Everyone needs essential amino acids like the BCAAs leucine, isoleucine, and valine which are a special group that is described to have branched-chain appearances; all individuals must stock up on the essentials. How does it work for restricted diets like the vegan diet anyway? Fortunately, there are ways for them to be supplied with the essential even if they are not eating BCAA-rich foods. In this article, we will focus on leucine for vegans and what food sources are rich in leucine.
BCAAs And The Vegan Diet: Leucine For Vegans
There are actually a lot of amino acid supplements available in the market. Other than just supplying the body with the essential (or non-essential) amino acids, these supplements are also beneficial in many other ways which consist of the improvement of an individual’s muscle build and development and their physical performance get boosted as well. Additionally, most supplements like this are made to be vegan-friendly and gluten-free. Amino acid supplement products are usually consumed most by professional athletes and bodybuilders mainly because of their effectivity in terms of muscles and performance, they can be consumed by anyone though especially if the person is in need of the amino acids to stay healthy; the muscle and performance improvement will just be added benefits for them.
Vegans should not worry because there is actually a lot of vegan-friendly food out there that contains essential amino acids like the BCAAs. Most of them may contain smaller amounts compared to non-vegan foods though, but they seem enough to at least give the body the required amount it needs. It is possible to eat meals made from the combination of vegan-friendly foods that contain leucine (and/or other BCAAs) if you want to boost the effectiveness of the amino acids.
On another note, the first few claims about how vegans hardly get their doses of essential amino acids were somehow proven to be false according to some studies. As said by the researchers, the difference between vegan and non-vegan foods in terms of leucine content is not really that big. In fact, the BCAAs from plant proteins are considered to be almost in the same amount as those from animal proteins. So all the previous beliefs should not be a problem anymore because everyone, regardless of their diet, is capable of getting enough essential amino acids like leucine.
What Makes Leucine Different from the other BCAAs?
You may have noticed that leucine is mentioned more compared to the other two BCAAs, there is actually a reason for that.
Branched-chain amino acids in general are beneficial for muscle growth and development, and there are a total of three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Although all three of them are said to be helpful in the body in different aspects, it is the leucine that usually takes most of the praise and acknowledgment. Why? Because according to studies focused on using BCAA as supplements, the amino acid leucine has provided promising results when it comes to protein synthesis and muscle improvement; and this made them name leucine as the primary contributor when it comes to muscle needs. But no matter how superior leucines are, the other two BCAAs are also important in different ways just like how isoleucine is relevant to glucose functions in the body. However, the remaining branched-chain amino acid called valine needs more research as there are no current studies indicating its benefit to the body.
If you’re a vegan and someone who would love to get some extra muscles at the same time, this is for you.
Leucine For Vegans
Yes, it is really possible to get your daily dose of leucine for vegans. It is inevitable though that it may be a tad little harder to animal-based food diets, it is possible. Ideally, the amount of leucine a vegan should consume depends on their weight. The suggested amount of leucine should be 42 mg per kilogram of body weight. For those who have higher body weights, like bodybuilders and some athletes, must eat a lot of these foods then.
Oats have always been a diet favorite, regardless of what kind of diet the individual actually pursues. It is also a preferable diet meal when it comes to vegans, plus it actually contains a lot of nutrients. Who would have thought that it is one of the top sources of the amino acid leucine? You can get 2 grams of leucine from eating 1 cup of oats.
There are a lot of beans that you can eat for their leucine content and the good thing about them is that they’re all vegan-friendly. Beans are actually next in line with oats when it comes to an abundance of leucine, and they also provide a lot more nutrients and benefits. You can check for meal ideas that include beans as ingredients, most of them are even easy to make. Choose beans like soybeans, kidney beans, black beans, and mung beans.
If you enjoy the taste and crunch of nuts, they are also considered to have good amounts of leucine so you can add them to your vegan diet. Peanuts, pistachio nuts, cashew nuts, and almonds are some of the best picks when it comes to leucine content.
Spinach is ideal if you’re looking for a green leafy action in your vegan diet. The other nutrients of spinach are also very beneficial so you may want to add this to your meals as much as possible.