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Amino acid foods: the top suppliers for the protein building blocks

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Phenylalanine, tryptophan and lysine: these cryptic terms conceal amino acids that are essential for the body. We have to get these protein building blocks from food in order to survive. You can find out in which foods they occur here.

The best amino acid foods

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, of which our body is made up of 17 percent. The chemical compounds are divided into 20 different types according to their structure. Eight of them are essential amino acids, which means that the body cannot produce them on its own and is dependent on regular intake. This includes

• Isoleucine

• Leucine

• lysine

• methionine

• phenylalanine

• threonine

• tryptophan

• valine

The remaining twelve amino acids are produced by the healthy organism itself. If the body is not adequately supplied with essential amino acids, serious deficiency symptoms can occur. The protein building blocks are involved, among other things, in regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure, in building enzymes and connective tissue, in metabolism and in building muscles, which is why they play a major role in nutrition in weight training. However, it has not been scientifically proven that amino acids contribute to weight loss.

How many amino acids does the body need?

So nothing works in the body without amino acids. Now you don't have to go for protein powder and provide artificial replenishment. The need can be met with a balanced diet. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) currently estimates this at 0.8 g per kg of body weight for adults from 19 years of age, and at 1.0 g for seniors from 65 years of age. Certain groups of people such as pregnant women, breastfeeding women and those who do intensive sport need a little more amino acids.

This is how you cover the need

Basically, protein-rich foods also contain a lot of amino acids. However, animal and vegetable protein sources differ in terms of their amino acid profile. Food of animal origin usually contains all eight essential protein building blocks, while vegetable food only covers a part. That is why the DGE recommends vegetarians and vegans to choose amino acid foods in such a way that the entire spectrum is covered. As an example, the specialist society cites the combination of grains and pulses: The grain poor in tryptophan and threonine is rich in methionine, with lentils, peas and the like it is the other way around - a lentil-curry pot with rice or a pea soup with bread are therefore ideal pairings.

Put these amino acid foods on the menu

If you want to get as many amino acids as possible out of protein-containing foods, we recommend in particular

• Meat and sausages

• wheat germ

• soybeans

• Lenses

• eggs

• Cheese

• Oatmeal

• Quinoa

• Nuts

• Fish

• Yogurt and buttermilk

If you have a particular need for certain indispensable protein building blocks, it is worth studying the exact composition of these amino acid foods. For example, oatmeal, walnuts, eggs and cheese contain blood sugar-regulating valine, while legumes contain lysine, which is important for the maintenance of muscle and connective tissue.

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