Amino acids are the building blocks for the protein your body needs, but they do so much more. Non-essential amino acids are the ones your system produces on its own. There are, however, nine essential forms that the body is unable to make for itself, which means that you have to obtain them from other sources. All of the amino acids are responsible for various functions your body requires to be healthy, and the best way to get them is through the food you eat.
Understanding the benefits of the different amino acids can also help you to consume foods that are particularly high in a specific one when you have a health concern that you are trying to address naturally. Eating lysine rich foods, for instance, can give your body the extra boost it needs to combat anxiety or improve your gut health.
What’s So Important About Essential Amino Acids?
Each of the essential amino acids serves a role in the proper functioning of your neurobiological system.
- Histidineis vital to the functioning of your immune system, sleep cycles, digestion and sexual function
- Isoleucineassists in immune system function and plays a role in regulating your energy and supporting muscle metabolism.
- Leucinesynthesizes protein, creates growth hormones and helps with blood sugar regulation.
- Lysineis responsible for protein synthesis, the production of enzymes and hormones and the absorption of calcium.
- Methionineis crucial to the absorption of selenium and zinc and promotes tissue growth and a healthy metabolism.
- Phenylalanineis important in the production of other amino acids and is vital to the structure of enzymes and proteins.
- Threoninecontributes to the immune system, skin and connective tissue health and fat metabolism.
- Tryptophanhelps with nitrogen balance and contributes to your body’s production of serotonin.
- Valineassists with the production of energy in your body and contributes to muscle growth and reparations.
How Do I Get All 9 Essential Amino Acids?
You have probably heard a lot about the need to consume protein, and you do. Protein is necessary for your body to be able to build muscle and repair tissues, as well as for the transport of nutrients. Complete proteins have the benefit of containing all nine essential amino acids, but you can consume a variety of foods that will allow you to meet your daily requirements for protein and amino acids.
Complete proteins can be found in meat and poultry, as well as sources of whole soy such as tempeh, tofu and edamame. Foods like legumes, whole grains and nuts have some of the essentials, but they do not contain all of them. For those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, eating a diverse array of plant-based protein throughout your day is enough to ensure your consumption of all essential amino acids is met. It is not necessary to consume all nine at a single meal.
Your body needs amino acids to properly function. Each one plays a vital role in maintaining physical and mental health. Eating a diverse diet rich in amino acids will guarantee you reap the benefits from these powerful organic compounds.