Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. One of the most significant non-essential amino acids is glutamine (scientific name: L-Glutamine). It is present abundantly in our body, especially in bones, muscle tissues, lungs, and blood.
Glutamine performs various functions like boosting up our muscles and maintaining our immune system. There are several food items full of this necessary amino acid that we find in our daily diet. People who are into intense workouts or are recovering from wounds and burns must have a glutamine-rich diet.
In this article, we’ll learn about glutamine, its functions, and glutamine-rich foods. We’ll also know how these foods can boost your muscles!
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that occurs naturally in proteins like meat, eggs, whey protein, and casein. Even though it is non-essential, it is still needed in a protein to make it complete. Complete proteins are required for muscle gain and recovery.
Glutamine is present in our bodies naturally. But, sometimes it becomes necessary to intake it from external resources because of extreme workouts, illness, wounds, or aging.
What are the benefits of glutamine?
Glutamine is touted as a muscle builder. It has been shown to aid recovery from muscle soreness and increasing glycogen replenishment. If we can recover quicker from intense exercising, we can train more. In the long run, it is equal to building more muscles.
Glutamine can help build the immune system after endurance training that is two hours or more. This can allow you to be healthier as it can allow you to train more. Your immune system also prefers this as an energy source because it breaks down quicker than glycogen (carbohydrate).
There are several other benefits of glutamine which are as follows:
- Builds strength and stamina
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Assists the body in producing antioxidants like glutathione
- Transports nitrogen into muscle cells as glutamine consists of approximately 20% nitrogen
- Also helps with insomnia, schizophrenia, and irritable bowel disease
- Prevents constipation and diarrhea
- Improves brain function
Generally, people in the bodybuilding industry, athletes, or wrestlers are told to add glutamine-rich food and supplements to their diet. But, it can be beneficial for people who are recovering from severe wounds and burns.
What are the Best Glutamine-Rich Foods?
Any food that contains proteins is rich in glutamine. But, the ratio of glutamine to other amino acids differs from food to food. Certain items are superabundant with glutamine.
We have mentioned the top food items that should be added to your diet to attain more glutamine. We have also made sure that these food items are easily accessible to you so that you don’t have to roam around to achieve your glutamine goals.
1. Dairy Products
Milk: We’ve heard ‘n’ number of reasons for drinking milk. It contains calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D that help in tissue and bone repair. But, very few people know that milk is a rich source of glutamine.
Grass-fed milk (milk that comes from cows or goats) contains abundant glutamine. It helps in the production of an antioxidant called glutathione. Drinking grass-fed milk every day can stabilize our glutamine level.
Yogurt: Yogurt consists of probiotics that help in enhancing digestion. We all know that yogurt is good for our health. Adding yogurt to your diet can help you stabilize glutamine levels.
Tips: Instead of using yogurt that comes in processed form, it is better to use homemade yogurt.
Adding yogurt to your salad can prove to be beneficial.
Using yogurt made from grass-fed milk is better than other yogurts available in the market.
Ricotta Cheese: Adding a few drops of lime juice or citric acid to milk leads to the precipitation of milk protein and gives rise to ricotta cheese. Ricotta cheese made with grass-fed milk contains a high quantity of glutamine. Ricotta cheese is tasty and can be used with burgers, sandwiches, and wraps.
Warning: Lactose intolerant people should look for other sources of glutamine.
Nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts are rich sources of glutamine. They also contain fibers, bioactive compounds, and fatty acids like omega-3.
A handful of these nuts can help you meet your glutamine requirements. You can also add them to your breakfast smoothies, salads, or flavored rice.
Roasting them can decrease their nutritional value. So, they must be taken in raw form. Also, they should not be consumed in large amounts.
3. Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables, especially the ones grown in India, are good sources of glutamine. Some examples are Spinach (Paalak), Mustard (Sarso), Chenopodium album (Bathua), Fenugreek (Methi), etc.
If you feel fatigued or get tired after a workout session, green leafy vegetables can help you build stamina, strength, and endurance. They also help in enhancing the immune system.
Green leafy vegetables are very good for detox. There are various ways in which you can corporate them into your diet. Some methods are to turn them into curries, smoothies, or juices.
Cabbage is known for its nutritional value that helps in improving the immune system and building overall health. It is a source of potassium, folic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
Cabbage, essentially red cabbage, is a vital food for glutamine needs. But, consuming cabbage without cooking is preferred because cooking the cabbage can reduce the content of glutamine. So, you can add it to your salads or smoothies.
This one is good news for people with non-vegetarian eating habits.
Meats are a good source of glutamine. The best examples of glutamine-rich meats are chicken, lamb, or mutton.
But, it is necessary to keep a check on how much red meat you are consuming. Eating large quantities of it can lead to high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Creating a balanced diet by adding green leafy vegetables to meat can help.
If you like eating Indian Salmon (Rawas) or Rohu fish curry, you get a good dose of glutamine. Seafood like fish, shrimp, crabs, etc., can be a great source of glutamine.
The content of glutamine is more in seawater fish than in freshwater fish. Also, don’t overcook the fish as it loses its nutritional value and taste.
Eggs are full of glutamine. They are very beneficial for people who exercise regularly. They are also rich carriers of vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin K, and selenium.
You can incorporate eggs into your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The advantage of eggs is that you can consume them in any form like an omelet, bhurji, curry, or plain boiled.
8. Legumes and Beans
Legumes and beans are the best sources of glutamine for any vegetarian or vegan person. Soya beans, Kidney beans (Rajma), Peas (Matar), Chickpeas (Chole), and Lentils (Masoor) are some examples of glutamine-rich legumes that are easily available in the Indian market.
You can add them to your diet without any effort. You can easily make legumes or beans into curry or soup. You can eat fermented legumes and beans as salads.
Parsley is proof that herbs can be healthy and tasty at the same time. Usually, we use parsley as a topping with other foods like soups. It is a source of minerals, fiber, and a few vitamins.
Parsley is another source of glutamine. It is a bit hard to find at local vendors, but you can easily find it in supermarkets.
10. Protein drinks or supplements
Sometimes, our busy schedules don’t allow us to take our diets properly. Due to some reason, we might not be able to consume the proper quantities of proteins like we are supposed to.
To solve this problem, we have various protein supplements or drinks available in the market that help us achieve our protein goals.
Before purchasing any such supplement, it is necessary to research properly about it.
Can we get glutamine from soya?
Yes, soya is highly rich in proteins like glutamine. Many products like soya milk or tofu are made of soya which can be used as sources of glutamine.
Is it safe to intake glutamine from external sources?
Yes, it is safe to intake glutamine from food especially when the body shows a lack of glutamine.
Our body requires around six grams of glutamine every day. Lack of glutamine in our body can cause loss of strength and stamina. To prevent this from happening, there are foods and drinks you can add to your diet.
Glutamine has countless benefits. It can keep our body fit and our digestive system clean and healthy.
We hope that you understood the importance of glutamine and its necessity in your diet. We would love to know your favorite source of glutamine. Share with us in the comment section!
After completing this graduation in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Manipal University in 2013, Ankit began rummaging the current Indian market of technology and science. At apolloedoc, Ankit’s job profile consists of cumulating, researching, testing, and verifying products related to tech.
He has a knack for details and catches even the tiniest advantages and flaws that can make or break the product. Since last year, he has been writing for apolloedoc and has been our knight in shining armour when reviewing home appliances.
Ankit’s favourite pastimes consist of jamming onto his guitar with a couple of friends and constantly updating and learning new things! He is also a big-time pet lover and has a cute little pug named Oreo back in Chandigarh. He has bagged many achievements in his college by participating in multiple extracurricular activities.
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