Arginine is a very important amino acid for our bodies. These amino acids are the building blocks of protein and once consumed, our bodies utilize them for building proteins and a host of other biological functions.
Amino acids, in general, are divided into three (3) different categories namely non-essential, essential, and semi-essential. Non-essential amino acids are those that your body can produce and its own and as such has little to no need for supplementation. Essential amino acids, on the other hand, are those that are not produced by our bodies hence, the need to get them from the food we consume. Lastly, we have the semi-essential amino acids which may or may not be essential depending on the situation.
Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid and they are mostly needed by children for healthy growth. As adults, there may be some instances where additional arginine supplements may be needed. Arginine can basically help in relaxing blood arteries and vessels which improve blood flow and circulation, aids in healing wounds faster, assists the kidneys in getting rid of toxins and waste and enhance the function of the immune system. Arginine is usually taken as a supplement and can be used to address a number of medical concerns such as heart diseases, angina, and erectile dysfunction.
With all of these health benefits, it is then important to know the foods that are high in arginine.
Foods That are High on Arginine
Turkey meat may have the highest content of arginine in terms of food items. A cooked breast of turkey can provide around sixteen (16) grams of arginine. On top of that, turkey meat is a great source of protein, B-vitamins and omega -3 fatty acids.
This arginine-rich food item is also extremely tasty with a number of recipes and meals using the said meat for add better flavor, texture and character to their menu.
2. Pork Loin
Pork Loin has a high level of arginine content at fourteen (14) grams per rib. Those interested in using pork to regularly supplement their arginine requirements must consider using the rib part of the pork. This would have fewer fats compared to the other portions or cuts of the meat.
Pork is also a staple in a lot of recipes and meals as it offers a unique flavor than white meat.
Chicken is also an arginine powerhouse and comes in third in arginine-rich foods. One chicken breast can provide around nine (9) grams of arginine and seventy (70) percent of the daily recommended protein intake of healthy adults.
Chicken is evidently one of the more popular food options on this list. It is accessible and easily incorporated into many types of dishes ranging from the American (Fried Chicken), Japanese (Chicken Yakitori), Mexican (Pollo), Spanish (Chicken Caldereta) and other international cuisines
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Surprisingly, this arginine-rich snack item is the first one on this list that is not animal based. A cup worth of pumpkin seeds can yield around seven (7) grams of arginine. In addition, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of other minerals such as iron and zinc.
Pumpkin seeds are generally convenient snack items so people who have cravings post workout can actually opt for this healthy alternative.
Soybeans are another plant-based food items that are rich in arginine. A cup of roasted soybeans can yield around 4.6 grams of arginine. It can also provide significant amounts of healthy minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
The consumption of soybeans is usually through the intake of hard tofu. Tofu is a great meat alternative, especially for vegans and vegetarians. Additionally, tofu can be used in a multitude of recipes and can be versatile in terms of food combinations.
Peanuts are more popularly called “brain food” because of the numerous minerals it can provide to individuals such as vitamins B3, E, folate, and niacin. Aside from it being a protein-rich food as well, peanuts have significant amounts of arginine and a cup of this protein-rich food can provide around 4.6. Grams of arginine (similar to soybeans).
People who want to pig out on peanuts must be careful and wary though as peanuts can be high in fat. Instead, a cup of peanuts can be spread out throughout the day as a healthy form of quick snack after workouts, during break times and while reading a good book.
Spirulina is a type of algae commonly found in the sea. It usually appears in powder form, mixed into smoothies and nutritional food supplements. Similar to soybeans and peanuts, a cup of spirulina can provide around 4.6 grams of arginine together with significant levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and niacin.
Dairy products are great sources of protein and are obviously healthy sources of arginine. A cup of dairy milk can yield around 0.2 grams of arginine while four (4) ounces of dairy cheese can provide around 0.25 grams of arginine.
Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas are rich in protein and fiber. People who don’t eat use chickpeas as a substitute. A cup of cooked chickpeas contains around 1.3 grams of protein, about 14.5 grams of protein and around 12.5 grams of dietary fiber.
Chickpeas is not only healthy but also delicious and versatile in terms of food varieties. They can be roasted and eaten as is or they can be used to make delicious hummus for some delicious pita filling and dip.
Similar to chickpeas, lentils are an excellent plant-based source for protein and fiber. It comes as no surprise then that a cup of lentils can actually provide about 1.3 grams of arginine. Aside from arginine, lentils can provide around sixty-three (63) percent of the needed daily fiber requirement of adults.
Lentils can also be used in a variety of different recipes from soups to appetizers.