You must know what proteins are, but do you know about the smaller components that make up this significant nutrient? To be precise, there are 20 kinds of amino acids, with different permutations of them making up the different proteins which are required for normal bodily function. Familiarising yourself with amino acids can help you understand more about your diet and thereby, assist you in optimising your nutrition. Although there are 20 amino acids and each one of them is important in its own right, here are 5 of the more neglected varieties to get you started:
If you need help in controlling the type of food you put in your body, then you may need to closer attention to tyrosine. It is an amino acid that reduces your craving for processed foods that are ladled with sugar and fat by increasing dopamine levels in the body. Furthermore, tyrosine can help to improve cognitive performance of people who are sleep-deprived. That being said, you still need quality sleep to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Certain appetites can be difficult to whet, but that’s where tryptophan comes in. The amino acid — most commonly associated with turkey meat — is known to manage appetites by helping the body and brain achieve satisfaction from meals. It also increases the production of growth hormones, thereby assisting in muscle recovery after a workout.
Our bodies are always growing and repairing itself. Threonine aids in this process as it is involved in formation of new body tissues. Additionally, it also plays a role in anti-aging as it helps produce collagen and elastin. To top it all off, threonine aids in fat-metabolism and weight management. Example of food rich in threonine include lean beef, shellfish, nuts, beans and lentils.
Besides threonine, glycine is another amino acid that supports your anti-aging goals by producing collagen. This amino acid is also used to produce creatine, a component that serves as an energy source for highly intense exercises such as heavy weight training and sprinting. It also helps to control blood sugar levels and improves gastrointestinal health by repairing the tissues along the digestive tract. And we all know how important gut health is for quality of life.
If you need a bit of help in burning fat, carnitine can give you an edge. It is an amino acid that assists in energy production by transporting fatty lipids into the body’s cells, providing the fuel that you need for exercising. Other benefits that it brings include better motivation, reduced levels of inflammation and also improved insulin sensitivity.
Amino acids are important in various aspects and functions of the body. However, it is not very practical to create a meal plan with specific foods solely to meet specific amino acids requirements. Instead, add different types of food into your diet and ensure that it remains varied in terms of food sources so that you cover as many bases as possible. Build your foundation on whole foods first before considering nutritional supplements to fill in whatever gaps that may exist.