Top 10 Healthy Foods High in L-Arginine | What Foods to avoid?

Top 10 Foods High In Arginine

L-arginine is a term which doesn’t come across very often. When we talk about some kinds of food that we eat and nutrients we aim for, it mainly constitutes protein, carbs and fibres. But we never think to get foods rich in l-arginine.

Despite of its ability to lower blood pressure, increase stamina and boost energy, l-arginine commonly remains widely unknown.

L-Arginine or Arginine is basically a type of amino acids that are building blocks of protein. Proteins are broken down into smaller particles and then absorbed into the body. They can be taken apart and put back into entirely new way to make different types of protein that are later needed by our body.

L-arginine is semi-essential amino acids. These types of amino acids are not needed in normal conditions but may be helpful in certain situations. Deficiency of this type of amino acid is very rare. However, deficiency in l-arginine can occur if body’s production does not meet the body’s requirement.

essential elements of amino acid

Why Do We Need It?

This semi-essential amino acid is needed in the case when your body suffers from trauma, or an injury, burns or even a surgical procedure. In such circumstances, higher amount of l-arginine is required more than your own body can actually synthesize.

Meanwhile, this supplement helps in:

  • widening the walls of blood vessels
  • improving blood flow
  • maintaining cardiovascular health
  • aids kidney in removing waste
  • boosts function of immune system
  • repairs tissue heal wounds

Moreover, people consume l-arginine as dietary supplement in order to manage heart disease, angina, and erectile dysfunction as well as for bodybuilding. Getting l-arginine from high-protein rich foods is totally safe and healthy.

Let’s discuss few foods rich in l-arginine in the section below.


10 Food Items Rich in L-arginine

  1. Turkey BreastOven-Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast Recipe

Turkey breast is one of the best foods which is high in l-arginine because turkey is said to make people sleepy, though it truly takes a lot of turkey breast to make someone tired. This food item is a healthy choice because it is lean, low in calories and a rich source of protein and l-arginine.

There is 2000 mg of l-arginine present in approx 100 grams of turkey breast. This is absolutely considerable amount of l-arginine in just one serving. Even few slices of turkey breast in a day are enough to keep your energized and lowering blood pressure.

  1. Chicken BreastLemon-Oregano Chicken Breasts

Chicken breast is another lean meat food high in l-arginine for your diet. It is high in protein, low in fat and has approx 9000 mg of l-ariginine in a single breast. You will get about 70% of your daily needed protein in just one chicken breast.

But, make sure that chicken is skinless so that you can avoid eating too much of fat and calories. It is an excellent source of protein along with low sodium content with saturated fat. And it is an excellent choice for those individuals who wish to increase muscle mass without becoming obese.

  1. Pork Loins

    Herb Roasted Pork Loin

It is another high protein rich food which comes with 14 grams per rib l-arginine content. Since it is one of the leanest cuts of pork, so it is basically lower in fat. You can add some flavor and use marinade without extra flavor.

Consumption of pork loin on regular basis delivers cardiovascular and metabolic health benefits. However, you can use roasted loin for your dinner, paired with salad or gravy. Also, it can be made more delicious when you make sandwich with pork slices. In general, you can have it in many ways.

  1. Lentilsdelicious Lentils

Lentils are plant based food and healthy which is full of protein, fibre and l-arginine. Lentils can be cooked into various delicious dishes and soups. Generally, a cup of l-arginine has 1300 mg of l-arginine content.

Eating a cup of lentils can give you over 60% of your daily diet which includes fibre intake and helping digestive track. So try this and have a cup of hearty soup which is not only delicious but healthy too. It gives you l-arginine more than you need.

  1. SoybeansOrganic Soybeans

Soybeans or Edamame can be eaten when you either boil or steam them. It is absolutely ideal for making up on either snacks or toppings on salad. Interestingly, most the Japanese restaurants serve soybeans as appetizers too.

There is nearly 4600 mg of l-arginine in single cup of cooked soybeans. Apart from l-arginine, you also get plenty of fibre, magnesium and potassium with beans. You can try them as healthy snack alternative. Other healthy benefits of soybean include prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis as well as alleviation of menopausal symptoms.

  1. Almonds & PeanutsAlmonds are a nutritious snack

Peanuts are rich source of protein whereas almonds are rich source of vitamin E. However, there is 2500 mg of l-arginine in just 100 grams of almonds and 4600 mg l-arginine in a cup of peanuts. But don’t eat them all together because both are very high in fat as well.

Rather try to eat some of them every day in their original form or as peanut or almond butter on whole grain toasts, in smoothies or with apples or bananas. These nuts are rich in nutrients like vitamin E and B3, niacin and folate. Try to avoid eating them too much because they are high in calories and fat.

  1. Chickpeaschickpeas in a bowl

This is a wonderful source and a great way of getting enough protein and fibre especially when you don’t eat meat. Only a cup of cooked chickpeas contain 1.3 grams of l-arginine, 14.5 grams of protein and 12.5 grams of dietary fibre.

There are researches that suggest chickpeas play an essential role in weight management and glucose and insulin regulation. It is very easy to cook. You can either make chickpea salad or boil chickpeas or roast them for healthy and light snack.

  1. Lobster

Grilled lobster with lemon and chive breadcrumbs

It is one of the famous sea foods easily available in 5-star hotels and lavish restaurants. This is another l-arginine rich food which contains 1642 mg of amino acid in 100 grams serving. Lobsters are also low in saturated fat but high in sodium and cholesterol.

High quality proteins and vitamins are some of its nutritional benefits. Though they are bit expensive but very delicious and rich source of l-arginine. In order to have them, you can grill it to make it tasty or make lobster bisque.

  1. Lean Beef

Lean ground beef is made from whole cuts of beef

The nutritional value of l-arginine per 100 gram serving is 1461 mg. This red meat is a great source of phosphorus, protein, niacin and vitamins. It is very low in sodium and high in cholesterol. Being a part of healthy and balanced diet, it is rich source of high biological value protein and other essential nutrients.

It not only aids in maintaining the l-arginine level but also helpful in other health benefits. It treats anemia and maintains health of red blood cells. It is also helpful in the production of hormones and proper brain functioning. However, do not consume it excessively because it may lead to some serious health disorders.

  1. Pumpkin Seeds

Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are another great source of l-arginine with other nutritional benefit. One cup of pumpkin seeds has around 7 grams of l-arginine content. It is also a great source of iron and zinc. You can use them as topping for crunchy salad or as a part of trial mix.

Pumpkin seeds are also packed with protein and fiber. It is also regarded as one of the world’s best source of magnesium, a mineral that fortifies your bones and improves blood circulation in the body.

Foods to avoid

Meanwhile, intake of l-arginine rich food on high level can be little risky as it can cause outbreak of cold sores. It can be particularly troublesome. So you must restrict your l-arginine rich foods when you have got cold sores.

Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus and l-ariginine rich foods generally trigger herpes virus. So according to ayuvedic principles, avoid eating sour, acidic, sweet and salty foods as they are the main source of cold sores.

In addition, peaches, tamarinds, hone, gingers, mints, mustard oils, plums, groundnut oil must be avoided. Avoid chocolates, spirulina, squash, oats, wheat that are very high in l-argenine.

Things to remember!

L-arginine is naturally produced amino acid in the body and very rarely any individual faces its deficiency. Yet, 1200 mg of l-arginine a day is recommended by doctors even though there is no established RDA for this amino acid.

Before taking l-arginine, you must keep following points in your mind.

  • Always ask your doctor first before taking any l-arginine supplements.
  • Try to avoid arginine deficiencies by eating some l-arginine rich foods.
  • Most of the arginine rich foods are high in cholesterol so you must maintain a pace.
  • Some sea foods are also rich in arginine including lobster, shrimps or crabs, etc.
  • However, be careful while eating sea foods as they can be little allergic.
  • Dietary products such as cheese and yogurt are also rich source of l-arginine.
  • Though peanuts, walnuts and soybeans are high in l-arginine but can induce allergic reactions.

More Stories: How L-Arginine Will Drive Your Testosterone Levels Up (Or Maybe Down)

Maggie Herbert
Maggie is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and sports nutritionists. She deepened her knowledge of nutrition after attending the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Get Me on Social Channels: About Me | Facebook | Instagram | Google+  |  Quora

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