Valine is one of the nine essential amino acids that your body requires for healthy cell and organ functioning. As an essential amino acid, valine can only be obtained through food sources, as your body isn't capable of synthesizing the amino acid on its own. The World Health Organization recommends that you ingest 26 mg of valine for every kilogram of body weight. Identifying foods rich in valine will ensure that you are maintaining your recommended daily intake.
Soy and soy-derived products have particularly high concentrations of valine, as well as several other amino acids that contribute to their high protein content. Edamame, or immature soybeans that can be eaten after they've been steamed, contain 251 mg of valine in a 1/2 cup serving. The 9 g of protein in one cup of soy milk include 345 mg from valine, while a 1/2 cup serving of tofu delivers 573 mg of valine. Soy-based products that use soy milk as a base, such as soy yogurt and ice cream, are also rich sources of valine.
Beans and Legumes
Most beans contain more than 300 mg of valine in a 1/2 cup serving, though some varieties offer even higher numbers. Lentils provide one of the highest sources at 444 mg per serving, though kidney beans are also a significant source that delivers 402 mg in each 1/2 cup portion. Both black beans and garbanzo beans are also high in valine, providing 399 mg and 305 mg respectively. Peanuts and peanut products are also rich in valine. A standard 2 tbsp. portion of peanut butter provides 339 mg. Regular roasted peanuts obtain 478 mg of their 11 g of protein fro valine chains.
Milk and dairy products obtain substantial portions of their total protein content from valine. One cup of milk provides 529 mg of valine, and a single egg provides 384 mg of valine. A variety of cheese products are also high in valine, though cottage cheese is particularly noteworthy for its valine content. A one cup serving of dry cottage cheese provides 2,500 mg of valine; the more standard creamed cottage cheese is also high in valine, with approximately 1,769 mg per cup.
Meat, Fish and Poultry
Animal products, which are naturally high in protein, are also high in valine. In general, poultry contains the highest concentration of valine, ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 mg of valine per pound of meat. A 3 oz. portion of chicken provides 537 mg of valine, while the same serving of quail provides 867 mg. Beef and other red meats are also high in valine. A 3 oz. serving of beef provides 1,028 mg of valine. Tuna is also high in valine, delivering 1,117 mg in every 3 oz. portion.
Vegetables and Fruits
Due to their comparatively low protein content, most fruits and vegetables are not significant sources of dietary valine. However, some vegetables and fruits have much higher concentrations than others. For example, a medium potato provides 244 mg of valine and a cup of broccoli provides 212 mg of valine, while a tomato only offers 28 mg. Fruits are generally not high sources of valine, though bananas and oranges provide some of the highest concentrations with about 57 and 55 mg per serving, respectively.
- World Health Organization; Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition; 2007
- VeganHealth.org: Protein
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Amino Acid Content of Foods and Biological Data on Proteins; Food Policy and Food Science Service Nutrition Division; 1981
- Florida State University: Molecular Expressions: Amico Acids Collection: Valine
- PubChem: Valine