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Essential Amino Acids

   

Amino acids are organic compounds that are necessary for our body to stay healthy. There are two groups of amino acids, the essential and the conditional.

The conditional amino acids are what our body can produce. They are:

-- alanine
-- asparagine
-- aspartic acid
-- cysteine
-- glutamic acid
-- glutamine
-- glycine
-- proline
-- serine
-- tyrosine

The essential amino acids are the amino acids that we cannot produce internally. They must be pertained through food or applied by other means to ensure an adequate amount. They are:

Essential Amino Acids

-- arginine (required for the young, but not for adults)
-- histidine
-- isoleucine
-- leucine
-- lysine
-- methionine
-- phenylalanine
-- threonine
-- valine
-- tryptophan

These amino acids are obtained by diet. Plants are able to make all the amino acids, but not humans. We do not have all the enzymes required for the biosynthesis of all of the amino acids.

The failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids would result in serious health implications because of the degradation of the body's proteins. Muscle and other protein structures may be dismantled to obtain the one amino acid that is needed. While our body can store fat and starch, they do not store excess amino acids for later use. We need to get the amino acids in food every day.

Thought our body can make the conditional amino acids, the essential amino acids are needed during the process. For example, tyrosine is produced from phenylalanine. If the diet is deficient in phenylalanine, it will be hard to produce tyrosine.

A combination of cereal grains (such as wheat, corn, rice, etc.) and legumes (such as beans, peanuts, etc.) usually can suffice the need. Some popular ethnic foods have such a combination in a single dish, such as the Mexican corn and beans, Chinese rice and soybeans, and Cajun red beans and rice.

Quinoa is one of the ancient, nutritious foods that have the complete essential proteins.

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