In simplest terms, amino acids are at the core of all lifeforms. They serve as the building blocks for proteins, as well as perform a wide range of functions in order for all systems of our bodies to work well. For humans, there are 20 amino acids that are embedded in the genetic code, which is the set of “rules” that is translated into properly assembled proteins. Of those 20 amino acids, nine are essential, meaning that they need to be obtained from external sources. The other 11 can be manufactured internally, but eating a balanced diet that includes both essential and nonessential amino acids is integral to the health and performance of our bodies and skin. Here are five surprising foods that are actually very high in amino acid content, and therefore, can be beneficial to the health and beauty of your skin.
Asparagine was the first amino acid to be isolated, and this was done by separating it from other components contained in asparagus juice . Asparagus is a rich source of this amino acid, which is very closely related to aspartic acid, another amino acid that plays a key role in protein synthesis. Asparagus also contains glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant that consists of three amino acids: glycine, glutamate, and cysteine. Glutathione has been shown to protect against damage caused by UV light, air pollution, and harmful substances.
Eggplant contains eight of the nine essential amino acids, lacking only methionine . This makes eggplant a great dietary choice for vegetarians and vegans, as very few plant sources contain all nine essential amino acids. Paring eggplant with other plant proteins that do contain methionine, such as nuts and seeds, can help those eating a plant-based diet obtain all necessary aminos.
Quinoa, a whole grain, is an example of a plant source of complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids . Thus, vegans and vegetarians can replace animal sources of complete proteins, such as meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood, with quinoa or other plant-based complete proteins like soy and buckwheat.
Spirulina is a high-protein algae that is often dried and ground into powder or put into tablet form for consumers’ convenience. Like eggplant, this plant source of protein contains most of the essential amino acids, but not all. Spirulina is lacking in the sulfur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine. Thus, combining this ingredient with nuts and seeds can help you obtain all of the essential amino acids in your diet.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
In truth, most seeds are incredibly beneficial for your health, and pumpkin seeds are no exception. These little morsels are very rich in amino acids, although not considered a complete protein. In particular, pumpkin seeds contain high amounts of tryptophan, the least abundant of the essential amino acids .
As you can see, while there are numerous sources of amino acids in our regular diets, not all of them contain the nine essential aminos needed for proper skin function and appearance. This is especially important to note if you eat a plant-based diet, as most plant sources of protein are not complete. In addition to adjusting your diet to make sure you’re getting enough amino acids, you can also supplement your skin with topical products that contain the right blend of both essential and nonessential amino acids. When choosing an amino acid skin care product, though, make sure the formula contains all or nearly all of the 20 amino acids in the genetic code. Otherwise, it’s not going to produce the dramatic results you’re looking for. You’ll find that the AminoGenesis formula has been expertly-designed to deliver a unique blend of amino acids to maximize their benefits and help you achieve the smooth, radiant, and healthy-looking skin you want.