Wondering what to eat after a workout to maximise your recovery? Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) have long been known for their muscle growth and performance benefits. They’re incredibly popular as supplements for those looking to get the most out of their workouts, thanks to their ability to help us recover after intense exercise.
If you’ve been thinking about jumping on board the BCAA supplement bandwagon, you’re not alone. What most of us don’t realise though, is that it’s often super-easy to tap into the natural benefits of BCAA simply by making good food choices. What else didn’t we know?
1. Your diet gives you enough BCAAs
Most of us are enjoying enough of BCAAs’ advantages already—from our natural, everyday diets. If you’re normally one to include healthy proteins in your meals, chances are you’re already eating ingredients that offer between 15 and 25% BCAAs. A small can of tuna, for instance, will usually provide at least 5 grams of BCAAs, helping you reach the ideal amount for post workout recovery.
2. Complete proteins are an amazing source of BCAAs
If you regularly eat complete proteins, you’re in an even better position! The brilliant thing about complete proteins is that they contain each and every of the nine amino acids that are essential to our diets. That means BCAAs are right in there already, helping you rebuild those muscles and replenish those stores for your next intense exercise session.
3. Natural foods = real proteins = real, natural tastiness
Another great thing about getting your BCAAs from natural sources is that you just can’t beat the taste of real food! Complete proteins from whole foods, like eggs and fish, are often heaps more economical than supplements. They leave you feeling much fuller, for much longer—one of the reasons complete proteins help promote weight loss and give…a feeling of contentment! BCAA supplements may not break the bank on their own, but they definitely don’t leave you feeling full and satisfied the way a good steak does!
Post workout meals for muscle growth and recovery
As noted, BCAAs are easy to get from your everyday diet. In fact, they’re in a whole bunch of popular high-protein foods that most of us are eating already, including:
- Turkey and chicken – every fitness fan is familiar with turkey’s pros as a lean protein source. It’s especially packed with leucine, one of the three BCAAs often found in supplement form. Eat them together as a six-ounce serving (a wrap sounds good!), and you’re getting the optimal 2 to 4 gram amount for maximum muscle development.
- Wild Salmon – salmon’s not only a powerhouse of muscle-building BCAAs, but also gives you DHA and EPA. These fatty acids can work wonders for healthy skin and hair, while helping you recover from post-exercise muscle stress.
- Cashew nuts – 100% vegan cashews are commonly the star of gluten-free, protein-rich recipes, like Pre-Tea’s cheeky Protein, Chocolate & Cookie Dough bars. More good news…they’re rich in leucine, too!
- Eggs, egg whites, and dairy products – also naturally high in leucine, these are greatr additions to any diet, as they work brilliantly alongside other proteins. Take your pick from the list above, or try them with these heavenly banana pancakes and Pre-Tea! Dairy like yoghurt is also a strong choice if you’re after some of the digestive benefits of natural probiotics.