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Top 10 Foods Highest in Leucine

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
Top 10 Foods Highest in Leucine
Leucine is an essential amino acid used in the liver, fat tissue, and muscle tissue. Leucine is also suspected to be the only amino acid which can stimulate muscle growth, and can also help prevent the deterioration of muscle with age. High leucine foods include cheese, soybeans, beef, chicken, pork, nuts, seeds, fish, seafood, and beans. The recommended daily intake for leucine is 39mg per kilogram of body weight, or 17.7mg per pound. A person weighting 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.
1Chicken Leg
A Roast Chicken

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.
2Beef (Skirt Steak)
A steak on a plate

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
3Pork Chops
A pork chop

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 Fillet

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.
5Firm Tofu
A block of tofu
-85% RDI per cup of boiled soybeans (edamame)
6Canned Navy Beans
Navy Beans

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 milk
-52% RDI per cup of yogurt
-28% RDI per cup of low-fat buttermilk
8Lowfat Ricotta Cheese

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.
9Seeds (Squash and Pumpkin Seeds)
Squash and Pumpkin Seeds

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.
10 Eggs

#7: Fish (Tuna, cooked)
Leucine 100g Per 1/2 fillet (154g)Per 3oz (85g)
2293mg (84% RDI)3531mg (129% RDI)1949mg (71% RDI)
Other Fish High in Leucine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Wild Salmon (69%), Trout & Snapper (67%), Mackerel (66%), Salmon (65%), Halibut & Tilapia (64%), and Pollock (63%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.

#8: Seafood (Octopus, cooked)
Leucine 100g Per 3oz (85g)Per ounce (28g)
2099mg (77% RDI)1784mg (65% RDI)595mg (22% RDI)
Other Seafood High in Leucine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Lobster (65%), Shrimp (61%), Crab (58%), Clams (56%), Mussels (52%), and Crayfish (43%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.

#9: Peanuts
Leucine 100g Per cup (144g)Per ounce (28g)
1812mg (66% RDI)2609mg (96% RDI)507mg (19% RDI)
Peanut Butter is also High in Leucine (%RDI per cup): Smooth Peanut Butter (146%), and Chunky Peanut Butter (144%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.

#10: Beans (White, cooked)
Leucine 100g Per cup (179g)Per tablespoon (11g)
776mg (28% RDI)1389mg (51% RDI)85mg (3% RDI)
Other Beans High in Leucine (%RDI per cup, cooked): Cranberry, Pinto & Kidney Beans (48%), Yellow Beans, Navy Beans & Small White Beans (47%), Pink Beans & Black Beans (45%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27.
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