List of Foods With Amino Acids—The Best Sources to Add to Your Diet

Assorted colorful fruits and vegetables

It’s time to upgrade your health with the best sources of amino acids—food!

Now, all foods have varying levels of amino acids. Some contain all nine essential amino acids (EAAs) the body cannot produce and need to support vital organ functions. Knowing which foods have all nine EAAs is important to incorporate them into your diet more frequently. Different supplements, such as essential amino acid supplements and vegan amino acid supplements, can benefit certain individuals, such as those who struggle to consume the recommended amount of amino acids. 

This list of foods with amino acids is the ultimate guide to incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your diet to enhance your quality of life by boosting your health. Keep reading to get started upgrading your lifestyle today! 

The Best Sources of Amino Acids

A balanced diet of foods containing amino acids—whether animal proteins, plant proteins, or both—is crucial to avoiding amino acid deficiency, as it can be detrimental to one’s health. Incorporating these foods into your diet can boost and strengthen overall health to prevent the potential risk of amino acid deficiency. 

Continue reading to find out which foods have all nine essential amino acids and are the best sources to enrich your diet! 

Sizzling steak seasoned with aromatic spices


Containing all nine EAAs, quinoa is one of the top plant foods that can be incorporated into a range of diets. It is a plant-based option with amino acids that boost fiber to maintain gut health. 

Compared to other food sources that contain amino acids, like wheat or rice, quinoa has higher contents of lysine, which plays a vital role in maintaining cholesterol levels and promoting wound healing. 


Another food that contains all nine EAAs, eggs are an excellent nutritional option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One study highlighted the benefits of the digestibility of egg protein, a great source of EAAs. 


Most fish contain EAAs, though some are better sources than others. Salmon is one such example. It is a quality source of EAAs, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and omega-3s. 

The nutrients in salmon have been linked to reducing the risk of coronary heart disease while supporting immune function and overall health. One study dedicatedly detailed the amino acid composition of 27 different fish from the Indian subcontinent to study and discuss the differences in amino acid profiles in fish species


Close-up of diverse mushrooms

Boasting 17 amino acids, including the nine EAAs and BCAAs, mushrooms are a quality source of these important nutrients. All the amino acids found in mushrooms are in high concentration except phenylalanine and methionine. 

The importance of a quality breakfast is continuously stressed in today’s society due to the lack of nutrients that come with most highly processed cereals that contain high amounts of added sugars. It was revealed that adding mushrooms to a cereal diet could easily overcome lysine deficiency in a person’s diet


Nuts are another great example of a natural food with a high amino acid profile, full of other powerful nutrients that benefit one’s health. The content of amino acids in each type of nut differs significantly due to location and overall variety. Still, research reveals that the benefits of consuming nuts can be strengthened by combining different protein sources with good levels of EAAs. 


Tofu is an excellent plant-based alternative for individuals on a vegetarian or vegan diet, containing all nine EAAs. It is rich in vitamins and minerals that help support overall health. 

The wastewater, or soy whey, that results from tofu products is also considered a potential source of amino acids, which one study researched and found a surprisingly high amount of amino acids


Poultry and beef are some of the best sources of amino acids. Turkey, for example, contains significant amounts of tryptophan. This amino acid is responsible for helping the body make niacin, which is linked to mood, relaxation, and happiness and is productive in reducing symptoms of depression

Research has shown that meat contains high concentrations of amino acids, which increase the health benefits of consuming these foods. 


Colorful array of fresh fruits

Each type of fruit has a unique amino acid profile, most containing a high amount of leucine. Berries, apples, and bananas are all high in amino acids, with apples containing around 16 amino acids. Unfortunately, fruits do not include all nine EAAs, though they have some, if not most, plus other nonessential amino acids that benefit one’s health. 

Legumes & Beans

An amazing source of plant-based protein, legumes and beans are high in amino acids. However, they are not complete proteins because they do not contain all nine EAAs. Legumes and beans have an excellent amino acid profile and are rich in nutrients that can do wonders in boosting a healthier lifestyle


With seeds, it varies on which type contains all nine EAAs. Pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds are all complete proteins, boasting nine EAAs to be classified as such. 

Sunflower seeds are an example of a seed that does not contain all nine EAAs. These seeds have eight of the nine EAAs, with abundant amounts still providing significant nutritional value.  


Farm-fresh dairy products

Dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and low-fat cheese are all complete proteins. Boasting calcium for strong bones and a sturdy amino acid profile, dairy products are another excellent source of amino acids. These provide nutritional value that coincides with health benefits to keep the body strong. 

Amino Acids Categories

Finding foods that contain amino acids is important, but knowing the differences between the types of amino acids is also crucial to maintaining one’s health. Understanding the differences between EAAs and nonessential amino acids and how they can be beneficial to your health is important. 

Essential Amino Acids 

In total, there are nine EAAs and they include:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

These nine amino acids are essential to maintain the body’s health. They are not produced by the body, meaning they must be ingested through dietary means for the body to reap the benefits of these indispensable nutrients. 

Any food containing all nine EAAs is called a complete protein, though some foods can contain most or some essential amino acids without having all of them.  

Not getting enough EAAs can harm a person’s health, as the nutrients are responsible for tissue repair, nutrient absorption, and protein synthesis. Eating complete proteins and a well-balanced diet of foods that contain a different range of amino acids is important for maintaining and improving health. 

Specific amino acids provide different benefits. For example, leucine is an essential amino acid that will help to:

  • Regulate blood sugar levels
  • Support immune function
  • Repair muscle tissue
  • Heal wounds

Branched Chain Amino Acids 

BCAAs are three EAAs that stimulate muscle protein synthesis and prevent muscle breakdown.

The BCAAs include:

  • Valine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine 

As they are also EAAs, BCAAs must be consumed through foods for the body to benefit from these proteins. With the hype of taking BCAA supplements to promote muscle growth and reduce muscle breakdown growing to multi-million dollar proportions, one study dissolved these claims, finding that the opposite was true. The study discovered that BCAA supplementation after training resulted in a decrease in muscle protein turnover

Eating foods with BCAAs is still very much necessary for muscle protein synthesis. Still, the unwarranted need to supplement with them after workouts to improve muscle building and prevent muscle breakdown is unnecessary and unhelpful.   

Nonessential Amino Acids 

The nonessential amino acids refer to amino acids that are naturally produced by the body and are not required to be consumed to supplement. 

Nonessential amino acids include:

  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic acid
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamic acid
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine 

These amino acids are responsible for energy production and immune function. Nonessential amino acids can be converted into glucose to be used by the body for energy. 

Conditionally Essential Amino Acids

Conditionally essential amino acids are as its name suggests. They are amino acids that are not typically essential but become crucial for the body during certain conditions, such as stress, pregnancy, infancy, or illness. 

Conditionally essential amino acids include:

  • Arginine
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamine
  • Tyrosine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine 

An example of such is the amino acid arginine. The body does not make enough arginine to heal from serious injuries or fight diseases such as cancer. Arginine increases blood flow to wounds to increase collagen formation and reduce inflammation for healing. 

The Benefits of Amino Acids

variety of amino acid-rich foods

So, what are the benefits of amino acids? We’ve briefly discussed some amino acids and their benefits, but overall, here is a list of the benefits of amino acids and how they help support health. 

Amino acids and their benefits:

  • May improve exercise performance and recovery
  • Promotes brain function
  • Prevents muscle wastage and promotes muscle growth
  • May support weight loss
  • Helps lower blood sugar levels
  • Helps boost memory
  • Strengthens immune function 
  • Stimulates wound healing 

Risks of Taking Amino Acid Supplements

Amino acid supplements with green background

Dietary supplements are a popular method of achieving nutrients that a person may otherwise not get in their everyday diet. Amino acid supplementation is one such example, with EAA supplements sold at gyms, fitness spaces, and by fitness-centered brands to cater to individuals looking to boost muscle protein synthesis and speed up recovery from workouts. 

Unfortunately, there are risks involved with taking amino acid supplements. Some examples of this include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unsteady blood pressure 
  • Increased risk of gout
  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 
  • Lowered blood sugar levels 

The intensity of these risks varies and can be either minimal or severe, depending on any pre-existing medical concerns. We recommend consulting your doctor before beginning to take amino acid supplements. 

Signs of Amino Acid Deficiency

Amino acids are frequently found in high-protein foods as they are the building blocks of proteins. Insufficient protein intake or an unbalanced diet can result in amino acid deficiency, which is detrimental to health as amino acids support immune function, promote healthy skin, and regulate blood sugar levels.

Signs of amino acid deficiency:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pressure sores
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Hair and skin depigmentation 
  • Fertility issues
  • General weakness
  • Memory loss
  • Cravings for unhealthy foods

In most cases, simply supplementing foods with amino acids and complete proteins can help negate these concerns. But if these issues become severe, please consult a medical professional to seek aid. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Vegetable Has All Nine EAAs?

Numerous vegetables are complete proteins that contain all nine EAAS. Some examples include taro, potatoes, spirulina, tempeh, and amaranth. We recommend adding many other vegetables to your meals for a balanced diet of amino acids and nutrient-rich foods. 

Should I Take Amino Acid Supplements?

If you are eating a balanced diet, then amino acid supplementation is unnecessary. Typically, amino acid supplementation is recommended only if an individual is under excessive stress or undergoing treatment for cancer. 

How Many Amino Acids Do I Need?

The body needs all twenty amino acids to function properly and support the vital organs. Each amino acid has a different role that is significant in promoting health. If one amino acid is deficient, it can result from a lack of a balanced diet or an issue in the body’s production of said amino acid. 

Kaelyn Buzzo

Kaelyn Buzzo

I am an ISSA-certified CPT and Nutrition Coach with a BA in Creative Writing and a Minor in Nutrition.

More posts from Kaelyn Buzzo


“I’ve trained with Mike since before EverFlex started up and he’s dedicated to making sure that your training is specific to your fitness levels and needs. He gives diet and lifestyle suggestions that are easy to integrate into your daily routine and is incredibly knowledgeable and personable.”

Trevor Hunt

“Overall Mike and his company EverFlex are awesome. Not only do they always have a positive and encouraging attitude, but are able to personalize the sessions to fit my needs. They are always able to provide in depth explanations of each of the exercises, and a back story on their importance! Mike definitely makes the gym a better and less intimidating place!”

Taylor Brown

“Since training with Mike at EverFlex for the past couple of years, my overall strength and fitness has improved dramatically.  I am now able to perform exercises I would never have attempted on my own and continue to see both physical and mental gains at the gym.

Mike is always willing to share his expert knowledge and answer any questions I come up with. His knowledge on nutrition is admirable and his dedication to helping people is commendable. Mike’s sessions are always fun, and he continues to mix up every training session, so it never gets boring.”

Lisa Atkins

“Best trainers I have ever had the privilege to train with! I have been training with Mike for the past 7 years, after searching for a specialist that could help with active recovery of a sport related injury. Not only did Mike get me back to normal and active again, but he has helped to optimize my fitness and overall health. Work outs are always fun and challenging, tailored to the achievement of personal goals. Mike is knowledgable and passionate about his field, strives to be current with fitness trends and personal education, and genuinely cares about the well being of his clients. Thank you, Mike, for keeping me healthy, active and in a state to enjoy my many pursuits!”

Carrie Ferguson

Book Your Consultation

Get in touch with our expert trainers to discover how EverFlex and the Fitness AutoPilot (Beta) can get you closer to your wellness goals. Prioritize your health and connect with us today.

    EverFlex Personal Training App