5 Unusual Foods That Build Muscle

Does this sound like a familiar scenario? You see an article entitled “Foods to Build Muscle Fast,” click through and find that the foods listed are grilled chicken breast, fish and eggs.

Most of us already know these foods promote muscle growth. We don’t need to be told about them for the umpteenth time. When searching for ways to add lean muscle, we want new information, not the same old tired stuff.

Yes, grilled chicken breast, fish and eggs will build muscle mass. Or you could try these five unusual foods.

Author’s Note: Food alone will not make your muscles grow larger. A University of Washington study concluded that resistance training, combined with a healthy diet of protein, is the best way to increase muscle size.

Link to original article in Stack.com by Heather M. Johnson-Emerson.

(Try these workouts: How to Build Muscle Fast With Complexes, Build Muscle Fast With 3 Unconventional Methods and Build Muscle Fast With Escalating Density Training.)


We know by now that avocados are a good source of healthy fats and antioxidants. But did you also know they help build strong muscle? Research has shown that regularly consuming healthy fats (like the ones found in avocados) boosts the production of testosterone and growth hormone [1]. This is a vital component of muscle building.

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

If you’re not sold already, consider that one serving of avocado contains 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (e.g., beta-carotene and vitamins C, E and B6). (See our Guide to the Avocado: Shopping, Storing, Slicing, Eating.)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Like avocados, olive oil also contains monounsaturated fats to stimulate the production of protein for muscle growth. Olive oil also decreases sensitivity to insulin; increases the rate of protein synthesis [2]; halts the collapse of muscle tissue; and promotes joint health. When eating olive oil, don’t ingest refined olive oil. Use extra virgin olive oil to so you can reap the benefits. (See why Real Athletes Eat Fat.)


Consider the ostrich as a big, overgrown chicken. But ostrich meat actually tastes like lean beef. It is low in fat (less than turkey) and cholesterol and high in calcium, protein and iron.[3] (Want to try it out? Purchase it here.)

Ursolic Acid

Ursolic acid is found in apple peels, the skin of blueberries, cranberries and plums. So, how does it help a person gain quality muscle? According to NHS Choices, ursolic acid reverses muscle atrophy and positively manipulates gene activity.[4] This means your body can quickly produce new muscle cells. UA has also been proven to reduce dangerous levels of body fat, which could be detrimental to a person’s internal organs.[4]


Venison can boost testosterone levels, which in turn encourages muscle cell growth (combined with consistent workouts). It has hardly any fat, contains amino acids that are essential for muscle growth and has high amounts of iron and vitamin B12. [5]


[1] Elkins, R. (1999). HGH: Age-Reversing Miracle. Woodland Pub.

[2] Kien, C. L., Bunn, J. Y., & Ugrasbul, F. (2005). Increasing dietary palmitic acid decreases fat oxidation and daily energy expenditure. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 82(2), 320-326.

[3] Paleari, M. A., Camisasca, S., Beretta, G., Renon, P., Corsico, P., Bertolo, G., & Crivelli, G. (1998). Ostrich meat: physico-chemical characteristics and comparison with turkey and bovine meat. Meat Science, 48(3), 205-210.

[4] Gatbonton-Schwager, T. N., Letterio, J. J., & Tochtrop, G. P. (2012). Bryonolic Acid Transcriptional Control of Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Genes in Macrophages in Vitro and in Vivo. Journal of Natural Products, 75(4), 591-598.

[5] Gonzalez, T., & Mitzi Dulan, R. D. (2009). The All-Pro Diet: Lose Fat, Build Muscle, and Live Like a Champion. Rodale Books.


Stack - Heather M Johnson-EmersonHeather M. Johnson-Emerson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of South Carolina. She is a fitness enthusiast and a certified aerobics instructor.


STACK Media, Inc. provides sports performance, training, and lifestyle content for high school athletes and sports community. It offers information, instruction, and advice on training and nutrition, which help athletes to improve their physical