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If muscles were made from chips and beer, we'd look huge. D., an exercise and nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut, and a really big magnifying glass, we found it.But they aren't, and we don't—unless you count that sack o' fat up front and dead center. We decided to delve deep into the human anatomy to find the secret spot on every muscle where the word "ingredients" is stamped. Eight foods are on the list: eggs, almonds, olive oil, salmon, steak, yogurt, water, and coffee.(And no, eating a few eggs a day won't increase your risk of heart disease.) How they keep you healthy: Eggs are vitamins and minerals over easy; they're packed with riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, B12, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus, and zinc.Photo: Thinkstock Muscle Medicine How they build muscle: Crunch for crunch, almonds are one of the best sources of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E—the form that's best absorbed by your body.
Photo: Hilmar Hilmar The Golden Ratio How it builds muscle: Even with the aura of estrogen surrounding it, "yogurt is an ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates for exercise recovery and muscle growth," says Doug Kalman, R.This is important, because to build muscle you need to store new protein faster than your body breaks down the old stuff. It'll keep forever in your gym bag and tastes mighty close to cold-smoked cow.How it keeps you healthy: By reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes.In other words, it prevents muscle breakdown by lowering levels of a sinister cellular protein called tumor necrosis factor-a, which is linked with muscle wasting and weakness (kind of like watching The View).And while all olive oil is high in monos, try to use the extra-virgin variety whenever possible; it has a higher level of free-radical-fighting vitamin E than the less chaste stuff. Olive oil and monounsaturated fats have been associated with everything from lower rates of heart disease and colon cancer to a reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis. The Muscle Bath How it builds muscle: Whether it's in your shins or your shoulders, muscle is approximately 80 percent water.
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