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6 Powerful Grains for Impressive Muscle Gains

Updated on June 1, 2017

As various recently dubbed “superfoods” crowd the supermarket aisles these days, some quite nutritious grains are still behind the trend remaining somewhat obscure as to how they can benefit our bodies. OK, we get it! A grain-based bowl doesn’t sound like the tastiest dinner option when you first hear about it. But, if we get past the myth surrounding their bland taste and focus on grains’ muscle properties instead, we’ll see that the possibilities can be quite appetizing. But, let’s quit yapping and take a look at 6 grains for impressive muscle gains.

1. Amaranth

Once unknown to the public eye, amaranth has recently gotten the attention it deserves. This tasty grain is chock full of protein as it packs 9 grams per cup. In fact, one study suggests that consuming amaranth may help you increase your body growth compared to maize consumption. Talk about a natural way to buff!

If you don’t know this by now, where protein, fats, and carbs provide the material to increase muscle mass, fiber is the one to carry away the byproducts of muscle development. So, it contributes just as much as protein does into the muscle building process. On that note, amaranth is a killer fiber powerhouse.In fact, one cup of amaranth contains 21 percent of the daily recommended value.

2. Teff

Despite its tiny size (they are about the size of poppy seeds), Teff grains have turned into the next big thing for those seeking a gluten-free alternative in their life. Even though Teff is famous for its starch content, it’s also rich in protein. Just by taking a quick look at its nutrition board, we can see that Teff is a rich source of dietary protein which promotes muscle building down the line. In fact, one cup of this tiny grain contains as much as 51% of the daily recommended value.

Protein aside, these funny-sounding grains are also every bodybuilder’s secret weapon as they are jam-packed with calcium. According to one study, if your muscular calcium runs low, you may start experiencing signs of fatigue. No need to mention that by the time your body enters the exhaustion mode, both your performance and exercise duration are out the window. So, Teff grains are here to save the day in their tiny package. But, hey, great things come in small packages, don’t they?

3. Freekeh

A great addition to any risotto meal, Freekeh is wheat harvested earlier than usual. From then on, the grains are roasted and, thus, pack a smoky flavor that jazzes up your muscle-friendly meals. But, that’s not all that makes Freekeh freakin’ awesome! This ancient grain is about to knock quinoa out of the rice cooker as it is super high in fiber and protein (hello, muscles!) and super low in fat. To put it simple terms, Freekeh is a smart option for those who want to make their gym time worth as they can both lose weight and enhance muscle mass. So, ready to get your Freekeh on?

4. Fonio

Let’s be honest! Brown rice and oats can get boring fast. But, what are you to do when you have muscle gains in mind and don’t want to nullify your efforts for the sake of a single bite of junk food? Fonio is the way to go. This relatively unknown grain not only tastes amazing, but it can also support your muscle building goals. How come?

Fonio is home to two important amino acids: cystine, which is involved in primary detoxifications processes in the body such as getting rid of toxins from the liver and methionine, which helps the liver process fat as well as contribute to the production of another amino acid, taurine. What do these mean for your body? For a muscle-building protein to be synthesized and muscle growth to occur, these amino acids need to be available. A modest serving of Fonio takes care of just that.

5. Quinoa

By now you’ve probably realized that size doesn’t matter when it comes to grains and muscle gains. Quinoa is another one from the bunch that fits this pattern by fitting on top of a pin’s head and still helping you crush it at the gym. Plus, its nutty flavor and rice-like texture make it an ideal weight-friendly substitute for your everyday meals.

But, let’s see why the nutritional makeup of quinoa makes this grain all that unique. To begin with, experts claim that quinoa is one of the very few grains that can provide all nine amino acids that our bodies can’t produce themselves. On that note, quinoa contains significant amounts of Lycine, which is the amino acid responsible for repairing damaged tissue. How’s that for a post-workout meal?

6. Farro

Quite similar to Quinoa, Farro grains are one of the healthiest carb swaps you could include in your diet. Apart from being a rich source of fiber, Farro is mainly known for its complex carb content. In their turn, the carbs in Farro help you sustain your energy levels and turn this grain into a bona fide pre-workout meal. Heck, even Roman soldiers had picked up this fact and used to consume Farro for that sole purpose.

Grains are so versatile that it’s super easy to incorporate them into your diet. Even though most people add them in savory dishes, don’t be scared to look up some of the sweet versions as well (think breakfast). Just because you are on the fast track to building your muscles, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge your palate.


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    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

      Kierstin Gunsberg 4 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Thanks for this article, Kyriaki! This summer will be two years since I gave birth to my second child and I've been working my butt off (for serious) to get fit, healthy, and strong after spending almost three straight years of my life pregnant or postpartum. Now that I've got the healthy eating and exercise routine down I'm looking to gain muscle and strength and this guide to great grains for muscle gain is exactly what I was looking for. I like to mix these types of ingredients into my smoothies before blending so all I can taste are the yummy berries and creamy yogurt.

    • Kyriaki Chatzi profile image

      Kyriaki Chatzi 6 months ago

      @Leonard; It's perfectly normal to lose muscle as you grow old. That is why such nutrition tips and a little bit of exercise can work miracles.

    • Leonard Tillerman profile image

      Leonard Tillerman 6 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank you for this article. I have not even heard about most of these. I find as I am aging my muscle is disappearing. :(

    • Kyriaki Chatzi profile image

      Kyriaki Chatzi 6 months ago

      @thumbi7; Thank you for taking the time to comment, thumbi7! I hope this article gave you some insight on the topic along with the warm feeling of nostalgia.

      @Flourish; The variety of grains out there is dizzying. So, I am glad I was responsble for helping out discover, at least, some of them. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      How interesting! I have only heard of one of these so I learned a lot. Don't know if I could find these at my local grocery store but it would be interesting to try them.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 months ago from India

      Interesting information.

      I feel nostalgic looking at the first image.

      Thank you :)