Can Eating Nuts Help You Gain Muscle?

bowl filled with nuts
A bowl of mixed nuts. (Image: EllenMol1814/iStock/Getty Images)

Although nuts contain some protein, they only help build brawn when paired with exercises that tax your muscles, such as weightlifting or pushups. Eating nuts or other protein sources immediately after your workout enables muscle growth; however, consuming extra protein will not lead to increased gains, and the American Council on Exercise recommends athletes get about 15 percent of calories from protein, but no more. At 4 calories per gram, that works out to about 75 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet.

Protein in Nuts

Depending on the variety, 1 ounce of nuts will provide 3 to 6 grams of protein. Nuts are not a complete protein, however, as they lack some essential amino acids. According to Purdue University, pairing nuts with legumes such as beans will form a complete protein -- and you only need to eat them in the same day, not at the same time. Because nuts are high in fat and calories, eating multiple portions may lead to weight gain. Turn to lean sources, such as tofu and egg whites, for the rest of your protein needs.

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