Why BCAAs? Which Foods in India have these?

BCAA foods

What are BCAAs?

 One of the secrets to stay physically strong and healthy is reconfiguring your body’s biochemistry in the right way. In that effort, Branched Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs can help you out. Consuming BCAAs is particularly important for fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders.

BCAAs are considered as one the most effective nutritional supplements by many nutritionists. These essential amino acids are called Isoleucine, Valine, and Leucine, and they play a crucial role in protein synthesis, anabolism and anti-catabolism. A deficiency in these nutrients leads to delayed healing and growth of muscle cells.

Why do athletes or bodybuilders need to supplement BCAAs?

BCAAs bodybuilding

Athletes and bodybuilders need their muscles to recover fast. For this, they need a nutrition supplement that accelerates muscle recovery and growth, and this is exactly what the BCAAs supplements do.

BCAA supplementation is useful in maintaining muscle mass while you stick to a calorie-deficit diet. This is especially beneficial to people who are into bodybuilding.

Including BCAA supplements in your daily regime not only helps you maintain a good body shape, but it will also provide you with the extra energy required for strenuous workouts.

BCAA users have reported immediate improvement in their workouts in long extended sessions. The reason is obvious – they do not feel muscle fatigue as the muscle recovery is faster. Moreover, consuming these supplements offered by a leading producer improves immunity too.

BCAA food

Nutrition experts agree that BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis, help in glycogen replenishment, delay fatigue, and improve mental focus during intense workouts. You need to make sure the BCAA supplement you buy has all the three essential amino acids mentioned above, as all of them serve a specific purpose.

Benefits of BCAAs:

  • Boosts immunity
  • Fill the deficiency of amino acids
  • Reduces lean muscle mass loss
  • Controls food cravings and binges
  • Provides strength and endurance to work out more, and for longer periods
  • Brings down muscle soreness
  • Prevents Muscle Breakdown

6 Food Sources in India with BCAAs

Many foods in India contain substantial amounts of BCAAs, and the six well-known sources are below:

  • Lentils (masoor ki daal)


Lentils are nutrition dense with a wide range of health benefits. They are often an integral part of a balanced diet. Lentils comprise all nine essential amino acids that are required for the human body on a daily basis. Lentils provide just under 0.2 g of leucine and nearly 0.1 g of isoleucine per ounce. Though they only have about 0.15 grams of methionine per 1-cup serving.

  • Soybeans

Certain plant proteins are “complete” due to having all nine essential amino acids in a single food, and soybeans are one of them. The fact is soy protein isolates 18 percent  BCAAs. Various studies have shown that soy protein is equally as effective in building muscle as whey protein. However, soy protein contains around 15 percent less leucine, the major driver of protein synthesis, compared with whey protein.

  • Chicken, Fish and Eggs

Chicken and fish contain nutritionally complete proteins with plentiful BCAAs. They contain significant amount of leucine and isoleucine, two main components of dietary protein. Eggs also contain a similar amount of BCAAs, mainly found in the egg white.

  • Brown rice

 Cooked brown rice contains five grams of protein per cup, which is the second highest in BCAAs after quinoa. Though brown rice does not have the essential amino acid Lysine. It more than makes up in other areas of nutrition. A study by the University of Tampa reveals that a rice protein supplement has excellent muscle-building abilities, and particularly effective when consumed after weight training.

  • Almonds and Cashews

Almonds and cashews are great, also great sources of the BCAAs isoleucine, which stabilizes blood sugar and boosts energy. Other nuts that are good sources of BCAAs include peanuts, walnuts, and brazil nuts. Almonds and peanuts are also known to help enhance mood.

  • Dairy foods

Dairy products are also high in BCAAs, especially the healthier sources such as low fat milk, yogurt, cheese, and even sour cream. Milk and yogurt contain 0.2 g of Leucine and 0.1 g of Isoleucine per ounce.

Closing Words

Considering the fact that BCAAs are critical for muscle strength, growth, and recovery, you need to include them in your daily diet. Not just as workout supplements, the foods listed in this post are natural sources of substantial amount of BCAAs. So, don’t delay and consult a nutritionist or dietitian to make your daily diet balanced to get the best out of your workouts.

About Shafiya Shaikh

Chief Editor - IBB

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