The demands of modern society can be daunting. With the voluminous tasks assigned to us and the ever-changing needs of the family, people can find it hard to maintain a work-life balance. This is especially true in terms of health as these challenges can derail some of the health goals set by the same individuals. Individuals are advised to regularly exercise and maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet. Some of these diets may require people to go on a low-carb diet, low- fat diet, or even a no-sugar diet. There are others still that will recommend the intake of certain supplements to enhance an individual’s overall wellness. One such supplement is known as Amino acids. But what can amino acids do for the human body and what are some of the best food sources for the said compounds? In this article, let us look at what amino acids are, why essential amino acids are important, and what the best food sources are for amino acids particularly those that are ideal for health such as food items that are plant-based.
Amino Acids in Food Items: Why are They Critical?
Proteins are very important nutrients in terms of the body’s overall health. In fact, a little bit of protein can already do wonders for individuals. The quality and amount of protein we take in can affect a number of different variables such as nail health, skin health, hair health, and how strong a body is. These are all possible because of the amino acids contained in the said body’s overall proteins. Aside from physical health and well-being, these amino acids in proteins can also contribute to the proper functioning of the neurotransmitters, and increased levels of energy.
Fortunately, all kinds of food items contain a certain amount of protein. For those considering plant-based protein, it has been confirmed that plant-based food items can provide individuals with various essential amino acids contrary to the theory that only animal-based food items can provide the needed amino acids or proteins. Amino acids that are essential are necessary for the body’s biological functions and serve as proteins’ building blocks. They also need to be obtained via food consumption. As such, if not consumed in appropriate quantities, our bodies will not be able to acquire the recommended daily intake of the said amino acids. While milk, pork, eggs, chicken, beef, and steak do provide the needed amino acids, plant-based food items can also give us the amino acids we need.
Best Food Sources of Amino Acids
Out of the 20 Amino acids, 11 are non-essential while nine (9) are essential. Those that are essential need to be obtained through the food items consumed and as stated earlier, some of the most common food items to get your amino acids from include milk, pork, eggs, chicken, beef, and steak. Listed below, however, are some of the food items that are considered the best sources of Amino Acids:
People associate lean meat and other types of meat to be the main source of their proteins and as such, of their amino acids. And rightfully so as red meat is a food item that contains the most elevated levels of proteins. Meats that have higher levels of fats can have reduced protein per grams.
- Lean beef cuts can provide the individual with about 31g of protein for every 3oz.
- Pork Sirloin Roast and ham can give a protein of around 28g per serving of 3oz while pork chops have around 21g for every serving amounting to 3oz.
Seafood and poultry
People can eat more than just meat to get their amino acid and protein requirements. A serving of chicken or at a breast of turkey of at least 3oz contains around 28g of protein. The same amount of fatty fish such as salmon and tuna contains around 22g.
There are also other types of fish that are good sources of proteins, although they are slightly lower compared to both salmon and tuna. These include flounder, sole, cod, and tilapia.
Dairy and eggs
People can also obtain an increased amount of critical amino acids from different dairy food items and from eggs. For dairy products, it is best to go for nonfat or low-fat options. These provide the best and highest levels of proteins per grams for each calorie.
- onAn ounce of n-fat mozzarella cheese contains 9g of protein
- Low fat swiss-cheese has 8g
- Parmesan cheese can provide around 10g of protein
- 1 cup of yogurt has 14g
- A large size egg can provide 6g of protein
Plant-based Protein Sources
This is perfect for those who want to go vegan or for those who want to observe a vegetarian diet. The theory that only meat products can provide the best amounts of protein is false. Plant-based food sources can give enough amino acids and proteins.
Examples of complete proteins are soy and quinoa. These can give individuals all of the essential amino acids the body needs. A serving of cooked quinoa (about a cup) contains around eight (8) grams while a serving of soy or tofu (around 3 ounces) and a single cup of soybeans can provide proteins in the amount of 29 grams. Nuts and beans may not contain all the essential amino acids but they still can provide significant protein levels when consumed.