What are Essential Amino Acids

The human body can manufacture only a portion of the 22 different types of carbohydrate and nitrogen containing amino acids that are required for a healthy body. The rest have to come from food sources. Eight of the ten that come from food sources are essential amino acids. Two are only essential in young children.

Phenylalanine, valine, tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, lysine, leucine, histidine and arginine are the 10 amino acids that come from food sources. Histidine and arginine are the two that are essential in children. Essential amino acids can be found in meats and poultry, fish, eggs and dairy such as cheese and milk as well as in many plant sources such as grains and legumes. Lysine and tryptophan that well known thanksgiving sleep inducer are poorly represented in plants. Strict vegetarians should be wise to this fact and ensure that they are getting a proper balance of amino acids in their diet.

So what do amino acids do? Amino acids help to build DNA and RNA, cells and repair tissue. They help to combat infections brought on by viruses and bacteria and they carry oxygen throughout the body. Phenylalanine is used by the brain to produce norepinephrine which reduces depression, promotes alertness and reduces hunger pangs. Valine promotes calmness, mental stimulation and muscle coordination.

Tryptophan reduces anxiety, promotes healthy sleep patterns and in conjunction with lysine reduces cholesterol levels. Threonine promotes healthy levels of collagen and elastin in the skin. It also works to keep fat build up down in the liver. Isoleucine and leucine keep you alert and help to build energy. Methionine promotes healthy hair, skin and nails.

Lysine helps to absorb calcium. Histidine is an essential part of hemoglobin. Arginine is essential in muscle growth and tissue repair. So how does all of this tie into gourmet cuisine? Chips, snacks and processed foods may not be enough to maintain a healthy body. A well balanced nutritious diet filled with fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and a wide variety of spices is the way.

All of the recipes offered at Gourmayeats ( ) contain a healthy balance of flavor, variety and nutritious choices.

Gourmayeats Recipe of the Week Club takes the guess work out of shopping and makes healthy eating choices a breeze. .

By: Shauna Hanus

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