Branched chain amino acids have become a big hit in the fitness industry. However, you can get BCAAs from many whole foods.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are made up of three essential amino acids that are necessary for protein synthesis. These amino acids include leucine, isoleucine and valine and they make up about one third of the muscle in the human body. When your body needs energy, especially during a strenuous workout, your body will break down muscle in order to get these amino acids. By supplementing with BCAA during or after your workouts you can stop the body from breaking down muscle.
However, you can also get BCAA from many whole food sources as well that can help up your diet’s anabolic and recovery-aiding potential. So which food choices are the best source’s.
Lean Meats and Poultry
Red meat contains the highest amounts of BCAAs. All protein sources contain BCAAs, therefore meats that are primarily made up of protein so these will contain BCAAs. You should stick to lean meats and avoid saturated fats as these can increase your risk of heart disease.
Poultry is another great source of BCAAs and is a great alternative to beef. For the heart healthy low-fat source of BCAA stick with the breast meat, preferably without the skin. Eggs are also a great choice and are loaded with benefits. Eggs can easily be added to your diet by simply adding them to protein shakes, scramble, hard boil or poach them for a quick and easy snacks.
Dairy products are also high in BCAAs, you should choose the healthier sources such as low fat milk, low fat cottage cheese, low fat cheese’s, low fat yogurt, frozen yogurts and even sour cream. Be sure to look for the healthier options and watch out for products that have saturated fats.
Ice cream is another great choice because it contain whey protein and is loaded with BCAAs. Be careful not to over indulge with ice cream as it also contains high levels of sugar, fat and saturated fats.
Fish and Other Food Sources
Most fish is very low-fat which makes it a complete protein source which is high in BCAA. Low fat fish such as tilapia are a great choice because it is low calorie, salmon is another good choice high in healthy unsaturated fats and although higher calories it contains other health benefits that you can’t get from other fish.
Finally we have nuts which are also good, especially almonds and cashews, they are a source for the BCAAs isoleucine, isoleucine stabilizes blood sugar and increases energy. Other good choices include walnuts, brazil nuts and peanuts. Almonds and peanuts are also known to help enhance your mood.
You should try and consume foods with BCAAs in each of your meals. However, if you find that you are not getting enough in your diet you should consider including BCAAs in your supplement plan.