With more people being self-aware about health and fitness, one’s diet has become equally important as the workout. Several studies have established a direct correlation between diet and fitness goals. Although the absolute superstar of the ‘fitness diet’ is none other than protein. For every fitness enthusiast, athlete, and health-conscious individual, protein is at the base of their diet and for an excellent reason.
In order to develop, strengthen and maintain muscle mass, you require protein, and protein constitutes eleven non-essential and nine essential amino acids. The body does not produce the essential amino acids; hence, it has to be derived from direct food. These three essential amino acids are branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
There are BCAA supplements available in the market, and BCAA for women and men widely bought and consumed as their importance cannot be understated. So, given below are the reasons that make these essential amino acids important in a fitness diet:
Aids in Shedding Weight and Gaining Lean Muscles
If you want to effectively lose weight, you have to balance the calories consumed and calories expended throughout the day. And when you create a calorie shortage, that is, consuming fewer calories than you burn, your weight loss journey progresses. It is also interesting to note that reducing calorie intake is not equivalent to reducing food intake. For example, a 100g serving of potatoes will provide you with 312 Calories, whereas 100g of BCAA rich boiled whole egg will provide 155 Calories. Hence, BCAA rich food and supplements ensure that you don’t starve yourself. BCAA helps gain lean muscle mass while assisting you in creating a calorie deficit. And as you gain more muscles, your calorie expenditure is also boosted, further accelerating your weight loss process.
Exponential Improvement in Strength
One of the most significant results that BCAA provides is an increase in body strength. The right amount of BCAA in your diet aids muscle recovery and prevents excessive muscle damage post a heavy workout session. Hence, the next day muscle aches and soreness are considerably lower. Over time, this results in stronger muscles and less fatigue.
Increases Your Stamina and Performance
The second major result that BCAA provides an individual is a boost in stamina and performance during any physical activity. Since BCAA aids muscle recovery and prevents muscle damage, you can push the limits of all your physical activity. Also, it can remarkably improve your cardiovascular performance. With more capacity to do work, more calories can be burnt, and further aiding your weight loss goals.
Aids Your Immune System
Fatigue is the downside of a long, intense workout regime, and this muscle fatigue can slowly affect your body’s immune system. Your body can become susceptible to illness and discomforts, for example, frequent flu attacks. Hence, it’s crucial to ensure that fatigue doesn’t appear frequently.
BCAA, while aiding muscle recovery, boosts your immunity and keeps a check on histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins (these are chemicals released by the body that cause inflammation when there is muscle or tissue damage). By aiding the body in reducing the production of these chemicals, BCAA allows the body to build a more robust defence against pathogen attacks.
It is clear how fitness, physique, and performance are boosted by BCAA. And when it comes to BCAA consumption, for a regular individual, around 5-12 grams of BCAA per day is enough to power through most daily activities or general workouts, and this can be derived from protein-rich food like whole eggs, chicken, beef, chickpeas, lentils, etc. On the other hand, if you are an athlete, then your body’s requirement for BCAA is increased to a range of 10-20 grams per day, and you may require BCAA supplements (while BCAA for women and men are separately available in the market).
So, in short, BCAA can make you leaner, stronger, faster, and more resilient.