The (Top 10) Best BCAA Foods Loaded With BCAAs

Nick Smith
Last updated: Nov 29, 2018
Fact Checked

The (Top 10) Best BCAA Foods Loaded With BCAAs

2018-11-29T11:39:21+00:00 September 30th, 2018|

Whether your goal is to build muscle, burn fat, or improve your recovery, supplementing with branched-chain amino acids is an effective and proven way to accomplish all three objectives.

BCAAs supplements are convenient because one serving can provide the ideal ratio of amino acids needed to get results.

But what if you prefer to get in all of your nutrients from whole foods?

There are plenty of protein-rich foods that are packed with amino acids.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 foods loaded with BCAAs:

  1. Chicken Breast
  2. Fresh Tuna
  3. Lean Ground Beef
  4. Flank Steak
  5. Wild Caught Salmon
  6. Tilapia
  7. Canned Tuna
  8. Turkey Breast
  9. Whole Eggs
  10. Egg Whites

Let’s start with:

#1 Eat Chicken Breast For BCAAs

Low in fat and packed with around 35 grams of protein per six ounces (170 grams), chicken breasts are without a doubt the most popular bodybuilding food.

For our list of foods that contain BCAAs, chicken breasts are at the top spot, providing 6.6 grams of naturally-occurring branched-chain amino acids.

Here’s the specific breakdown of leucine, isoleucine, and valine:

  • Leucine: 2.9 grams
  • Isoleucine: 1.8 grams
  • Valine: 1.9 grams
  • Total: 6.6 grams of BCAAs

#2 Eat Fresh Tuna For BCAAs

Matching with chicken breasts as the food containing the highest number of BCAAs, a six-ounce serving of fresh tuna delivers 6.6 grams of BCAAs.

The only reason fresh tuna didn’t overtake chicken breasts is because of the potential for mercury content.

When buying tuna, try to go with a brand or a store that has a product with the lowest levels of mercury and other heavy metals.

  • Leucine: 2.9 grams
  • Isoleucine: 1.8 grams
  • Valine: 1.9 grams
  • Total: 6.6 grams of BCAAs

#3 Eat Lean Ground Beef For BCAAs

Next up we have lean ground beef, which has more than 95% of the fat removed.

Ideal for making hamburgers and a vegetable sauté, ground beef is a quick and easy way to get your BCAAs.

Since it’s a bit harder to digest for some people, lean ground beef is better as a meal two hours before or a few hours after a workout.

For a six-ounce portion of lean ground beef, you’ll get 6.2 grams of BCAAs.

  • Leucine: 2.8 grams
  • Isoleucine: 1.6 grams
  • Valine: 1.8 grams
  • Total: 6.2 grams of BCAAs

#4 Eat Flank Steak For BCAAs

A cut of steak from the stomach of the cow, flank steak is a great, protein-rich meal to support your fitness goals. Like ground beef, steak can be a bit tough to digest so eat it sparingly and as a part of a well-balanced diet. One six-ounce cut of a flank steak will deliver 6.2 grams of BCAAs.

  • Leucine: 2.8 grams
  • Isoleucine: 1.6 grams
  • Valine: 1.8 grams
  • Total: 6.2 grams of BCAAs

#5 Eat Wild Caught Salmon For BCAAs

Packed with healthy fats, wild salmon is a great way to consume plenty of muscle-building amino acids. A six-ounce portion of wild-caught salmon will give you 5.9 grams of BCAAs.

Farmed salmon is okay as well, but try to limit your consumption as it is more likely to have higher levels of mercury and other heavy metals.

  • Leucine: 2.7 grams
  • Isoleucine: 1.5 grams
  • Valine: 1.7 grams
  • Total: 5.9 grams of BCAAs

#6 Eat Wild Tilapia For BCAAs

Another fish-based source of BCAAs, wild-caught tilapia is a tasty and cost-effective way to consume the ideal ratio of amino acids to support your fitness goals.

You’ll get 5.9 grams of BCAAs for a six-ounce portion.

We really stress wild-caught tilapia as farm-raised tilapia has seen a ton of bad publicity in the last few years.

If wild-caught tilapia isn’t available, it’s okay to eat it very sparingly.

  • Leucine: 2.7 grams
  • Isoleucine: 1.6 grams
  • Valine: 1.6 grams
  • Total: 5.9 grams

#7 Eat Canned Tuna For BCAAs

Wild-caught tuna isn’t always in season, but canned tuna is a great alternative.

Providing roughly the same protein and BCAA content at 5.6 grams for a six-ounce serving, canned tuna is a quick, easy, and cost-effective way meet your BCAA needs.

If you want to avoid mercury and heavy metal, canned tuna can be a better option overall because you’re able to research which brands are responsibly sourced.

Wild Planet and American Tuna are two excellent brands that we recommend.

  • Leucine: 2.5 grams
  • Isoleucine: 1.5 grams
  • Valine: 1.6 grams
  • Total: 5.6 grams of BCAAs

#8 Eat Turkey Breast For BCAAs

Despite popular belief, you can purchase turkey breasts all year round, not just during the holiday season.

A great alternative to chicken breasts, turkey tends to have more flavor.

They are also much larger than chicken breasts, giving you several meals for the week.

You’ll get 5.2 grams of BCAAs in every six-ounce portion.

  • Leucine: 2.8 grams
  • Isoleucine: 1.1 grams
  • Valine: 1.3 grams
  • Total: 5.2 grams of BCAAs

#9 Eat Whole Eggs For BCAAs

Another bodybuilding staple, whole eggs contain both muscle-building protein and heart-healthy fats.

One egg delivers an impressive 1.3 grams of BCAAs, so if you eat five eggs per day, you’ll be getting as many BCAAs as a chicken breast.

For those that want heart-healthy fats, but need to watch their cholesterol, you can use half whole eggs and half eggs whites when preparing a meal.

If your doctor has suggested steering clear of high-fat meals, you can try only egg whites as we talk about below.

  • Leucine: 0.54 grams
  • Isoleucine: 0.3 grams
  • Valine: 0.4 grams
  • Total: 1.3 grams of BCAAs

#10 Eat Egg Whites For BCAAs

For those that are conscious of how much fat they are eating on a daily basis, you have egg whites.

Although the BCAA count is lower in egg whites (they offer 0.8 grams of BCAA per one serving of egg whites) they are also lower in calories.

On average, you’ll get 25 calories for three tablespoons of egg whites.

This means you can purchase egg whites from the store and easily cook them or add them to your morning smoothie without worrying about going over your daily caloric limit.

  • Leucine: 0.3 grams
  • Isoleucine: 0.2 grams
  • Valine: 0.3 grams
  • Total: 0.8 grams of BCAAs

So those are the top 10 best foods you can eat to get some of the benefits of BCAAs into your life!

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