What are amino acids?
Amino acids are found in protein and are known as the building blocks of protein.
There are 22 amino acids, 8 are called “essential” amino acids because we can only obtain them from food. The other “non essential” amino acids are made in the body.
The body takes the amino acids from the protein by breaking it down and the essential amino acids then work throughout the whole body.
The 8 Amino Acids are needed for:
- building muscle
- regulating energy and metabolism
- helping to deal with inflammatory conditions
- aiding brain power and sleep
- building insulin and regulating blood sugar levels
- keeping skin, hair and nails healthy
The best source of protein is from animal meats as they contain all of the 8 amino acids, whereas grains and pulses are incomplete proteins so for example vegetarians would have to eat a wider range of foods to get the full 8 amino acids.
Foods high in amino acids
Remember that every cell in the body is made up of 50% protein and 50% water.
Cooking can destroy the amino acids in food so try not to overcook.