Foods With Isoleucine & Leucine

by Rachel Nall


Isoleucine and leucine are amino acids that help to serve as the building blocks that contribute to your body's proteins. They're important for a healthy lifestyle, because they help to promote muscle recovery, particularly after an intense exercise session. Isoleucine and leucine are essential amino acids, meaning you can't produce them on your own, and you must turn to food sources in order to obtain a sufficient amount in your daily diet. Knowing what food sources provide these amino acids can help you to maintain normal muscle function.


Meats serve as an excellent source of leucine and isoleucine. For example, top round beef, contains 1.76 grams of leucine for every 100-gram serving, according to Dietary Fiber Food. Other meat-based sources include pork, chicken, shrimp and fish. When possible, opt for lean meats or fish -- you'll still get beneficial leucine and isoleucine, but without the saturated fat found in fatty red meat.

Dairy and Eggs

Dairy and eggs serve as vegetarian-friendly sources of leucine and isoleucine. Each whole large egg contains 1.1 grams of leucine and 0.7 gram of isoleucine. A serving of Swiss cheese provides you with 3 grams of leucine, while parmesan cheese boasts 1.9 grams of isoleucine. Milk -- including dry milk, an economical alternative that can be used in recipes -- provides both amino acids -- an yogurt also boosts your intake.

Vegetables and Soy

Reach for asparagus and snap green beans as sources of leucine and isoleucine. Lentils or pulses also serve as good sources of these amino acids, while flaxseeds, sesame seeds and tahini also also boost your intake. Chickpeas and hummus provide a dietary source of these amino acids, along with products made from soybeans, including soy milk. Brown rice and whole-wheat bread products also serve as a source of isoleucine and leucine.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or