It is strange, isn’t it? The more we grow up the more we realize how important it is to focus not only on the taste of the food dishes that we consume but also on the type of food that we eat. Our body functions properly on the basis of basic necessary fuels that are required to carry out certain bodily processes. Now, most of the times, we consider opting for foods that offer an overall great balance of every other nutrition that we need.
However, this often leads to inadequate amount of one nutrient that is present in lesser amounts in the same food that offers high quantities of other nutrition. For example, rice is rich in Methionine but not a great source of Lysine. Hence, it is important to base our diets on specific food sources to prevent any deficiency and health hazards.
To understand and discuss about it in detail, let us talk about Methionine, an essential amino acid, that is often left out especially in vegan diets. Let’s find out what it is and how is it important for our to function properly.
What is Methionine and Why Do You Need It In Your Diet?
Amino acids are considered as the essential building blocks that our bodies use to make proteins. Methionine is one of the essential amino acids and most definitely, the toughest one to obtain from a vegan diet. Methionine is largely found in meat, fish, dairy products, as well as in vegan-friendly plant-based food sources.
It is used to prevent liver damage, treating depression, allergies and asthma, as well as treating schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, etc. A person should aim for approximately 14 mg of Methionine per kg of body weight.
The most vital purpose of Methionine is that in acetaminophen poisoning, it prevents the breakdown products of acetaminophen from damaging your liver. Methionine also acts as an antioxidant, to help protect damages tissues. Some research-based reports have also suggested that Methionine can also help reduce radiation side effects, alcoholism, colon cancer, neural tube birth defects in women, and various other conditions as well. It is also believed to help protect from Parkinson’s disease, hot flashes, HSV & HPV, depression, alcoholism, liver dysfunction, allergies, asthma, Schizophrenia, etc.
Note: However, higher intakes of Methionine may be associated with an increased risk of negative health consequences, such as cardiovascular disease.
How Much Methionine Do You Need In A Day?
The RDA for Methionine, along with Cysteine (another essential amino acid) for the adults is considered as 14 mg/kg of body weight, each day. Therefore, it means that for someone weighing 70 kgs (154 lbs), the dose must be 1.1 grams per day.
According to researches, infants given two to five times the normal amount of Methionine did show signs of impaired growth, but no long-term adverse effects were noted.
The adult dosage of Methionine for acetaminophen overdose is 2.5 grams every four hours and therefore, it is essential to get medical help in similar situations.
It becomes all the way more important to always consult with a healthcare provider regarding the regular dosage of your Methionine/supplements.
Interestingly, research has shown that some vegetarians have higher blood concentrations of Methionine than in those who are meat-eaters, which implies that not all vegetarians necessarily require taking Methionine supplements.
Is a Vegan Diet Deficient in Methionine?
To answer that in all fairness, it is indeed a chore to obtain adequate amount of Mithionine from a vegan diet. That’s because most Methionine-rich food sources are animal-based and provide a high quality Methionine amino acid to maintain a balanced amino acid profile for the body. Although there’s no denial that there are certain plant-based vegan Methionine sources, the proportions may vary widely as compared to animal-based sources.
To name a few good examples Methionine-rich vegan foods, vital wheat gluten and oats top the list. In case of a Methionine deficiency, a person may experience abnormal liver function, hair loss and poor skin tone among others.
Signs that may Indicate A Methionine Deficiency
Methionine deficiency is usually associated with an overall protein deficiency. Some of the most common yet significant symptoms of Methionine deficiency include:
- Excessive hair loss
- Poor skin tone
- Toxic elevation of metabolic waste products
- Hepatic dysfunction
- Neural tube defects in pregnant women
Some symptoms of Methionine toxicity include:
- Nausea and gastrointestinal irritation
- Reduced Growth
- Suppressed Hematocrit
- Occasional Hallucinations
The Best Vegan Methionine Sources
There are many vegan-friendly plant-based foods that offer somewhere between low to high amount of Methionine for the body. To choose a few best from the list, there are many that actually live up to worth. Some of the best vegan foods containing Methionine are vital wheat gluten, spinach, Brazil nuts, hemp seeds sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, oats, pumpkin seeds, and many more.
Therefore, let’s look at the Methionine per 100 calories and per serving table below, to understand which food has the highest amount of Methionine and which of them scores the least. Through this table, it should be easier to know which one to opt for in your regular diet full of Methionine.
|Food||Serving||Energy (KCAL)||Methionine (G)||Methionine (G) Per 100 Calories|
|Vital wheat gluten||100 g||370||0.98||0.26|
|Brazil nut||0.5 cup||438||0.75||0.17|
|Pumpkin seeds||1 cup||285||0.27||0.09|
|Sesame seeds||0.5 cup||413||0.42||0.10|
|Hemp seeds||3 tbsp||166||0.28||0.17|
|Kidney beans||1 cup||225||0.23||0.10|
|Black beans||1 cup||227||0.23||0.10|
Hence, this abovementioned chart makes it quite significant that the best sources of Methionine are vital gluten, nuts/seeds, grain. Although beans score towards the bottom of the list, one can obtain a decent amount of Methionine from them. So, you can easily mix and match these foods with other items in your diet, and prepare a delicious yet healthy nutrition-packed meal for yourself.
To conclude, although it is quite difficult to obtain Methionine from a vegan diet, it is not largely impossible. You have to pay close attention on the type of food you’re opting for and have a clear insight of its Methionine value. Once you list up your favorites from the list, you can easily incorporate them in your regular plant-based vegan diet. Some of the delicious recipes that you can try are:
- Brazil nut burgers
- Lentil with spinach
- Vegan tofu with spinach scramble
- Lentil spinach soup
- Mushroom onion spinach sandwich
- Hemp seeds porridge with fruits
- Banana hemp granola
- Thai peanut salad
- Sesame seed noodles with collard greens and vegan croutons
Hence, the next time you wish to prepare a delicious meal to obtain Methionine for your body, make sure to try out any of these (or all if you want but not at once!) to satisfy your taste buds.