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10 Foods High In Amino Acids

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Amino acids are organic compounds required by the human body to perform various functions. For example, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. And no one could deny the importance of protein in our daily diet.

Long chains of amino acids form proteins. Besides being the building blocks of proteins, amino acids perform other functions, such as controlling muscle growth, repairing and improving brain health, weight management, and energy synthesis.

The human body needs 20 amino acids to function correctly and create protein out of them. These are classified under three categories: essential amino acids, non-essential amino acids, and conditional amino acids.

Nine amino acids are classified under essential amino acids, including histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

An average human body can make non-essential amino acids, while one must try to obtain essential amino acids from foods.

Hence, there are high chances that if one consumes a balanced diet, they will be getting most of the amino acid benefits.

Some of the best sources of amino acids include eggs, meat, and some plant-based foods like soybean.

Foods High In Amino Acids

List Of Foods High In Amino Acids

  1. Eggs

    All the 20 essential amino acids have different functions to perform. Eggs contain each of the 20 essential amino acids. Eggs are especially high in lysine, histidine, leucine, valine, and tryptophan.

    Research[1] has shown that the total amino acid content in a dry egg yolk is 10 milligrams per gram.

    This study also shows that the eggs produced by chickens who are pastured or the ones who are allowed to roam freely outdoors and graze on seeds, insects, and grass have relatively higher omega-3s and vitamin D.

    Other than this, eggs are also a great source of choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They can prove to be a healthy and nutritious addition to your breakfast.

  2. Quinoa

    Quinoa is one of the best sources of amino acids. It is regarded as the most nutritious seed[2] available on earth. A detailed study has shown that 100 grams of quinoa seeds contain 87.11 milligrams of total essential amino acids.

    Quinoa also contains all the essential amino acids like eggs. Quinoa is gluten-free which may help with cholesterol and high blood sugar levels.

    It is also rich in antioxidants and is also high in fiber contents. In addition to being a rich source of amino acids, quinoa is also rich in starchy carbohydrates, dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron along with stress and anxiety-reducing properties.

    Quinoa can easily be included in your diet in ground form or you may mix it with lentils, ground pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, and onions.

  3. Cottage cheese

    This study suggests[3] that cottage cheese is another rich source of amino acids. Cottage cheese contains threonine and tryptophan and other essential amino acids as well.

    Another study proves that 100 grams of cottage cheese contain 11 grams of proteins which is 25 percent of the daily requirement of proteins.

    Cotton cheese is delicious and is a great option for vegetarians to fulfill the daily requirement of amino acids. In addition to amino acids, cottage cheese also contains calcium, vitamin B, and minerals like calcium, selenium, and phosphorus.

  4. Fish

    Fishes are known for being rich in nutrients. It is an excellent source[4] of amino acids. Researchers have found that cold water fishes are rich in essential amino acids such as lysine and aspartic acid.

    Marine fishes are rich in leucine, small indigenous fishes are rich in histidine, and craps and catfishes are rich in glutamic acid and glycine.

    Fish varieties like salmon, tuna, Katla, rohu, and surmai are also high in amino acids. In addition to this, sardine is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which makes it heart friendly.

  5. Mushrooms

    This article[5] states that mushrooms contain a total of 17 amino acids, including all the essential amino acids, mushrooms are rich in amino acids such as histidine, leucine isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

    Oyster mushroom species such as Pleurotus ostreaus and P. Sajor-Caju are especially known to be rich in essential amino acids.

    Other than this, mushrooms also have other benefits such as, it may lower blood pressure, boosting the immune system, might promote weight loss, and being highly nutritious.

    Mushrooms are also a great source of minerals such as selenium, copper, thiamin, magnesium, and phosphorus.

  6. Poultry Products

    Poultry products are a rich source of amino acids. Poultry products contain high amounts[6] of tryptophan which is an essential amino acid.

    Tryptophan is essential for the absorption of vitamin B. Tryptophan may also promote cognitive health, skin health, and digestion.

    It also helps in the secretion of serotonin which is used as an antidepressant. Eating poultry products, as it contains tryptophan, lifts your mood and keeps you relaxed.

    In addition to this, it also contains zinc, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 and is also low in cholesterol.

  7. Beans, Soybeans, And Legumes

    Beans and legumes such as peas, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, peanuts, cooked kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans & edamame are excellent sources of amino acids.

    Legumes contain[7] amino acids such as lysine and methionine. Soybeans are especially known for being rich in proteins and amino acids.

    It also promotes the secretion of growth hormone which may aid in the growth and development of children.

    Soybean contains phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, tryptophan, and lysine as stated by this article[8]. Beans, legumes, and soybeans can easily be included in your diet as a salad.

  8. Dairy Products

    Dairy products are essential for bone health. They have all 9 essential amino acids and hence are considered complete proteins. Low-fat dairy products and especially greek yogurt are high in amino acids.

    It is considered a traditional powerhouse. Dairy products are low in carbs and are rich in proteins, as per the study[9].

    They also contain calcium, promote digestive health, may promote bone health, and dental health, might promote weight management, and improve overall health as well.

    Milk, yogurt, and other dairy products are delicious and can easily be included in the diet in various forms. As per this study[10], yogurt serves around 37 percent of the daily protein requirements of women and 30 percent of women.

    Yogurt also contains several good bacteria which may also promote digestive health.

  9. Turkey

    Turkey is highly nutritious. According to this study, turkey contains tryptophan which has multiple functions. The body uses tryptophan to make melatonin and serotonin.

    The liver also uses tryptophan to produce niacin which is a B vitamin and is needed in the production of DNA. It is also necessary for bone health, and skin and digestive health.

    This study[11] found that 100 grams of proteins contain 27.4 grams of proteins. In addition to this, turkey is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin E, and iron.

    Turkey is low in fats and might support heart health which makes it a nutritious food to be added to your diet.

  10. Vegetables

    Vegetables are packed with multiple benefits. Vegetables contain essential amino acids such as methionine, valine, histidine, threonine, and tryptophan.

    Some of the vegetables known to be high[12] in amino acids are mushrooms, cauliflower, and celery. They also contain a compound known as phenylalanine which may help the thyroid gland in hormone synthesis.

    Hence, vegetables may help to regulate metabolic activities in the body such as weight loss or gain, heartbeat regulation, and blood glucose levels management.

    Eating vegetables is necessary not only to obtain amino acids but also to provide other vitamins and minerals as well to the body. Vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals including other nutrients such as antioxidants and fiber.

    In addition to this, most vegetables are low in fat and high in vitamin A and vitamin C, which makes them one of the best inclusions in your daily diet. Vegetables can also be molded in various recipes and give variety to your taste.

Conclusion

Amino acids are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Amino acids may promote brain health, and prevents depression as it includes tryptophan which helps in the production of serotonin, responsible for uplifting the mood of an individual.

A sports person needs amino acids to release energy. Athletes use leucine, isoleucine, and valine supplements to enhance their performance.

Amino acids also promote growth. Amino acids combine to form proteins which are essential for body growth and development.

It might promote weight loss, regulate blood pressure, may help boost memory, and may help to regulate the immune system. We can easily obtain the 9 essential amino acids by incorporating amino acid-rich foods into our diet.

12 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Youssef A. Attia, Mohammed A. Al-Harthi, Mohamed A. Korish, et al. Protein and Amino Acid Content in Four Brands of Commercial Table Eggs in Retail Markets in Relation to Human Requirements Animals (Basel). 2020 Mar; 10(3): 406.Published online 2020 Mar 1. doi: 10.3390/ani10030406
  2. Evan B. Craine and Kevin M. Murphy Seed Composition and Amino Acid Profiles for Quinoa Grown in Washington State Front Nutr. 2020; 7: 126.Published online 2020 Aug 12. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.00126
  3. Hanna Górska-Warsewicz, Wacław Laskowski, Olena Kulykovets, et al. Food Products as Sources of Protein and Amino Acids—The Case of Poland Nutrients. 2018 Dec; 10(12): 1977.Published online 2018 Dec 13. doi: 10.3390/nu10121977
  4. Bimal Mohanty, Arabinda Mahanty, Satabdi Ganguly, et al. Amino Acid Compositions of 27 Food Fishes and Their Importance in Clinical Nutrition J Amino Acids. 2014; 2014: 269797.Published online 2014 Oct 14. doi: 10.1155/2014/269797
  5. Zakia Bano, K. S. Srinivasan, and H. C. Srivastava Amino Acid Composition of the Protein from a Mushroom (Pleurotus sp.) Appl Microbiol. 1963 May; 11(3): 184–187.doi: 10.1128/am.11.3.184-187.1963
  6. Mahmoud Alagawany, Shaaban S. Elnesr, Mayada R. Farag, et al. Nutritional significance of amino acids, vitamins and minerals as nutraceuticals in poultry production and health – a comprehensive review Vet Q. 2021; 41(1): 1–29.Published online 2020 Dec 13. doi: 10.1080/01652176.2020.1857887
  7. Marielle Margier, Stéphane Georgé, Noureddine Hafnaoui, et al. Nutritional Composition and Bioactive Content of Legumes: Characterization of Pulses Frequently Consumed in France and Effect of the Cooking Method Nutrients. 2018 Nov; 10(11): 1668.Published online 2018 Nov 4. doi: 10.3390/nu10111668
  8. Wanda Kudełka, Małgorzata Kowalska, and Marzena Popis Quality of Soybean Products in Terms of Essential Amino Acids Composition Molecules. 2021 Aug; 26(16): 5071.Published online 2021 Aug 21. doi: 10.3390/molecules26165071
  9. Hanna Górska-Warsewicz, Krystyna Rejman, Wacław Laskowski, et al. Milk and Dairy Products and Their Nutritional Contribution to the Average Polish Diet Nutrients. 2019 Aug; 11(8): 1771.Published online 2019 Aug 1. doi: 10.3390/nu11081771
  10. A Germani, R Luneia, F Nigro et al. The yogurt amino acid profile’s variation during the shelf-lifeAnn Ig. May-Jun 2014;26(3):205-12. doi: 10.7416/ai.2014.1978. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24998211/
  11. R L Atkinson, K K Krueger, J W Bradley, et al. Amino acid supplementation of low protein turkey starting rations Poult Sci. 1976 Jul;55(4):1572-5. doi: 10.3382/ps.0551572. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/951382/
  12. Kate A Marsh, Elizabeth A Munn, Surinder K Baines Protein and vegetarian diets Med J Aust. 2013 Aug 19;199(S4):S7-S10. doi: 10.5694/mja11.11492. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25369930/

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