Foods with Creatine for Natural Muscle Enhancement

food with creatine

Creatine is abundant in red meat. 

Creatine is one of the most potent supplements in bodybuilding. Its amino acid complex, naturally present in the body, offers short bursts of energy and enhances workouts. Beyond physical benefits, creatine has also been shown to boost cognitive functions. While widely recognized for its supplemental form, creatine can also be sourced from natural foods. The best quality creatine is found in animal products, though plant-based alternatives are available. This article will delve into essential insights about creatine, including natural food sources rich in this powerful compound.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is an amino acid complex created in the human liver, pancreas, and kidney. It’s also found in the skeletal muscles, where it helps produce energy. This is why creatine is popular among weightlifters and endurance athletes

On average, the body requires 3-5 grams of creatine to maintain regular stores. However, short-and long-term use of up to 30g daily is safe and well tolerated (1). Creatine also has few side effects, primarily when used correctly and when avoiding these mistakes: 

Benefits of Creatine

Creatine offers multiple benefits, including boosting muscle gains, improving brain health, and enhancing physical performance. Below, let’s analyze some of these benefits and how they could apply to you.

More Energy

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is our cells’ primary energy source. When we take creatine, it increases the phosphocreatine stores in the body. Phosphocreatine helps to create ATP, which produces more energy for the body. 

Higher Performance

Research shows that creatine can be helpful for quick-energy workouts like weightlifting, HIIT, and sprinting (2). It can also improve maximum power and effort during workout sets

Bigger Muscles

Multiple studies show that taking creatine as a supplement can lead to more muscle hypertrophy (3). In combination with resistance training, creatine can increase lean muscle mass. It draws water into muscle cells, increasing their volume and leading to growth. Creatine could also stimulate protein synthesis, which also promotes growth. 

Faster Recovery

Creatine replenishes ATP stores after exercise, which could promote muscle repair and lead to faster recovery. In addition, creatine reduces muscle inflammation and damage after intense training. 

Improved Memory

While 80% of creatine resides in the muscles, the remaining 20% is in your brain. Research shows that this may benefit brain power and improve your memory. This review of six studies found that taking creatine improves short-term memory and reasoning but recommends more research on the issue (4)

Improve Glucose Metabolism

Creatine could help with glucose metabolism, whether you are insulin-resistant or not. In this study, people with type 2 diabetes who exercised and used creatine found improvements in their glycemic control (5). However, you should consult a doctor first to use creatine to control sugar in your diet

Sources of Creatine

The body creates creatine, but it’s also present in the muscle tissue of animals. Vegetarians can get some creatine from cheese and milk; however, these sources are low in content. Rather, vegetarians and vegans can eat plant products that contain arginine, glycine, and methionine. The body uses these three amino acids to produce creatine, so consuming them can boost natural creatine production. Some plant products that include these are:

  • Legumes
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Spirulina
  • Walnuts
  • Watercress
  • Asparagus
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Chickpeas
  • Pumpkin Seeds

Vegans, vegetarians, and everyone else can boost their creatine levels using supplements. They come in various forms, but creatine monohydrate is one of the best. Check out prominent fitness writer Jerry Brainum break it down below

Natural Foods with Creatine

Are you hesitant to start supplementing with creatine? Here are some natural foods you could use to boost your creatine intake.

Red Meat

One of the richest sources of creatine is red meat, which is good as it has an excellent flavor profile. Some examples are steak and beef, which contain around 2.5 grams of creatine per raw kilogram. Pork is another great red meat option, containing about 0.7g of creatine per 100g. 


Seafood is another rich source of creatine. Herring fillets can contain as much as 1.1g of creatine per 100g, which is high. Salmon and tuna are rich sources of creatine, with salmon boasting 0.9 grams per 100g and tuna coming in at 0.4 grams. People also prefer fish and seafood options for creatine because they can be low in fat while high in proteins.


Poultry sources range about the same as red meat sources regarding creatine content. Chicken breast contains around 2.2 grams per raw kilogram, while chicken thigh, though slightly higher, has around 2.5 grams per raw kilogram. Turkey is another poultry source that is also rich in creatine.


Dairy can also be an excellent source of creatine, although slightly lower than red meat, seafood, and poultry (6). Milk, cheese, and Greek yogurt are good options. Parmesan cheese, for example, can contain as much as 2.9 grams of creatine per 100g.

Plants & Grains

Some plant products like avocados are also rich sources of creatine. However, whole grains, such as quinoa and oats, also contain creatine, providing a unique way to include it in your diet. 

Wrapping Up

Supplementing your diet with creatine is highly beneficial, as studies indicate that a daily intake of 2 grams can yield considerable health advantages. Maintaining a dosage between 3-5 grams remains effective for enhancing strength, muscle development, or endurance. Moreover, for those preferring natural sources, creatine is found in various foods, offering an excellent way to increase your intake naturally.

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  1. Kreider, R. B., Kalman, D. S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., Candow, D. G., Kleiner, S. M., Almada, A. L., & Lopez, H. L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14, 18.
  2. Demant, T. W., & Rhodes, E. C. (1999). Effects of creatine supplementation on exercise performance. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 28(1), 49–60.
  3. Delpino, F. M., Figueiredo, L. M., Forbes, S. C., Candow, D. G., & Santos, H. O. (2022). Influence of age, sex, and type of exercise on the efficacy of creatine supplementation on lean body mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 103-104, 111791.
  4. Avgerinos, K. I., Spyrou, N., Bougioukas, K. I., & Kapogiannis, D. (2018). Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Experimental gerontology, 108, 166–173.
  5. Gualano, B., DE Salles Painneli, V., Roschel, H., Artioli, G. G., Neves, M., Jr, De Sá Pinto, A. L., Da Silva, M. E., Cunha, M. R., Otaduy, M. C., Leite, C.daC., Ferreira, J. C., Pereira, R. M., Brum, P. C., Bonfá, E., & Lancha, A. H., Jr (2011). Creatine in type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 43(5), 770–778.
  6. Fogelholm M. (2003). Dairy products, meat and sports performance. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 33(8), 615–631.
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.