Are you hoping to build more muscle? If you’ve already been visiting the gym or participating in a strength training program, you have the basics down. But building muscle might take more of an effort. One way to make your muscles bigger and stronger is by eating the right food at the right time. Enter the chicken breast.

Here’s everything you need to know about eating chicken and building muscle based on the latest research.

Yes, Chicken Can Help You Build Muscle Mass

When you want to build muscle, you need to do two things: hit the gym and eat more protein. If either of these are missing, you won’t see the results you’re hoping for. Some of the best sources of protein come from steak, bison, turkey breast and chicken breast.

Chicken gets the most points because it’s versatile, low in fat and inexpensive. While you can eat most parts of the chicken, nutritionists suggest eating the breasts because they have less saturated fat and calories.

…But Eating Too Much Can Harm Your Body

While it might be tempting to switch to a protein-only diet, it’s important to know that eating too much protein can be harmful to your body. If protein makes up more than 30% of your total daily caloric intake, it can put your body under stress.

Take for example, ketogenic diets. These diets cut out carbs and have you eating more protein, which can put your kidneys into overdrive and increase risk for dehydration. The amount of protein your body needs to build muscle depends on many factors, but the NIH recommends 0.36 grams per pound of body weight.

Chicken Does More Than Just Add Protein

It’s also worth pointing out that chicken does more for muscle building than just add protein.

  1. Niacin is essential for converting protein, fat and carbohydrates into usable energy. This can help you push around more weight.
  2. Vitamin B6 helps the body use carbs stored in your muscles during exercise.
  3. Iron delivers oxygen to your muscles while you’re training and working out.
  4. Selenium repairs damaged cells and prevents the growth of cancerous ones, lowering your risk for cancer. Selenium also promotes good thyroid health, keeping your metabolism in check.
  5. Zinc boosts the immune system and supports the production of anabolic hormones. This way, you stay healthier and can hit the gym more often.

How Often Should You Be Eating Chicken?

You can eat chicken every day if you choose. Be sure to prepare the chicken in a healthy way, such as by baking or grilling the bird. Also serve it with healthy sides that give you added vitamins and minerals such as a kale salad, broccoli, asparagus or sweet potato. Most average people can eat 26 ounces of poultry each week, but you may need more based on your workout routine.

And, when you’re on the go or at the office, stop into La Rosa Chicken and Grill for a healthy protein-packed meal that will support your muscle building workout plan.

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