You probably may have heard of how beneficial amino acids are in the body, whether it be the essential or nonessential ones. The body can indeed make it’s amino no matter what we do, but this ability of the human body is only limited to producing the nonessential amino acids. So how are we gonna be able to provide our bodies with the important and essential amino acids? We get them from foods high in amino acids and other possible sources such as different kinds of amino acid supplements. But if you want to get them in their more natural state wherein they are still contained in food sources, you are in the right place.
In this article, we will be able to delve deeper into the importance of amino acids in the body. Also, we will be able to know which specific foods are rich in amino acids so we can get the amino acids and nutrients we desire to achieve a healthier body.
Why Essential Amino Acids Are ‘Essential’?
The difference between the two amino acids which are essential and nonessential is somehow easy to distinguish even by basing it on their names. Nonessential amino acids are called nonessential. They are naturally occurring in the body, making them a normal occurrence that is produced every day because they are already a part of the usual process that happens in the body – making them nonessential. However, there are still some foods out there that also contain numbers of nonessential amino acids. This can be helpful for people who tend to experience a few problems with their amino acid production due to deficiency, or the additional amounts may also be beneficial even for people with normal amino acid counts.
For the essential amino acids, that as important as the nonessential ones but we rely on other sources to get the required amounts that our bodies need. Without essential amino acids, we may encounter complications that we may not want to experience in the first place. The best thing to do? Treat the essential amino acids with much importance and let our bodies with the number of amino acids they deserve.
Without the essential amino acids, the body will suffer in a lot of ways, including problems with specific body functions. Also, the amount of amino acid that we can get from our daily diets may be the basis on how our bodies will be able to maintain exceptional health. For the essential amino acids, there are 9 of them and they must be obtained from our diet. Luckily, there are a lot of foods that are considered to be amino acid-rich and most of them are surprisingly those that we normally eat like meat, eggs, some dairy products, and a lot more.
One of the most important functions of amino acids is based more on their job as the building block for proteins. Since the body is composed of several proteins, it must have enough amino acids all the time. Additionally, the other significance of amino acids applies to bodily functions such as being one of the main contributors to the growth and development of muscles, helping in the occurrence of important chemical reactions, transporting nutrients throughout different parts of the body, preventing the development of certain illnesses, and a lot more.
The Nine Essential Amino Acids Where To Find Them
Out of all the twenty amino acids, only nine of them are considered to be essential, and the remaining eleven are nonessential and are already available in the body. The nine essential amino acids are lysine, histidine, threonine, methionine, the BCAAs leucine, isoleucine, and valine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan. Let’s try to familiarize ourselves with each of the nine very important amino acids and then we will also get to know which foods have abundant amounts of these essentials.
When it comes to boosting the muscles, lysine seems to be the most active amino acid for this specific function. Lysine is often made into supplements because of how it is known to promote muscle strength and help build a leaner body mass. Other functions of lysine are it helps maintain bone strength, it can contribute to injury and surgery recovery, and it also helps regulate the hormones, enzymes, and some antibodies.
Foods rich in lysine: poultry meat and eggs, soy and other soy products, black beans, pumpkin seeds, and quinoa
While lysine focuses more on the muscles and the bones, histidine is more on the production of blood cells and the repair of tissues. Another function of histidine is that it can provide and help maintain the nerve cells’ protective covering known as the myelin sheath.
You can try these for more histidine: animal-based foods like poultry, meat, and fish, seeds, nuts, and whole-grain food products
If you want healthier skin and teeth, maybe you will like stocking up on your threonine consumption. The specific part of the teeth and skin that this amino acid handle is the enamel (teeth) and the collagen and elastin (skin). Additionally, it contributes to the metabolism of fats in the body that makes it helpful for people suffering from indigestion.
Threonine is abundant in the following foods: wheat germ and cottage cheese.
This amino acid usually works hand in hand with the nonessential amino acid known as cysteine when it comes to the health of the skin and the hair. Also, it provides the strength needed by the nails to prevent brittleness. It is helpful in mineral absorption at the same time, specifically the kinds of zinc and selenium. Enough methionine can also aid in getting rid of heavy metals like mercury and lead.
Eat these foods that are rich in methionine: eggs and plant-based food like nuts, seeds, and grains.
Known to be one of the three BCAAs, valine is capable of providing the brain with boosted health; thus we achieve a healthy mental focus and muscle coordination. Also, just like how BCAAs work, it is made into supplements for an increase in muscle growth.
Valine-rich foods are: vegetables and soy, whole grains, mushrooms, cheese, and peanuts.
Another BCAA, isoleucine may be considered as the second most important branch-chained amino acid. It has a lot of functions for the body and some of them are regulation of blood sugar, production of hormones, faster recovery of wounds, and immunity.
Get your doses of isoleucine from poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products like cheese, some nuts, seeds, and lentils.
Leucine is well-known for its ability to help in major muscle and bone growth and repair. Also, it can aid in the regulation of blood sugar, treatment and healing of wounds, and production of necessary hormones for growth.
There are lots of leucine from foods like soy, beans and legumes, and dairy food products.
The role of phenylalanine in the body is that it acts as a support for other amino acids. Similarly, proteins and enzymes are also aided by this essential amino acid.
These foods can provide you with phenylalanine: animal-based foods like meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products; also soy, beans, and nuts.
Tryptophan is an important ingredient that is used by the body to produce important neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin. Through these neurotransmitters, the body can relax and get proper sleep during the night.
Tryptophan abundant foods are chicken and turkey; and other high protein foods like cottage cheese and wheat germ.