Amino acids are the building blocks for protein, and branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential for building, strengthening and maintaining muscle.

BCAAs are made up of three types of amino acids. The amino acid called leucine is considered the most important for sports performance since researchers now believe leucine is responsible for giving BCAAs its performance-related results and an excellent reputation with strength-based and endurance athletes.

  1. Canned navy beans

A 1/3-cup (100-gram) serving of canned navy beans offers 0.7 grams of leucine.

  1. Cottage cheese

A 1/2-cup (100-gram) serving of 1% fat cottage cheese contains 1.27 grams of leucine.

  1. Sesame seeds

Just 2 tablespoons (18 grams) of the whole, dried sesame seeds contain 0.25 grams of leucine.

  1. Pumpkin seeds

A 1-ounce (28-gram) portion of dried pumpkin seeds contains 0.7 grams of leucine.

  1. Eggs

One extra-large egg (about 56 grams) contains 0.6 grams of leucine.

  1. Hemp seeds

3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hulled hemp seeds offer 0.65 grams of leucine

  1. Lentils

One cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils contains 1.3 grams of leucine

  1. Spirulina

Just 2 tablespoons (14 grams) of dried spirulina contain 0.69 grams of leucine.

  1. Peanuts

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of Spanish peanuts contains 0.5 grams of leucine.

  1. Oats

A 1-cup (234-gram) portion of cooked oats contains 0.5 grams of leucine.

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