Do you want to get amino acids naturally? There are 22 total amino acids in the human body but two are very rare. These are the building blocks of protein so it’s important to consume enough of them through food and supplements. In recent years branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in particular have been trending. Dietary supplements are one effective way to boost amino acids. However, it’s always best to get amino acid naturally from foods and beverages. There are many options like chicken, fish, eggs, soybeans, and dairy. These foods also have other nutrients like healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, etc.
The main natural sources of protein and amino acids are food and supplements. However, there are some caveats about supplements to think about. They’re not truly natural” since they’re still made in factories. There’s a difference between drinking a glass of milk and making a whey protein shake.
The protein supplement market is worth about $5 billion (2017). However, one caveat people often miss is the term supplement suggests that these products should add to real food. If you have one protein shake as a pre/post-workout supplement that’s one thing. It’s another story if you’re getting a large amount of your daily protein from a tablet, powder, or liquid.
Are Dietary Supplements Natural?
The two main sources of amino acids are food and supplements. While there are various kinds of supplements the main function of all of them is to add to your protein intake from real food and beverages.
There are some supplements that are “natural” or “organic.” However, there are some question marks about how natural these products really care. For example, they could technically include organic ingredients. However, those ingredients are then processed before being added to a capsule, canister, bottle, etc.
It’s important to review the three main types of supplements to determine if they’re actually natural. First, there are tablets and capsules. These are usually taken with water and are very convenient.
You can get a good amount of amino acids from these products and especially tablets. The main benefit of gel capsules is the body digests/absorbs them faster so your body can use the contents faster. Both of these products are highly-processed and made in a factor so they’re easily not 100% natural.
Then there are protein/amino powders. These products have been popular for decades among athletes, weightlifters, and bodybuilders. The sources can be natural ones like beef, egg, soybeans, and milk. However, they’re still processed into a powder. There’s much more processing than grinding up flaxseeds or peanuts.
So this is another kind of product that’s much less natural than manufacturers claim. Besides the protein sources themselves being processed, protein powders often have lots of additives. This includes sugar and artificial colors/flavors/preservatives. These ingredients often offset any health benefits from the protein supplement.
A less-known type of amino acid supplements is liquid/coconut aminos. They’re made from sources like soybeans or coconut flower sap. These “organic” products also aren’t as healthy as real food. They can also be somewhat high in sodium, which can cause other possible health issues.
How to Get Amino Acids Naturally
Make sure to go with organic beef for fewer chemicals, and grass-fed for more omega-3s. Beef is high-protein meat that’s also loaded with other nutrients including a “master antioxidant.” Make sure to go with real beef rather than processed meat, which the World Health Organization (WHO) reports is cancer-causing.
The original version of corn was a small grass. Today it’s become one of the world’s most popular grains. You get over 15g of protein in one cup of corn. The superfood is also high in other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It can also be prepared in several different ways.
This superfood has been advertised as being “incredible, edible.” It’s also high in other nutrients besides protein like healthy fats and vitamins/minerals. Various studies show that eggs are more filling than high-carb breakfast foods like bread, bagels, and pancakes.
There are many to pick from but fatty fish are some of the best options in terms of omega-3s. They include options like tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel, and trout. Salmon can be somewhat pricey versus other high-amino acid foods but it’s a flexible food that can be grilled, baked, steamed, etc.
In terms of picking a “complete protein,” the best option is soybeans. This helps to explain why there are so many soy products on the market. They range from soy milk to soy meat, and from miso soup to tempeh cubes.
However, you can also get a high amount of amino acids from other beans. They include green, lima, kidney, navy, and pinto. You should consider soaking them before cooking so you can reduce the “lectin” proteins.
Beans are also high in other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Make sure to eat a wide variety so you’ll get more of different nutrients.
There are lots of options like:
Seeds are foods you should consider eating often like nuts and gains. They’re chock-full of protein and amino acids. Other nutrients from seeds include healthy fat, vitamins/minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. It’s best to eat different types so you’ll get different nutrients.
One serving provides around 17g of protein. This whole grain is also a good source of other nutrients like carbs, vitamins, and minerals. You can also get more nutrients from fruits, nuts, and seeds.
One key factor is the amount of processing the oats have undergone. The least processed option is “oat groats,” which is the original grain/cereal. Meanwhile, instant oatmeal with added sugar is the least popular store-bought version.
This is a popular holiday food but the protein content makes it a good option throughout the year. You can get around 13g of protein in one serving of boneless turkey. Stuffing and gravy help to take the popular poultry to the next level.
While beans usually get more attention, peas are another good source of protein. In fact, they’re high in amino acids, vitamins/minerals, and fiber. They also provide other benefits. Peas are widely-available, affordable, and can be added to several recipes.
This is another good source of amino acids. You’ll get more with whole grains. Refined grains involve removing one or two of the grain’s three parts. This reduces nutrients. Options include brown rice, whole wheat, corn, and buckwheat.
This is a class animal protein. If you want to reduce the fat content then go with skinless chicken. In fact, most of the chicken’s calories are from protein. You can get 26g of protein from one skinless chicken breast. You can also prepare chicken in several ways, which makes it a flexible option if you want to get amino acids naturally.