Do you know which the essential amino acids are?
As you know, different foods provide us with different components that are vital for making our bodies work properly. Among them are amino acids, organic molecules which combine to form proteins and are vital for our bodies. In fact, along with proteins they are the fundamental building blocks of life.
They are divided into ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’. The first are those that the body cannot make and needs to get from food. We’ll now see which they are and what they’re used for.
What are essential amino acids for?
They are in charge of transporting nutrients to the cells of the body as well as storing these nutrients such as water, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
It is essential to eat foods containing these molecules on a daily basis. These substances help the body to absorb nutrients, repair tissues and contribute to the body’s development.
Which are the essential amino acids?
There are eight: histidine, threonine, lysine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, methionine, tryptophan and phenylalanine. Next we’ll look at where to find each one and their properties:
- Histidine is found in meat, fish, milk and dairy products. It enables the protein synthesis necessary for muscle growth and helps to reduce fatigue.
- Threonine can be got from proteins. It’s found in wheat, brown rice and peanuts, among other foods. It also strengthens the defences.
- Lysine is found in abundance in Gramineae cereals. Lysine is found in foods such as pulses (lentils), brewer’s yeast and nuts. Other foods containing lysine include asparagus, spinach and beans.
- Valine is another amino acid that can be obtained from common house foods. It is found in abundance in chocolate, peach pits and red fruits such as currents.
- Methionine is found in large quantities in sesame seeds, fish and meat, small amounts can also be found in fruits and vegetables.
- Tryptophan this essential amino acids is ubiquitous in protein rich foods like eggs, milk, wholegrain cereals, chocolate and oats. It’s also found in sunflower seeds, bananas, peanuts, red meat, fish, chicken and almonds, to mention a few.
- Phenylalanine can be found in foods rich in animal proteins such as red meat as well as fish, eggs and dairy products. What’s more, phenylalanine is also found in sources vegetable proteins such as asparagus, peanuts, soya, sweet vegetables, pulses like chickpeas and lentils.
These molecules form a fundamental part of a healthy diet and can be obtained from various sources. This makes it easier to incorporate them into your diet and instantly reap the benefits.
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