What are amino acids and what foods should I eat if I need them?
You definitely need amino acids. But luckily, they are easy to come by in the foods you eat.
Proteins are composed of a chain of different amino acids strung together. If you like jewelry, you can visualize the following analogy. Amino acids are like individual pearls in a pearl choker. By themselves, the amino acids (pearls) are not that useful, but if you string them together, you have a functioning protein, or in the case of the pearls, a brilliant necklace.
Proteins are necessary to help build new cells, make some hormones, transport nutrients, and make antibodies to fight diseases, just to name a few roles.
Since amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, they are found in greater amounts in foods that are rich in protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, legumes, and many grains and vegetables. If you are eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods from all the foods groups, odds are that you are getting enough amino acids.