BCCAs and Their Benefits

BCAAs are a group of three essential amino acids in the body: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.  Essential, meaning our body cannot produce it on it’s own so we must receive them through our diet. 

When we ingest protein through food, digestion begins in the stomach when enzymes specific to each protein are released to break the proteins down and absorb. Proteins consist of different various lengths of single amino acids connected all together in different shapes. The enzymes break protein down into single amino acids, or shorter length peptides (meaning short proteins). Once broken down, the individual amino acids then travel to their respective location needed in the body. 

The BCAAs make up about 35-40% of all 9 essential amino acids. Contrary to most other amino acids, BCAAs are mostly broken down in the muscle, rather than in the liver. Thus, just like you would assume, their benefits are involved with our muscles. 

One of the most popular uses of BCAAs is to increase muscle growth. Most predominantly involving Leucine.  The “Leucine Trigger” is the reference used for the activation of the protein synthesis pathway to make muscle upon the ingestion of leucine. 

It is not uncommon to feel sore after a workout, some research suggests BCAA’s can help decrease muscle soreness. Soreness is caused from small microtears in our muscles from the muscle’s activation during exercise. Studies show BCAAs can limit this breakdown. Thus, supplementing with BCAAs, specifically before exercise, may speed up recovery time. 

Exercise induced fatigue may seem inevitable when intensity is high. BCAAs may help reduce exercise-induced fatigue. This fatigue is referring to mentally through the action of the hormone serotonin. When the BCAAs become depleted in the blood during exercise (as they are used as energy just like a carbohydrate is), levels of the amino acid tryptophan in the brain increases. Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin which contributes to fatigue during exercise. With high levels of BCAAs in the blood, this could possibly be avoided. However, this decrease in mental fatigue is unlikely to translate to improvements in exercise performance.

Fortunately, BCAAs are abundantly found in many foods and whole protein supplements such as whey. This makes BCAA supplements unnecessary for many if enough protein is consumed throughout your day. Outside of whey protein, some of the best food sources of BCAAs include beef, chicken, whey protein, eggs, and greek yogurt.

Food for Energy

Why do we eat food? I believe we may have forgotten the purpose of food. Myself included may think, oh shoot the answer is not pleasure! The proper answer should be food provides the energy for our bodily functions essential to life. What you eat matters because cells in the body need certain things that can only be provided through food. 

Food is made up of the macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and protein & many micronutrients. It is safe to say food is any substance that provides nutritional support and or energy to the body. But today, far too often the typical eating patterns consumed by many in the United States do not align with the mantra of eating to fuel our cells. We tend to consume far too much sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars in our diet not giving what our bodies and mind need. 

We also often fail to associate how we feel with what we eat. To receive the greatest benefit out of food, we should try to choose a varied diet containing many different, nutritious foods that give the body sustained energy. Some foods, such as sugars and refined carbs, give the body a quick jolt of energy. The idea behind finding energy boosting foods is to consume a varied, balanced diet. Vitamins, fiber, fats, and proteins are all essential for energy, but it is crucial to find a balance between them. 

Here are a few of the foods that provide more stable energy to attack your day:


Bananas –  are a big source of sugar but they are also rich in fibers that help slow the digestion of that sugar.  

Avocados – contain good fats that may increase energy levels, and make fat-soluble micronutrients more available in the body. 

Apples – along with fiber and nutrients, apples are high in antioxidants which help fight inflammation in the body.


Fatty fish –  in general, is an excellent and light source of protein and B vitamins (aka the energy vitamins). Fatty cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines, and tuna, tend to be higher in omega – 3 fatty acids too. 

Eggs –  provide the body with plenty of protein and nutrients for sustainable energy. Just one large hard-boiled egg contains about 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, along with vitamins and minerals. 


Oats –  provide a source of essential minerals, vitamins, and phenolic compounds, all of which may help energize the body.

Quinoa – is actually a seed, but we often treat it as a grain. It is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. The combination of amino acids and slow-release carbohydrates make for sustainable energy rather than a short burst. 

Lastly, one of simplest things you can do to help your body for energy is drink water!

On top of these, there are a multitude of other foods to act in your favor. Outside of individual foods, you can add a bit more excitement by combining foods to make your favorite combinations. Maybe a smoothie! Or even a special salad with your favorites. There are also many products on the market that do this already for you, such as SunWarrior (Warrior Blend Organic Protein). Small shifts in food choice over the course of a week, a day, or even a meal can make a big difference so why not begin now (: