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Is Chicken Good For Building Muscle?

One of the most popular protein sources for bodybuilders is chicken. Whether you prefer the chicken breast, the drumsticks, the thighs or the wings, chicken is a really great protein for building muscle. Here are 4 reasons why you should eat chicken:

High amount of quality protein

As you might know already, to build muscle, you need to consume enough protein for muscle growth and for maintenance as well. Talk about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, so if you weigh let's say 180 pounds, you'll need roughly 180 grams of protein per day. If you eat 6 meals a day, that's 30 grams of protein per meal. Protein should be included in your daily diet. An easy way to get your protein intake is from chicken since the latter is high in quality protein. Here are some protein values of different chicken parts based on 100 grams.

Roasted skinless chicken breast - 31 grams
Roasted chicken thigh - 27 grams
Roasted chicken drumstick - 28 grams
Roasted chicken wing - 30 grams

Low in saturated fat

Even though chicken is high in protein, you should be aware of the saturated fat content values as well and fortunately chicken contains minimal saturated fat as compared to beef or pork for instance. Saturated fat is not really healthy and should be limited whether your goal is to build muscle, lose weight or simply keep fit.

Based on the roasting cooking method, chicken thigh contains 3.4 grams of saturated fats for a 4 ounce(113 grams) serving while chicken drumstick has 1.7 grams and chicken wings 2.3 grams for the same serving size. The leanest is definitely the chicken breast at only 1.1 grams of saturated fat per 4 ounce grilled, this is why it's so popular among bodybuilders. Your cooking method is definitely important as well if you want to keep your chicken the healthiest possible. If you deep fry, you're going to add more fats and calories to it as compared to if you boil, steam, roast or grill.

Good amount of unsaturated fat

We all need fats in our diet for proper bodily functions and our fat intake should mostly be derived from unsaturated fats like omega-3 monounsaturated/polyunsaturated. These are healthy fats which are good for the heart and also help in the muscle building process like protein synthesis. If you're bulking up, you need some good fats in your diet as these will make your muscles fuller, bigger, denser and harder.

In 100 grams of chicken meat, you have a total of 13 grams of fat of which 3.5 grams are saturated, 2.7 grams polyunsaturated and 4.9 grams monounsaturated. As you can see, more than half of the fat are unsaturated, to be exact that's 7.6 grams. Here is a small breakdown of unsaturated fats from these 3 chicken parts:

Roasted skinless chicken breast - 2 grams
Roasted chicken leg - 5 grams
Roasted chicken wing - 4.4 grams

Chicken with the most healthy fats and the least unhealthy fats are usually free-range and organic chicken. Hens which are raised by allowing them to roam freely provide the most omega-3 fats as compared to hens raised in battery.

Versatile protein

Chicken is highly versatile as you can cook it in so many different ways like grilling, barbecuing, roasting, boiling, steaming, stir frying, deep frying. You can also make use of the leftovers to add to other meals like making an omelette and tossing some diced chicken pieces to boost the protein intake. You can also make a chicken salad with the breast or other chicken pieces or simply add chicken drumsticks or thighs to a paella dish.

Whatever you do, being creative with the chicken can really produce amazing dishes that you can add to your muscle building diet and make it more enjoyable. Being on a bodybuilder's diet doesn't mean you need to eat bland chicken every time.


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