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More and more these days, people look for ways to improve their overall health by focusing on adding certain nutrients to their diets. Depending on who you ask and what benefits they’re looking for, those nutrients could be a specific macronutrient, such as protein, or a particular vitamin or mineral. Many people turn to amino acids as a way to improve their health and fitness levels, and perhaps no amino acid is as sought-after as L-leucine, one of the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). In addition to its role as a part of many fitness supplements, L-leucine – the most common form of the amino acid leucine – can play a starring role in everything from protein shakes for seniors to nutrition support for cancer patients. So, where can you get this key compound? Keep reading as the experts at ENU outline some of the common sources of L-leucine available today.
Common Food Sources of L-Leucine
Among the many different types of amino acids in the body, L-leucine belongs to arguably the most important group: the essential amino acids. While every amino acid plays one or more critical roles in the body – making all of them essential in some way – those belonging to the essential amino acid group include the amino acids that the body can’t create on its own; these compounds must therefore come from outside sources such as foods and drinks, typically those high in protein.
Not all foods are sources of L-leucine, of course, but what you might not know is that even foods that contain protein may not offer this particular amino acid. The best way to ensure you get enough in your diet – or more than enough, if you’re looking to bulk up – is to focus on particular foods. The following are some of the top contenders:
Because L-leucine is found in all forms of meat, poultry is a good source. Foods like chicken or turkey tend to be low in fat, especially compared to red meat, and they’re quite accessible, too. One cup of chopped chicken can offer more than three grams of leucine.
Like poultry, fish is a great source of L-leucine because it’s lean and healthy. Whether you’re digging into some canned tuna or a piece of salmon, you’re sure to get some L-leucine, not to mention some beneficial fatty acids.
Although few people think of milk as a source of protein – often associating the drink with calcium or vitamin D instead – the truth is that milk and milk-based products do offer a fair amount of protein and amino acids, including L-leucine.
Along with products like yogurt and ice cream, cheese – and virtually every other dairy product – offers a wealth of beneficial nutrients, including compounds like L-leucine and its fellow essential amino acids.
Sources of L-Leucine for Vegetarians and Vegans
In general, animal-based foods containing protein are some of the best sources of L-leucine, because those proteins are considered “complete” – meaning that they offer a substantial amount of all nine essential amino acids, not just a few. For vegans and vegetarians, however, many of these sources are off-limits, which can make it tough to get enough L-leucine each day. Fortunately, there are a few plant-based foods that offer L-leucine, including those listed below:
As one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein, soybeans and products derived from them can offer a significant amount of L-leucine to vegans and vegetarians everywhere.
Quinoa, a superfood that has gained a lot of attention in recent years, is notable because, among its many other benefits, it’s a source of complete protein – and, by extension, L-leucine – that anyone can enjoy.
Whether in the form of whole nuts or a prepackaged butter, peanuts can be a great source of L-leucine and other amino acids.
Benefits of ENU Supplements as Sources of L-Leucine
Although there are many ways to work more L-leucine into your diet, supplements like ENU’s Pro3+ nutritional powder are among the most effective, largely because they offer targeted nutritional support. By simply mixing a few scoops of Pro3+ into a drink or moist food, you can add more calories and L-leucine to a meal without increasing the volume of food you need to eat, making it an ideal product for those who struggle with appetite loss or similar health issues.
Not all L-leucine supplements come as a powder, however. ENU’s nutrition shakes offer a healthy dose of complete protein, courtesy of whey and soy protein isolates, that can add plenty of L-leucine to your day, not to mention heart-healthy fats, complex carbs, and more than 20 key vitamins and minerals. Each shake offers 400 calories, making them effective weight gain shakes, and they come in mild chocolate and vanilla flavors that are palatable to many of those who experience the changes in smell or taste brought on by chemo.
But the biggest benefit of ENU supplements may be their convenience. In today’s hectic world, it can be challenging to find the time to cook or shop with specific amino acids or other nutrients in mind, but by adding an ENU product to your routine, you can get more of what your body needs without much added effort.
Try an ENU Shake or Nutritional Powder with L-Leucine Today
The benefits of L-leucine have been well-documented, from its ability to promote muscle growth and repair to its benefits as a source of energy. Learn more about how the high-protein shakes and powders from ENU can help you hit your L-leucine goals by visiting us online or calling (855) 266-6733 today.