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Building muscle requires a balanced approach. Take Popeye for instance: Every episode, he combines regular exercise with eating healthy. Although his diet and exercise were limited to cans of spinach and bare-knuckle street fights with huge sailors—neither of which I would recommend—he recognized that you have to eat right to build muscle.

You can work out all day, but if you're not fueling your body with healthy, muscle-building foods, you won't get the results that you want. Livestrong, the healthy living organization co-founded by Lance Armstrong, created a list of the 20 best muscle-building foods that can help you reach your goals. There are a handful of obvious foods on the list, such as Popeye's beloved spinach, as well as others that maybe you're already throwing into your best drink blender. But you might also be surprised about some of the other foods that made it. A lot of them are even vegetarian or vegan options, which is really cool. Here are Livestrong's top 20:

  1. Whole Eggs
  2. Chicken Breasts
  3. Water
  4. Fish Oil
  5. Grass-Fed Beef
  6. Turkey
  7. Quinoa
  8. Steel-Cut Oats
  9. Pineapple
  10. Spinach
  11. Sweet Potato
  12. Wild Salmon
  13. Whey Protein
  14. Broccoli
  15. Wild Rice
  16. Cottage Cheese
  17. Chocolate Milk
  18. Lean Red Meat (Buffalo/Venison)
  19. Lentils and Chickpeas
  20. Almonds

So, how'd you do? Everyone tally up your scores and the winner gets a free... umm... sense of accomplishment? How about a healthier body and stronger muscles? We'll stick with that second one.

Really, though, eating a healthy diet that includes natural muscle-building foods is a great way to supplement your workout routine. It fuels your body with the nutrients that your muscles need. You could even add some of these ingredients to your favorite BlenderBottle recipes for an added natural boost. But be careful with your selection. As delicious and good-for-you as lean red meat is, it would probably make for a pretty gross shake.  

Did your favorite muscle-building food make the list?

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