Have you ever wondered what are amino acids and what do they do? Proteins are one of the three macronutrients in the human body along with carbs and fats. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. So, proteins cannot exist without aminos. They’re organic compounds that humans need for different functions: Fun Fact: The human body has 20 amino acids and it gets about half of them through food. You can get amino acids in different ways. The best source of nutrients is always food and drinks. Today there are also many amino supplements on the market that contain different ones.
When you consume protein the body then breaks it down into amino acids. The body can then use it for different functions like building lean muscle mass and controlling the immune system. That’s why it’s important to consume enough protein every day. Fun Fact: People need about 0.35 pounds of protein every day for each pound of body weight. This will help to make sure you’re getting all the aminos you need. The problem in the modern world isn’t protein but instead eating “good” protein. This helps to make sure you’re getting all the aminos required for your body to function properly.
What Are Amino Acids Building?
Before talking about amino acids it’s critical to talk about proteins since amino acids make proteins. These are big molecules that the human body requires to work properly. It’s one of the three macronutrients or “macros” that also include carbs and fats.
Proteins have amino acid strings that create chains. The most well-known function of protein is for the structure/function of muscles. However, it’s also needed for other things like bones and fixing damaged tissue. You can get protein from different foods like meat, dairy, and soybeans.
Today many people consume too much protein. For example, in the USA the average protein consumption is 2x than the recommended amount. One of the keys when consuming protein is to make sure you’re getting it from good protein instead of mystery meat.
Most of the best protein sources are from animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy. However, you can also get them from plan-based sources. For example, quinoa grains, chia seeds, and soybeans are both “complete proteins.”
These are proteins that contain all the amino acids people have to get from food. You don’t have to eat these proteins all the time. However, it’s tougher to get all the amino acids you need from incomplete proteins. For example, 3 Bean Salad is a good option because you’ll get different aminos from the green beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans.
Protein has many functions related to skin, bones, and tissue. For example, protein can help to improve your hair health. It’s good to consume protein from different sources to get different benefits.
People often focus on the importance of protein for the body. However, it’s also critical for the brain including signals between the brain and body. For example, protein is linked to hormones that tell you that you’re full after eating.
What Are Amino Acids and What Do They Do?
Amino acids are needed to make protein in the human body. They’re also involved in other functions like healing wounds. So, if you’ve experienced an injury you should consider boosting your protein intake. Protein can help to make hair, nails, skin, muscles, and bones healthy. That’s by promoting healthy tissue.
Protein is also important in the process of metabolism. We often hear about the importance of increasing metabolism to lose weight. Protein has a critical role in metabolism. So, this is another reason to make sure you’re consuming good sources of protein/aminos.
There are two main kinds of amino acids. There are essential amino acids (EAAs) that you must get from foods and supplements. Some excellent sources include fish, chicken, eggs, soybeans, and milk. There are 9 EAAs. Some foods are “complete proteins” so they include all 9 EAAs and enough of the stuff.
There are also non-essential amino acids (NEAAs). You don’t have to consume them from foods since the body produces them. There are 11 of these. While the body makes them there are cases when it doesn’t make enough of the NEAAs. They include the normal aging process and health conditions that affect your body’s production of certain aminos.
If you want to get all the aminos you need it’s important to get protein/aminos from different food sources. For example, whey protein powders are made from milk proteins and have all the 9 aminos we need in our daily diets.
While NEAAs are produced by the body you can still get them from food sources. So, if you’re not getting enough of certain NEAAs you could boost your intake of certain foods that contain them.
One of the options for aminos is supplements. For example, you can get a group of aminos called BCAAs in some supplements. Food is always a better source but over-the-counter (OTC) supplements are another option.
Plant-Based Complete Proteins
The most well-known complete proteins are meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. However, you can also get from other foods like:
There’s a reason this is one of the most popular foods among vegetarians/vegans. It has all 9 essential amino acids. So, if you don’t consume animal products it’s a good option. You can find soy in many products include soy burgers that are quite similar to the taste/texture of beef. There are also other products available like soy milk, which has many of the same nutrients as cow’s milk.
2. Chia seeds
This is one of the most versatile seeds to add to your diet. You get all your EAAs in one food. It can be added to stuff like salads, cereals, smoothies, etc. Besides protein, they’re also loaded with other nutrients.
Another plus of chia seeds is they provide extra texture to your food. You can even swap them in to replace wheat flour. Chia flour is lower in carbs and provides more texture. It’s a good option if you’re on a gluten-free diet.
The name makes it seem that this grain is related to wheat. It’s not a type of wheat. It’s related to rhubarb, which is interesting. You can find many varieties including Japanese soba. Buckwheat flour is also available as a substitute for wheat flour.
Studies show that buckwheat can provide many health benefits. They include better blood circulation, lower blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol. These benefits can help to prevent serious diseases like type-2diabetes and heart disease.
This is a grain/seed that’s less known than others like wheat and barley. However, it’s also a superfood since it contains all 9 EAAs. This seed is very flexible and can be used for different functions like cereal, and smoothies after learning what are amino acids and what do they do.