Amino Acids and Watercress

Amino acids are essential for overall health and well-being, as they are crucial in various bodily functions. While our bodies can produce some amino acids, others must be obtained from our diet. Watercress is a nutrient-dense leafy green that is rich in vital amino acids, making it a wonderful addition to a balanced diet. By incorporating watercress into your meals, you can ensure that you’re getting the amino acids you need to support your health and vitality.

Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins, which are essential for the structure, function, and regulation of our body’s tissues and organs. The human body uses 20 different amino acids for:

Muscle Growth and Repair. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) like leucine, isoleucine, and valine are valuable for muscle protein synthesis and aid in muscle growth and repair.

Energy Production. Certain amino acids can be converted into energy, especially during increased physical activity or low carbohydrate availability.

Neurotransmitter Production. Amino acids like tryptophan and tyrosine are precursors to neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, respectively, influencing mood, cognition, and behavior.

Immune Function. Amino acids contribute to producing antibodies and immune system components, which play a role in immune function and response.

Regulating Hormones. Amino acids are involved in synthesizing hormones such as insulin, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone, contributing to metabolic regulation.

Healing Wounds. Amino acids, especially arginine and glutamine, are involved in wound healing and tissue repair.

Creating Collagen. Proline and lysine are crucial for synthesizing collagen, a structural protein that supports skin, bones, and connective tissues.

Experts classify amino acids based on various features, including whether they can be obtained through diet. Accordingly, scientists recognize two amino acid types: essential and non-essential. However, classifying amino acids as essential or nonessential does not reflect their importance, as all 20 amino acids are necessary for human health.

When exploring the composition of watercress, we understand that 18 essential and nonessential amino acids make up nearly 7% of its composition. These amino acids are a crucial component of watercress’ nutrition offerings and its unique healing ability.

The wide array of amino acids in watercress allows us to appreciate just how nutrient-dense and multifaceted this leafy green is. Thanks to its concentration of amino acids, watercress offers versatile and valuable nutritive value, from assisting our bodies in the fight against illnesses and providing cellular protection to boosting mental focus and regulating glucose uptake. Proper supplementation makes watercress a compelling tool in holistic diets meant to extend overall longevity and bolster systemic health.

The amino acids in watercress include:

Essential Amino Acids

Histidine is a precursor of histamine. It plays a vital role in immune response and is involved in producing red and white blood cells, cell division, and maintaining pH balance in tissues.

Isoleucine is a BCAA. It helps regulate glucose entry into muscle cells and maintains energy metabolism. Studies indicate that its regenerative abilities aid in wound healing and tissue repair.

Leucine is a BCAA linked to building and preserving muscle mass. Leucine promotes healthy skin and hair. It has numerous metabolic roles, including improving athletic performance and supporting recovery from physical activity.

Lysine facilitates calcium absorption, aids in collagen formation, and positively influences the release of hormones like growth hormones. Lysine improves immunity and helps prevent herpes outbreaks by keeping the virus dormant.

Methionine is an essential sulfur-containing amino acid necessary to life because it is the starting point for other molecules like acetylcholine, carnitine, cysteine, and taurine. It’s a formidable antioxidant and detoxifier that serves digestion and fat absorption.

Phenylalanine is an aromatic amino acid associated with cognitive processes, attention span, awareness, memory development, and mood regulation. It delivers tyrosine, a neurotransmitter connected to ADHD, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain prevention.

Threonine is involved in collagen formation, muscle protein synthesis, and immune system support. It also restores connective tissue, increases liver function, and balances cholesterol.

Tryptophan is best recognized for promoting restful sleep. It also contributes to the generation of niacin, serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. It supports optimal cognitive functioning and prevents age-related symptoms due to the cellular stress response.

Valine is another member of the BCAA family. It improves mental acuity, reinforces moderate exercise performance, reduces exhaustion, boosts metabolic rate, sustains muscles, and expands psychological well-being.

Non-Essential Amino Acids

Alanine is frequently seen during intense exercise due to its ability to adjust glycogen metabolism. When present in the intestines, alanine advances in sugar storage and mobilization and stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete growth hormone. It is also identified as a transport protein, aiding immunity reinforcement, anticancer respiration, and fatty acid oxidation.

Arginine is deeply rooted in the cardiovascular system as a stimulant of the nitric oxide pathway and vessel wall elasticity. It decreases total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein concentration while encouraging more testosterone output and increasing sperm count.

Aspartic Acid is accepted as the “life sparker.” It participates in ATP production and accelerates carbon dioxide expulsion through lung ventilation. In addition to delivering energy to muscles, it substantially processes adrenaline and detects DNA anomalies.

Glutamic Acid behaves like glutamate, and they’re often substituted. Glutamate is the most abundant physiological agonist in the brain and enables nerve impulse transmission throughout neuronal networks. This acid plays fundamental roles in increasing energy production, fighting viruses, detoxifying ammonia, and releasing energy reserve compounds.

Glycine is critical for maintaining sharp cognitive reaction times, neural plasticity, and repaired neuron connections even after traumatic incidents. It activates hardworking relationships between muscle growth and spasticity reduction, helping to restore momentum to subdued hormonal growth secretion.

Proline strengthens ligaments surrounding joints, promotes artery and vein regulation, and boosts flexibility around elbows, knees, and wrists. It is also significant because it dramatically affects collagen secretion, triggering a reduction in joint pains, wrinkles, dermatitis, and rosacea.

Serine improves nail and hair health strength, coordinates antibody production, aids vision, and advances vigor and harmony within sexual organs, cognition, and sporting activity potentials. In addition, serine promises no neurotoxicity, primarily attributed to the elevation of GABA.

Understanding the importance of amino acids and their role in our bodies showcases the significance of incorporating nutrient-rich foods like watercress into our diets. With its abundance of essential amino acids, watercress stands out as a vital addition to any meal plan, making it an excellent addition to a balanced diet, especially for vegetarians and vegans who may struggle to get enough protein from plant-based sources alone.

Get amped up on that leafy green goodness by adding watercress to salads, smoothies, sandwiches, wraps, omelets, pizza, and more. For find recipe inspiration on our social media pages and recipe site.

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Authors: Alexis Bozeman, healthy lifestyle content creator.
Ruth Bozeman has over 20 years in the marketing and health and fitness industries with a proven track record of trust and innovation.


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