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What Are Amino Acids?

A group of 20 different kinds of small molecules that link together in long chains to form proteins often referred to as “building blocks”. The sequence of amino acids determines the structure and function of the protein. They also have a role to play in metabolism and are therefore critical to sustaining life.

There are eight amino acids regarded as essentials to humans, which cannot be synthesized by the human body, and therefore need to be supplied through the diet. Sources of essential amino acids include meat (beef, chicken, turkey), fish, whole grains, nuts and seeds (almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds), beans (green beans, soy beans, lentils, lima beans), dairy (milk, cottage cheese, chocolate) oats, wheat, fruit (bananas, dried dates, avocados) and vegetables (spinach, mushrooms).

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