Originally published June 19 2009
How to Get Those Amazing Amino Acids
by Elizabeth Walling
(NaturalNews) Amino acids are the chemical building blocks of protein and could be called the building blocks of life. Structurally, your body is mainly compromised of proteins developed from amino acids. From twenty amino acids, the body manufactures more than 50,000 different types of protein that play vital roles in our bodies. Amino acids contribute significantly to the health of the nervous system, muscular structure, hormone production, vital organs and cellular structure. They are absolutely crucial for good health.
If you aren't getting enough amino acids in your diet, your health may be affected. Low levels of important amino acids are linked to symptoms like irritability, poor concentration, fatigue, depression and hormonal imbalances to name a few.
Amino acids can be broken down into two groups: essential and non-essential. The term essential has nothing to do with the importance of the amino acids, just whether or not the body can make them. Essential amino acids are those which cannot be made by the body, so you must get them from your diet. Non-essential amino acids can be manufactured by the body if the right material is provided.
Non-essential amino acids:
- Aspartic Acid
- Glutamic Acid
Essential amino acids:
All of the amino acids perform vital functions in the body. They work best when you take in plenty of all types of amino acids, so it's important to get a variety of protein in your diet. The proteins in foods that contain all of the essential amino acids are called complete proteins. You will find complete sources of protein in dairy products, meat, fish, poultry and soy.
There is a common misunderstanding that it's very difficult for vegetarians and vegans to eat the right combination of amino acids. Although there should be a little planning involved, you can still easily get all of the essential amino acids without eating meat or dairy. It's not necessary to combine all the amino acids at every meal as long as you are eating a good variety of protein-rich foods on a daily basis. If you want to eat a good combination of amino acids without animal products, then you should include plenty of these foods in your diet:
- Nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts)
- Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
- Beans (lima, chickpeas, pinto, navy)
- Whole soy foods (tempeh, edamame)
- Whole grains (barley, rye, wheat, rice)
- Vegetables (corn, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, broccoli)
When it comes to getting the right amino acids, the work isn't hard but the payoff is still enormous: a healthy body and mind that can function at their best.
About the authorElizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more:
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