Valine is one of the most important amino acids to athletes.
It’s one of the 3 branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), important for building and repairing muscle cells, along with leucine and isoleucine.
There’s no set recommended daily amount to aim for with valine, but common values in literature are between 12 and 24 mg per kg of bodyweight.
So for a 77 kg (170 lb) person, that’s 924 – 1848 mg per day.
Athletes should aim for the higher end of this range, or even more.
This takes a bit of extra work and planning on a vegan diet.
The Top Vegan Valine Food Sources Per Serving
I gathered the amount of valine in over 120 vegan foods per typical serving. The table below are the top 30 valine sources in order from best to worst.
|Food||Serving||Energy (kcal)||Valine (g)|
|Buckwheat groats||1 cup||567||0.984|
|Pumpkin seeds||1 cup||285||0.954|
|Sunflower seeds||0.5 cup||409||0.92|
|Navy beans||1 cup||255||0.917|
|Adzuki beans||1 cup||294||0.89|
|Kidney beans||1 cup||225||0.804|
|Black beans||1 cup||227||0.798|
|Pistachio nuts||0.5 cup||344||0.768|
|Mung bean||1 cup||212||0.735|
|Lima beans||1 cup||209||0.723|
|Sesame seeds||0.5 cup||413||0.713|
|Fava bean||1 cup||187||0.575|
|Rye grain||1 cup||571||0.536|
|Hemp seeds||3 tbsp||166||0.533|
|Swiss chard||10 leafs||91||0.528|
|Brazil nut||0.5 cup||438||0.505|
|Pine nuts||0.5 cup||454||0.464|
|White potato||1 large||255||0.31|
Legumes are a great source of many amino acids, so it’s no surprise that several beans are near the top of the list, as well as lentils and peanuts.
Oats have quite a bit of BCAAs, the only potential downside is that they also have a lot of carbohydrates and calories in general.
The Top Vegan Valine Foods Per 100 Calories
If you’re watching your calories, the following table will be more useful.
It has the top 30 foods in terms of valine per 100 calories.
|Food||Serving||Energy (kcal)||Valine (g)||Valine (g) per 100 calories|
|Seaweed (dried)||1 tbsp||20||0.246||1.23|
|Water spinach||1 cup||11||0.076||0.6909090909|
|Swiss chard||10 leafs||91||0.528||0.5802197802|
|Bamboo shoot||1 shoot||17||0.089||0.5235294118|
|Bok choy||1 cup||9||0.046||0.5111111111|
|Lettuce (red leaf)||0.5 head||20||0.074||0.37|
|Navy beans||1 cup||255||0.917||0.3596078431|
|Kidney beans||1 cup||225||0.804||0.3573333333|
|Black beans||1 cup||227||0.798||0.3515418502|
|Mung bean||1 cup||212||0.735||0.3466981132|
|Lima beans||1 cup||209||0.723||0.3459330144|
|Pumpkin seeds||1 cup||285||0.954||0.3347368421|
|Brussels sprouts||1 cup||56||0.183||0.3267857143|
|Hemp seeds||3 tbsp||166||0.533||0.3210843373|
|Turnip greens||1 cup||18||0.056||0.3111111111|
|Fava bean||1 cup||187||0.575||0.307486631|
|Adzuki beans||1 cup||294||0.89||0.3027210884|
|Green bean||10 beans||17||0.05||0.2941176471|
The legumes drop to the middle of the list, while several vegetables rise to the top 10.
Leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, rapini, and watercress are all good sources of valine, with very few calories. The issue is that you have to eat several servings in order to meet your RDA with them alone.
Still, it’s a good idea to mix in those top vegetables with legumes to maximize your valine while minimizing your overall caloric intake.
Best Overall Sources of Valine
Just to recap which foods you should be focusing on if you’d like to get more valine in your vegan diet:
- Grains like oats and rye – Both are near the top of the list when it comes to valine per 100 grams.
- Seeds – Most seeds have a lot of valine, and they’re also a great source of several vitamins and minerals like iron.
- Beans – With a high amount of protein and valine, beans should be a staple of most vegans.
- Leafy greens – While leafy greens won’t give you a ton of protein, they do have a decent amount per calorie and can contribute some valine to your diet.
Next, you might be interested in my list of the top vegan BCAA sources.