number of anti-oxidants which help in gaining muscle mass. Why are anti-oxidants important? They protect against ‘free-radical’ attacks, which we are vulnerable to after weight training. The key to building muscle and strength is recovery – The faster we can recover the faster we can grow muscle.

7. Spinach

Popeye was right—spinach packs a whole lot of goodness. Swedish scientists have found that nitrate, a compound abundant in spinach, can build and tone muscle. Spinach also is a great source of folic acid, which repairs DNA and helps to produce new red blood cells, and is rich in magnesium, which is needed to maintain normal muscle and nerve function. Eating spinach is linked with lower rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It can also be used in low GI diets because there is no sugar in it. The b-carotene it contains is converted into vitamin A, which is important for the health of the eye. Always choose raw spinach; cooked spinach loses some of its nutrients.

8. Milk

Milk is the ideal beverage to boost mass and aid with recovery. It contains both casein and whey proteins, which when combined can increase the muscle protein synthesis needed to promote growth. Milk has a lot of protein per serving. Each cup (250ml) of milk has nearly 9 grams of protein.

Milk helps to keep you hydrated and may even speed up recovery while reducing soreness. In a 2019 review, researchers found that some studies showed that milk helped with performance and recovery (but some studies showed no effect). So milk might help with keeping our maximal effort high as the workout continues, and reducing post-exercise soreness and tiredness (in both men and women.)

Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that drinking post-workout milk produced more lean muscle mass than either soy protein or carbohydrates.