Amino acids are building blocks of protein, and lysine is one of them. This is one of the 9 essential amino acids that are produced by the body. Lysine helps in proper calcium absorption and creation of collagen. It’s also vital in carnitine production, which is a nutrient that helps lower the level of cholesterol and turn fatty acids to energy. This amino acid is also used in treating herpes. The recommended daily intake or RDI of lysine is 13.6 mg per pound or 30 mg per kilogram of the total body weight.
Low level of lysine in the body can cause fatigue, blood shot eyes, and anemia. If you have lysine deficiency, you can eat foods high in lysine to meet the demands of your body and keep it working properly. Here are some of the foods that have the highest amount of lysine to add in your diet.
1. White Beans
White beans are affordable, versatile, and healthy. They are high in B vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. They also contain lysine. One cup or 179 grams of white beans gives 1196 mg of lysine or 57% RDI. Other types of beans are also high in lysine including, garbanzo beans with 46% RDI of lysine per cup, black beans with 50% RDI, kidney beans with 51%, lentils with 59%, split peas with 56%, yellow beans with 53%, and roman beans with 54%.
2. Raw Eggs
Eggs are rich in vitamin B2, B12, B6, and D, as well as copper, iron, and zinc. Raw eggs yield 2216 mg of lysine or 106% RDI per cup or per 243 grams. The level of lysine is lower in cooked eggs. You’ll get 20% RDI from a scrambled egg and 22% RDI from omelette, poached, hard boiled, and fried eggs.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds help in bone formation, and prevention of insomnia, heart disease, and diabetes. They are packed with zinc, copper, and antioxidants. One cup or 64 grams of pumpkin seeds contains 887 mg or 42% RDI of lysine. Other seeds that also contain lysine are almonds with 8% RDI per ounce, sesame seeds with 9% RDI, flaxseeds with 11% RDI, watermelon seeds with 12% RDI, and sunflower seeds with 13% RDI.
4. Cooked Shrimp
Shrimps are known for their protein content, but they are also high in iodine, copper, choline, phosphorous, vitamin B12, and selenium. You will get 478 mg or 23% RDI of lysine from four large shrimps, which weigh a total of 22 grams. There are also several other seafoods that are high in lysine. Squid has 53% RDI of lysine per 3 ounces, oysters with 57%, crayfish with 62%, mussels with 72%, clams with 77%, crab with 83%, octopus with 90%, and lobster with 93%. Cuttlefish gives almost the complete RDI for lysine at 98%.
5. Cooked Tuna
Tuna is known for its omega-3 content, which is good for the heart. It lowers cholesterol level and protects the heart from various diseases. It’s also high in lysine. The lysine content of half fillet tuna or 154 grams of tuna is 3989 mg or 190% RDI. If you love fishes, there are also other options that are rich in lysine. For every 3 ounces of cooked salmon, you’ll get 100% RDI, cod with 85%, haddock with 86%, sea bass with 88%, pollock with 93%, halibut with 94%, mackerel with 97%, and snapper with 98%.
6. Roasted Soybeans
Soybeans have several benefits including the prevention of cancer, proper circulation, improved digestive health, and heart protection. A cup of soybeans or 93 grams of these will give you 2450 mg of lysine or 117% RDI. Other soya foods are also good sources of lysine. An ounce of tempeh gives 12% RDI of lysine, boiled and fermented soybeans with 15%, soy chips with 22%, soy flour with 31%, and dried frozen tofu with 42%.
7. Lean Pork Chops
Every 180 grams of cooked lean pork chops contain 4,963 mg of lysine or 236% RDI. Other pork cuts also yield high amount of lysine. Every 3 ounces of spare ribs give 106% RDI of lysine, ham with 107%, pork sirloin with 109%, low fat ground pork with 110%, pork tenderloin with 111%, and bacon with 140%. Pork is also rich in zinc and B vitamin.
8. Turkey Wing
Turkey is low in fat and high in vitamin B6, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and iron. The wing part is specifically high in lysine. One wing or 375 grams can give 11,663 mg of lysine or 555% RDI. Other turkey meats are also good sources of lysine. Every 3 ounces of fat free ground turkey yields 115% RDI of lysine, turkey drumsticks with 117%, and turkey breast with 123%. Chicken also contains lysine. Chicken wings have 104% RDI, and chicken breast with 125% RDI also per 3 ounces.
9. Parmesan Cheese
This is not only yummy but it’s also rich in calcium, vitamin A, and sodium. It’s also high in lysine as 28 grams or an ounce of parmesan cheese will give you 926 mg of lysine or 44% RDI. Other types of cheese will also do as an ounce of Monterey cheese gives 27% RDI of lysine, hard goat’s cheese with 29%, reduced-fat mozzarella with 33%, Swiss cheese with 34%, and Romano cheese with 39%.
10. Lean Beef
It’s high in antioxidants, and low in fats. Lean beef is also rich in lysine, as 296 grams of this will give you 10603 mg of lysine or 505% of the recommended daily intake. This is specifically for roast beef. Other beef cuts are good sources of lysine. Every 3 ounces of beef tenderloin give 131% RDI of lysine, sirloin steak with 132%, rib-eye steak with 135%, and beef ribs with 137%.
Things to Remember
Lysine is a naturally occurring nutrient in the body. However, if you don’t have enough lysine in the system, you can supplement this with lysine that you can get from various types of foods like the ones listed above. This is to prevent the negative effects of lysine deficiency in the body.