Tryptophan: An Essential Amino Acid
Tryptophan (referred to as “T“) is among one of nine essential amino acids that our body is unable to prepare. First of all, T is absolutely necessary for normal growth and development of infants. Moreover, T is also responsible for nitrogen balance in adults. Tryptophan (T) is also a precursor to niacin and serotonin. Serotonin, also known as a “feel good” or “happiness hormone,” is thought to balance sleep and produce a stable mood. A low level of serotonin causes depression, anxiety and premature aging.
It should be noted some people claim slight depression as a result of veganism. One common belief is that vegans can’t get adequate T. But, in reality, this is not true. An adequate amount of vegan diets can meet our body requirement of T.
A deficiency of T can lead to weight loss in infants and children… Not good. If this essential amino acid isn’t consumed, it could lead to vitamin B3 deficiency. What does a B3 deficiency really mean? A vitamin B3 deficiency can lead to pellagra, which is a disease caused by a defect in the metabolic conversion of T to niacin. Pellagra is characterized by G.I. disturbances, erythema, and nervous or mental disorders. A T-deficient diet can also lead to low levels of serotonin, which in turn leads to depression, irritation, anxiety, and low concentration levels.
Top 10 Vegan Foods Highest In Tryptophan
The soybean belongs to the legume family. Soybeans are an excellent source of protein, and in fact the only vegetable with a complete protein. They’re also a great source of vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, iron and fiber. Soybeans are known to lower blood cholesterol level (LDL). Finally, soybeans are an enriched source of T, containing 0.048 grams per ounce.
Wheat is a staple food worldwide, this much we know. We also know some people are intolerant to wheat due to gluten allergies. For those tolerant, wheat contains a good amount of amino acids, including T. In conclusion, wheat contains 0.011 grams per ounce.
Pumpkin is one of the most widely grown foods in the world. Pumpkin, which is technically a fruit, is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants and vitamins. Yet another good source of T, pumpkin contains 0.04 grams per ounce.
Potato is the number one vegetable crop in the world. According to The George Mateljan Foundation, “potatoes are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity.” As well, potatoes also contain a good amount of T; 0.008 grams per ounce.
Walnuts are delicious nuts thought to increase intellectuality… Cool! Walnuts are richer than most all nuts in polyunsaturated fats. The most abundant being an Omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid. Walnuts also contain a relatively high % of the healthy Omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Most of all, the health benefits of walnuts include reduction in bad cholesterol, improvement in metabolism, and control of diabetes. As for intellectuality, the high amount of T may be responsible; walnuts contain 0.10 grams per ounce.
Fun fact: 1 serving of cauliflower contains 77% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Cauliflower is a great source of protein, fiber and potassium. As with broccoli, cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables. Cauliflower contains many essential amino acid, including T; contains 0.0025 grams per ounce.
With so many applications, it’s no wonder cucumbers are the 4th most cultivated vegetable in the world. A superfood, cucumbers are an excellent source of molybdenum and vitamin K. They are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Oh, and ladies, cucumbers contain silica, the nail health-promoting mineral! The amount of T is slightly low; an estimated 0.001 grams per ounce.
Did you know, when exposed to light, mushrooms produce vitamin D? Just like human beings! A variety of mushrooms also contain selenium, which is good for our livers. Moreover, mushrooms boost our immune systems, they’re high in antioxidants, and contain loads of vitamin B2 and B3. Mushrooms typically contain 0.0025 grams per ounce… Low, but still a good source.
Tryptophan: Leafy Greens
Leafy greens (or leafy green vegetables) are famous for their antioxidant and anticancer properties. For example, they’re low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in vitamin C and phytochemicals. What does this mean? Leafy greens can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease… Yes! In addition, they’re also a good source of T; spinach contains 0.008 grams per ounce.
Tomatoes are treasures of riches when it comes to their nutritive and antioxidant benefits. For example, tomatoes are an excellent source vitamin C and K. As well, tomatoes are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A and E. Tomatoes are also enriched in terms of T, as it contains 0.001 grams per ounce.
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