Ten Foods Rich in Essential Amino Acids

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are essential nutrients that are required for good health and life. These amino acids are also known as macronutrients. They combine to make proteins. The building blocks of life are proteins and amino acids.

Long-chain molecules made up of amino acids are also known as proteins. Protein is found in every part of your body, including muscles, bones and skin. They also produce enzymes responsible for important chemical reactions within the body.

The body does not store amino acids, so it creates them from scratch or borrows from others. There are over 20 amino acids. They can be divided into three categories:

  • Essential amino acids
  • Nonessential amino acids
  • Conditional amino acids

The body cannot make essential amino acids from scratch. These are:

  • Histidine
  • Lysine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine
  • Threonine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine

Your body cannot make conditional and nonessential amino acids if you are an adult. Children can’t make enough conditional amino acids to meet their nutritional needs.

Amino acids have many benefits.

For life, amino acids are essential. Amino acids are required by the body to make protein in your skin, hair, muscles, organs and tissues, and energy. It is important to:

  • Develop muscle
  • Grow
  • Reduce food
  • Repair tissues
  • Balance nitrogen in your body
  • You can regulate your appetite
  • Blood pressure should be controlled
  • Brain chemicals can be built
  • The immune system should be controlled

Amino acids play an important role in many other functions and processes within the body.

Foods high in essential amino acids

diet high in protein can provide essential amino acids. These amino acids are found in both animal and plant foods.

Some foods contain complete proteins. These foods contain all 20 types or more of amino acids. Some foods may contain insufficient proteins or lack one of the nine essential amino acids.

Complete proteins and all amino acids in animal and plant food include:

  • Red meat
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Quinoa
  • Chia seeds
  • Tofu

Some amino acids are found in plant foods, such as:

  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

How much protein do we need?

  • The recommended daily allowance for protein in the United States is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight per day or approximately 7g for every 20 lbs. If you are 140 lbs, you should consume 50 grams of protein per day.
  • The majority of healthy people who live and work in developed countries get enough protein in their food. Food insecurity means that millions, particularly children, don’t get enough protein.
  • You can get all the amino acids you need by eating a wide variety of amino-rich foods throughout the day. To reach the recommended daily intake, people who don’t eat animal products may need to consume more plant foods with amino acids.

Outlook and risks

  • For your body to function properly, protein is essential. As children grow, they need more protein. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers need to consume good levels of protein.

There are risks of not getting enough protein.

  • People living with food insecurity might have trouble getting enough protein or essential amino acids. A lack of animal products may put people at risk. Malnutrition and too little protein can cause:
    • Poor growth
    • Loss of muscle mass
    • Weakened heart
    • A weakening respiratory system
    • Immunity decreases
  • Death can result from severe malnutrition or a protein deficiency.

Certain types of protein can pose risks.

  • Consuming high quantities of processed or red meats or eating these foods frequently can lead to:
    • Heart disease
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Cancer
    • Weight gain
    • Premature death
  • People with liver disease or kidney disease, or gout should be cautious about the type and amount of protein they consume.
  • People with allergies may need to avoid foods high in protein. These foods include nuts, seeds and grains, and soy and dairy. Consuming large amounts of these foods can also lead to other health issues like breathing and digestive problems.


  • It is important to remember that protein is good, even with some risks. People who eat plant foods, fish or chicken, and avoid processed meat, can reduce their risk of getting sick.


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