Best food sources to find Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein. Your body needs 20 different amino acids to grow and make proper bodily functions. However, there are 9 essential amino acids that your body can’t produce without food. All 9 essential amino acids have unique functions to play. Some of these essential amino acids are important to regulate mood while some are for muscle development. Even though you may not be a fitness fanatic looking to pack in the amino acids to help build muscle mass, you can still benefit by following a healthy diet with the right essential amino acids.

Amino acids are an important nutrient required for the healthy maintenance of your body. These amino acids are sometimes also called macronutrients and come together to form proteins. Proteins and amino acids are the building blocks of life. Amino acids are long-chain molecules that make up protein. Every part of our body such as muscles, bones, skin, hair, and almost every tissue or body part has protein. They also make enzymes that manage important chemical reactions in our bodies. Our bodies don’t store amino acids, so it makes them from scratch or from others instead.

Which are the 9 Essential amino acids?

Here is the list of 9 essential amino acids, what roles they play in our body, and which food to find them in:

  1. Phenylalanine

If we don’t have sufficient phenylalanine in the body, we could experience depression, loss of appetite, and cognitive dysfunction.

What role does phenylalanine play in our body?

  • Phenylalanine contributes to creating other amino acids like tyrosine. Tyrosine is used to produce neurotransmitters like dopamine (the happy chemical).
  • It also helps form other important chemicals in the brain that regulate adrenaline.

Phenylalanine rich food sources:


  • Plant-based foods like tofu, peanuts, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, a certain variety of seeds and nuts. On average, every 100 grams of tofu contributes to around 95% of the recommended dietary intake of Phenylalanine.
  • Animal sources include eggs, pork, lamb, beef, poultry, yogurt, and cheese. For instance, every 100 grams of beef contributes to around 154% of recommended dietary intake of Phenylalanine.
  1. Threonine

Threonine plays a vital role in maintaining healthy teeth and skin. Since it can be found largely in the central nervous system, studies have proven that it can be helpful to treat various types of depression.

What role does threonine play in our body?

  • Once entered the body, threonine transforms into a chemical called glycine. Glycine assists to produce elastin, muscle tissue, and collagen.
  • When threonine is combined with methionine (another amino acid), glycine helps to process fatty acids and helps in preventing liver failure.

Threonine rich food sources:


  • Plant-based sources include flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, almonds, lentils, pistachios, and cashews. The richest plant-based source for threonine is soya products. 100 grams of roasted soybeans gives you about 165% of the recommended dietary intake of threonine.
  • Animal sources include pork, lamb, lean beef, gelatin, cheese, and collagen. 100 grams of lamb or lean beef gives you around 165%of the recommended dietary intake of threonine.
  1. Tryptophan

Consuming enough tryptophan can potentially aid in regulating food cravings.

What role does Tryptophan play in our body?

  • It is important for serotonin production. Serotonin helps regulate our mood, appetite, sleep cycle, and also acts as a natural sedative.
  • It is also a precursor to melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.

Tryptophan rich food sources:

  • Plant-based sources include spirulina, pepitas, chickpeas, bananas, and peanuts. Pumpkin and squash seeds have a large amount of tryptophan. For every 100 grams of seeds, we get about 206% of recommended daily intake of tryptophan.
  • Animal sources include milk, cheese, red meats, turkey, dark chocolate, eggs, fish, and yogurt.
  1. Methionine

Methionine detoxifies and helps with metabolism.

What role does Methionine play in our body?

  • The sulfur in Methionine acts as an antioxidant by protecting the cells from free radical damage. It also removes heavy metals like mercury and lead from the body.
  • It also helps in breaking down fat and prevents fatty deposits in the liver. Excess of this amino acid can lead to atherosclerosis or fatty deposits in the arteries.

Methionine rich food sources:


  • Plant-based sources include tofu, soybeans, beans, Brazil nuts, spirulina, and wheat germs. 100 grams of brazil nuts give up to 154% of recommended daily intake of Methionine.
  • Animal sources include salmon, lamb, tuna, beef, and shrimp.
  1. Lysine

Lysine contributes to muscle repair and growth.

What role Lysine plays in our body:

  • Lysine helps build a healthy immune system by producing a variety of enzymes, hormones, and antioxidants.
  • It also helps the body to absorb iron, calcium, and zinc.
  • Lysine plays a crucial role in collagen production. Collagen gives structure to the ligaments, tendons, skin, cartilage, hair, and organs.

Lysine rich food sources:


  • Plant-based sources include avocados, potatoes, lima beans, leeks, beetroots, dried apricots and mangoes, and peppers.
  • The most amount of lysine is found in red meat. 100 grams of beef provides 157% of recommended daily intake of lysine.
  1. Histidine

Histidine facilitates the creation and growth of blood cells and tissue repair.

What role does Histidine play in our body?

  • The body metabolizes histidine to become histamine. Histamine is a neurotransmitter that is important to sexual function, digestion, immune response, and sleep-wake cycles.
  • Histidine also maintains the myelin sheath.

Histidine rich food sources:


  •  Alfalfa, pomegranates, apples, cucumber, garlic, radish, spinach, carrots, and beets. 100 grams of bananas will provide 48% of recommended daily intake of histidine.
  1. Valine

Valine is used in supplement form with other branched-chain amino acids to build muscle mass in athletes.

What role does Valine play in our body?

  • Valine also helps stimulate activity while maintaining mental and physical stamina.
  • It stimulates muscle growth and regeneration and is also involved in energy production.

Valine rich food sources:


  • Valine can be found in dairy products, red meats, soy products, mushrooms, and peanuts. 100 grams of yogurt and a cup of milk gives about 26% and 60% of recommended daily intake of valine respectively.
  1. Leucine

Leucine is critical for protein synthesis and muscle repair. It is also said to be the best amino acid to build muscle mass as it helps to activate a signaling pathway responsible for stimulating protein synthesis.

What role does Leucine play in our body?

  • Leucine helps regulate blood sugar levels, growth hormones, and stimulates the healing of wounds.
  • It also helps in the healing of muscles or severe stress levels.

Leucine rich food sources:


  • Plant-based sources include sunflower seeds, pistachios, corn, peanuts, quinoa, brown rice, spirulina, and wheat germ. 100 grams of Spirulina provides 181% of recommended daily intake of leucine.
  • Animal sources include beef, lamb, poultry, cheese, gelatin, and collagen. 100 grams of chicken provides 75% of recommended daily intake of Leucine.
  1. Isoleucine

Isoleucine is important in the physiological functions of the body like growth, protein metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, immunity, and glucose transportation.

What role does Isoleucine play in our body?

  • Isoleucine is found in muscle tissue in high concentration and is crucial in muscle metabolism, hemoglobin production, energy regulation, and immune function.

Isoleucine rich food sources:


  • Plant-based sources include lentils, spirulina, sunflower and sesame seeds, oats, and seaweeds. 100 grams of wheat provides about 16% of recommended daily intake of isoleucine.
  • Animal-based sources include tuna, haddock, yogurt, beef, and cod.

Why choose Fitco Foods?

Fitco Food’s protein blend is 100% vegetarian and is derived from plants and milk to provide consumers with all Essential Amino Acids. Our protein puffs give you all the essential amino acids required for a good life and health maintenance. Fitco Foods is a fresh entrant in the consumer food space that aims to unravel the unhealthy secrets of your tasty junk food and replace them with our nutritiously delicious snacks. The majority population consumes a vegetarian diet, which is great but lacks protein. We offer protein in the most loved style - Namkeen style because kids and even adults love eating chips. Fitco aspires to make their consumers get into a daily habit of reading all the ingredients and nutritional information of each & every item that they buy.

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