There is no better thing to eat than protein when it comes to building lean muscle and getting proper recovery. In addition, protein aids in fat loss by promoting a feeling of fullness. Chicken, beef and fish are all excellent sources of protein with minimal to zero carbs. Let’s examine three of the most popular meats for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts and find out what truly is the best bodybuilding food.
Chicken is the most widely eaten meat among bodybuilders and with good reason. It’s very lean (provided you are choosing chicken breasts), high in protein and easy to cook and prepare. Chicken can be frozen very well so it is easy to store and be prepared ahead of time. Be wary of eating chicken skin since it’s mostly fat. Chicken contains all of the essential amino acids. Because of its complete amino acid profile, it’s a favorite amongst fitness enthusiasts. The only main drawback to chicken is that it doesn’t provide a great deal of iron content.
Beef is typically higher in fat than chicken or fish, but the amount does indeed depend on how the cows were fed. Compared to grain-fed, grass-fed beef has lower fat and a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in cholesterol.
If you want the leanest cut of beef, stick with a sirloin tip side steak (5.4 grams of fat per 3.5 ounce serving) and stay away from a rib-eye (37.6 grams of fat), which is the fattiest cut of meat. Out of all the meats, beef is the richest in iron, which helps metabolize proteins and plays a role in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells.
Fish is certainly one of the healthiest foods you can eat and many consider it as the single best protein source. Fattier fish, generally from cold water, contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Wild fish tend to have more favorable fat profiles than farm-raised fish, particularly salmon. However you should keep in mind that more fatty fish means higher calories, even though it has a lot of healthy fats.
Be careful with consuming too much fish. Certain types of fish can be high in toxins like mercury. Mercury-containing plants and tiny animals are eaten by smaller fish that are then gobbled up by larger fish, whose tissue accumulates mercury. That’s why larger, longer-living predators such as sharks and swordfish tend to have more of the toxin than smaller fish such as sardines, sole, and trout. Tuna is a popular fish with more mercury than many other types of fish. Therefore, tuna consumption should certainly be limited. If you chose to eat canned tuna, light tuna contains less mercury than albacore. Canned salmon is a better option, though fat content can vary significantly depending on the kind of salmon. Canned pink salmon is high in protein, low in fat and contaminants, and relatively inexpensive.
Eating fish improves your insulin sensitivity, which means that you need less insulin to transport glucose and amino acids into your cells. Less insulin may mean less fat deposition.
Which is the Best Bodybuilding Food?
There really is no best source of protein between the three. It really depends on your goals. Since beef tends to have more calories and fat, it may be better for bulking purposes, especially since it contains a good amount of natural creatine. However, chicken and fish are better for losing weight since they are typically leaner meats. However, your best bet is to have a combination of all three to really maximize health benefits.