Those who don’t follow a vegan diet may not realize it, but most of the protein – and by extension, amino acids – that people consume comes from animal sources. This could take the form of red meat or poultry, or it could come from dairy products or supplements, such as whey, that are based on dairy. This makes it slightly difficult for many vegans to get some of the nutrients they need, especially if they are physically active. However, there are options out there that allow vegans to get BCAAs and other nutrients through food. So, how do vegans get BCAAs from food? To find out, keep reading as the BCAA supplement experts at aminoVITAL® discuss this topic.
Why Do Vegans Need BCAAs?
Within the human body, there are many different amino acids. Though these chemical compounds are most often referred to as the building blocks of protein, the truth is that they play a wide variety of roles, all of which are important for maintaining your health. However, there is a group of 20 amino acids, called the proteinogenic amino acids, that serve as the foundation for all the rest.
Among these 20, 11 can be manufactured in the body from other compounds, so those are called the “inessential” amino acids. (Don’t let this term deceive you; they’re important, but they don’t need to be in your diet, hence the name.) The other nine amino acids are the “essential” amino acids, and this group includes the three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
For any vegans unfamiliar with the term, “BCAA” comes from the class of amino acids that features a unique branched shape, which gave rise to the name “branched-chain amino acid,” or BCAA. While their name may have come from their distinct shape, the BCAAs are notable for other reasons as well, especially their role in supporting the body during and after exercise.
The bottom line is that, since they’re essential amino acids, everyone needs to consume BCAAs in some amount. However, those frequently engaged in physical activity may require more than the base amount needed to survive, so supplementing with BCAAs may be a good idea. As mentioned above, this could create a problem for vegans, since most sources of BCAAs come from animals or animal byproducts.
Where Can Vegans Get BCAAs
If you’re a vegan who wants to get the most out of their exercise routine, it’s important to find ways to ensure that you’re getting all the BCAAs your body needs to build and repair muscle tissue (among other benefits of BCAAs). To do so, you may want to incorporate foods that offer “complete” protein – meaning those that contain all nine essential amino acids – to ensure that you’re getting a dose of BCAAs. The following foods are some good sources of complete protein for vegans:
Whether in the form of tofu, tempeh, or some other soy byproduct, this bean can offer all nine amino acids, including the BCAAs, and it can be used in a wide array of dishes as well.
A rare example of a food that lives up to the hype surrounding it, quinoa is packed with important nutrients, including protein, making it a great vegan source of all-around nutrition.
If your system is OK with a heaping helping of gluten, seitan may be a good choice. It contains all nine essential amino acids, as long as it has been prepared with a broth containing soy sauce, which can add the one amino acid gluten is missing, lysine.
One of the easiest dishes to prepare, brown rice is quite a bit healthier than its pale cousin. This whole grain contains all three BCAAs – along with the other essential amino acids – but is relatively low in methionine.
Like rice, their frequent partner in crime, beans are a source of complete protein; also like rice, they’re low in one essential amino acid, lysine. Combine rice and beans, however, and you’ll have a balanced source of all the amino acids your body needs.
Benefits of BCAA Supplements for Vegans
Though most people get enough of the three BCAAs in their diet, those who exercise regularly may need to supplement their intake to make sure their body has the resources it needs to power through each workout and prepare for the next. BCAA supplements are ideal for this, as they can grant a boost of amino acids without adding unwanted calories or sugar to your diet.
Take the Rapid Recovery post-workout mix from aminoVITAL®, for example. This product contains only 60 calories, and its 12 grams of carbs (only two of which are from sugar) are just enough to restore the levels of glycogen in your muscles. By taking this supplement right after a workout, you can ensure that your body has the amino acids it needs to heal your damaged muscles and generate new muscle mass, plus electrolytes to balance hydration. Best of all, the amino acids in all aminoVITAL® products are vegan, since they’re taken from vegetables through a patented fermentation process.
Try a Vegan BCAA Supplement from aminoVITAL® for Better Performance and Faster Gains
For any vegan looking to build lean muscle, the BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL® can provide an ideal mix of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to improve performance and increase gains. Try our Action intra-workout mix for a boost of energy and focus in the midst of a long workout. To learn more about all aminoVITAL®s products, visit us online or call (888) 246-6673 today.