Amino Acids: What Every Healthy Eater Needs to Know
Eating for health keys on the essential nutrients found in food. From protein to carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, there’s a wide range of nutrients found in many different foods. One essential nutrient that is often overlooked or not discussed enough is amino acids. Reaching optimal health requires understanding the components that make up proteins and the role they play in the body.
What are Amino Acids?
Amino Acids are organic compounds that are responsible for performing many important functions in the body. They are the building blocks for proteins and as such are essential for all body functions, including growth and repair of muscle, bone, and skin. Foods that contain proteins can provide amino acids to the body, though not all proteins are considered complete proteins which means they do not provide all the essential amino acids.
What are Essential Amino Acids?
Essential Amino Acids are types of amino acids the body can not produce on its own, making them “essential” amino acids. These essential amino acids must be obtained through diet, as the body isn’t able to make them itself. Essential Amino Acids can be found in animal-based proteins, such as fish, poultry, and dairy, as well as some plant-based sources like legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds.
The Benefits of Eating Enough of the Essential Amino Acids
Amino Acids are an important part of a healthy diet. Getting enough of the essential amino acids can help improve overall health and wellbeing. Essential Amino Acids are necessary for proper metabolic function and can help support normal cholesterol levels, boost immunity, improve gut health and digestion, and provide important antioxidants. Additionally, adequate amounts of essential amino acids can help maintain muscular strength and support the production of healthy muscles and tissue.
Tips for Eating for Health with Essential Amino Acids
1. Choose a Balanced Diet: Eating a balanced and varied diet is the best way to ensure you’re getting the right amount and type of essential amino acids. Eating whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can help provide the variety necessary to get all the essential amino acids.
2. Take an Amino Acid Supplement: If you have an underlying health condition or have been diagnosed with a deficiency, an amino acid supplement can help support better overall health. Talk to your healthcare provider to decide if a supplement is right for you.
3. Eat Adequate Protein: Eating enough protein is important for providing essential amino acids. The daily recommended amount for adults is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight. Depending on your activity level and health goals, you may need to increase your protein intake.
Healthy eating and understanding the essential facts about amino acids can help you reach optimal health. By including enough essential amino acids in your diet, you can reap the many benefits that proper nutrition provides.
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