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Superfoods for Muscle Strength

woman flexing muscles

The basic process to getting stronger is:

-Gradually overload your muscles through training to create an adaptation response

-Allow enough time for those muscles to recover and become stronger before training them again.

-Adequately fuel that training and recovery with nutritious foods! (the focus of this post)


Strength is specific to the muscles and movements that you train, and generally improves in one of two ways initially through better neural drive (communication between your brain and muscles) and ultimately through greater muscle size. Adequate fueling is essential to building strength, since chronic calorie restriction usually stagnates muscle growth and may even cause muscle loss.

Check out the following five foods that can lend a hand to your strength-building efforts, and the nutrients they contain that allow them to be considered super strength foods:

Greek Yogurt

  • Protein (the building block of muscle)
  • Calcium (improves bone health, and since muscles attach to bones, your muscles benefit)
  • Probiotics (good gut health leads to better nutrient absorption and less risk of getting sick while training)
  • Vitamin B12 (helps maintain nerve and muscle cells, involved in red blood cell production)


  • Protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory, beneficial for recovery between training sessions if you recover faster, you can train more)
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D (bone health)
  • Vitamin B12 (helps maintain nerve and muscle cells)
  • Iron (exercise capacity and red blood cell production)
  • Selenium (antioxidant, aids in recovery)

While you’re in good hands with any dark leafy green or dark green vegetable, spinach is rich in a large range of nutrients involved with recovery and muscle growth including:

  • Plant-based protein (about 50% of calories)
  • Fiber (good for gut health)
  • Vitamin A (antioxidant, immunity and recovery)
  • Vitamin C (antioxidant, immunity and recovery)
  • Folate (involved in protein metabolism)
  • Iron
  • Magnesium (involved in protein synthesis, as well as nerve and muscle function)

Grass Fed Beef

  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Zinc (involved in protein synthesis and immunity)
  • Selenium
  • Grass-fed beef also tends to have higher rates of omega-3 fatty acids

Quinoa has one of the highest protein contents among grains, and is also a good source of:

  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Iron

All nutrient values from:



Jason Machowsky, HSS sports dietitianJason Machowsky is a sports dietitian, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and certified personal trainer at the Tisch Performance Center. He has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a masters degree from Columbia University, and has authored a book on nutrition and wellness.

Topics: Featured, Nutrition
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.