Top 10 Foods Highest in Leucine

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Top 10 Foods Highest in Leucine

Leucine is an essential, branched-chain amino acid (BCAA), required for the growth and repair of muscle, skin and bone. Leucine is suspected to be the only amino acid that can stimulate muscle growth and help prevent the deterioration of muscle with age.

High leucine foods include chicken, beef, pork, fish (tuna), tofu, canned beans, milk, cheese, squash seeds, and eggs. The reference dietary intake (RDI) for leucine is 39mg per kilogram of body weight, or 17.7mg per pound. A person weighing 70kg (~154 pounds) should consume around 2730mg of leucine per day.

Below is a list of the top 10 foods highest in leucine with the %RDI calculated for someone weighting 70kg (154lbs). For more high leucine foods see the extended list of leucine-rich foods.

List of High Leucine Foods

A Roast Chicken1 Chicken Leg
Leucine
per Roasted Leg (Thigh And Leg)
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
5160mg
(189% RDI)
2000mg
(73% RDI)
2174mg
(80% RDI)

More Poultry High in Leucine

  • 165% RDI per 6oz roasted chicken breast
  • 163% RDI per 6oz of lean ground turkey
  • 116% RDI per 6oz of roasted turkey breast

See all meats high in leucine.

A steak on a plate2 Beef (Skirt Steak)
Leucine
per 6oz Steak
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
5007mg
(183% RDI)
2945mg
(108% RDI)
2198mg
(81% RDI)

More Red Meat High in Leucine

  • 85% RDI in 3oz of lamb roast
  • 84% RDI per 3oz of beef roast
  • 62% DV per 3oz beef hamburger
A pork chop3 Pork Chops
Leucine
in 1 Pork Chop
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
4501mg
(165% RDI)
2185mg
(80% RDI)
1714mg
(63% RDI)

More Pork High in Leucine

  • 117% RDI per cup of lean ham
  • 88% RDI in a rack of pork ribs
  • 68% RDI in a bratwurst sausage
Tuna Fillet4 Tuna
Leucine
in a 6oz Fillet
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
4133mg
(151% RDI)
2431mg
(89% RDI)
2642mg
(97% RDI)

More Fish High in Leucine

  • 136% RDI per 6oz salmon fillet
  • 127% RDI per 6oz tilapia fillet
  • 125% RDI in 20 small clams

See all fish high in leucine.

A block of tofu5 Firm Tofu
Leucine
per Cup
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
3508mg
(128% RDI)
1392mg
(51% RDI)
1933mg
(71% RDI)
  • 85% RDI per cup of boiled soybeans (edamame)
Navy Beans6 Canned Navy Beans
Leucine
per Cup
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
1674mg
(61% RDI)
639mg
(23% RDI)
1131mg
(41% RDI)

More Beans and Lentils High in Leucine

  • 51% RDI per cup of large white beans
  • 49% RDI per cup of kidney beans
  • 47% RDI per cup of lentils

See all beans and lentils high in leucine.

A glass of milk7 Milk
Leucine
per 16oz Glass
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
1563mg
(57% RDI)
319mg
(12% RDI)
1876mg
(69% RDI)

More Dairy High in Leucine

  • 52% RDI per cup of yogurt
  • 28% RDI per cup of low-fat buttermilk
A bowl of Cottage Cheese8 Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese
Leucine
per 1/2 Cup
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
1531mg
(56% RDI)
1235mg
(45% RDI)
1790mg
(66% RDI)

More Cheese High in Leucine

  • 43% RDI per 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
  • 36% RDI per grated oz of parmesan
  • 31% RDI per oz of Swiss cheese
  • 27% RDI per oz of gouda

See all dairy foods high in leucine.

Squash and Pumpkin Seeds9 Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
Leucine
per 1oz Handful
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
678mg
(25% RDI)
2388mg
(87% RDI)
832mg
(30% RDI)

More Nuts and Seeds High in Leucine

  • 17% RDI per oz of pistachios
  • 16% RDI per oz of peanuts
  • 15% RDI per oz of almonds

See all nuts and seeds high in leucine.

Eggs10 Eggs
Leucine
in 1 Large Egg
Leucine
per 100g
Leucine
per 200 Calories
538mg
(20% RDI)
1075mg
(39% RDI)
1387mg
(51% RDI)

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Printable list of foods high in leucine.

More Leucine Rich Foods

FoodServingLeucine
1 Processed Meats (Kielbasa Sausage)per large link123% RDI
(3356mg)
2 Whelk (Cooked)per 3oz119% RDI
(3236mg)
3 Cooked Eelper 5.6oz fillet112% RDI
(3056mg)
4 Canned Sardines1 cup (drained)109% RDI
(2981mg)
5 Canned Shrimpper cup79% RDI
(2152mg)
6 Soy Based Protein Powderper 2oz scoop76% RDI
(2071mg)
7 Baconper 3 slices37% RDI
(1013mg)
8 Hemp Seedsper oz23% RDI
(614mg)
9 Chia Seedsper oz (~2 tblsp)14% RDI
(389mg)
10 Flax Seedsper oz13% RDI
(351mg)

About the Data

Data for the curated food lists comes from the USDA Food Data Central Repository.

You can check our data against the USDA by clicking the (Source) link at the bottom of each food listing.

Note: When checking data please be sure the serving sizes are the same. In the rare case you find any difference, please contact us and we will fix it right away.

About Nutrient Targets

Setting targets can provide a guide to healthy eating.

Some of the most popular targets include:
  • Daily Value (%DV) - The daily value (%DV) is a general guideline for consumption that will prevent deficiency of a particular nutrient in most people. The %DV refers to the percentage of an amount that's found in a single serving of a food. It also accounts for absorption factors. It is set by the U.S. FDA.
  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (%RDA) - The RDA sets an average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97.5%) healthy individuals. It's more specific than the daily value, and varies by age and gender. The RDA is set by the US National Institutes of Health.
  • Reference Dietary Intake (%RDI) -The reference dietary intake is similar to the recommended daily allowance, but is specific to age and gender. The RDI for amino acids is set by the U.N. World Health Organization.
  • Adequate Intake (%AI) - This value is primarily used in reference to omega-3 and omega-6 fats. The Adequate Intake is set by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. Because there is less evidence to determine the ideal targets for consumption of these nutrients, the specific amount is considered to be less reliable. Using the term Adequate Intake, rather than one of the other terms, helps to emphasize that the ideal intake of that particular nutrient has not yet been scientifically determined.

See the Guide to Recommended Daily Intakes for more information.

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Data Sources and References

  1. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central
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