Food Sources of ATP

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Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, acts as a source of fuel within your cells. Formed from a series of chemical reactions, carbohydrates, proteins and fats can all be converted into ATP following digestion. Each cell within your body utilizes ATP to fuel the chemical reactions required for proper cellular functioning. It is also found in the animal and plant cells, and a number of foods provide a source of ATP.

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Meat and Fish

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One type of food that provides a source of ATP is meat and fish. These foods contain several animal cells, with each cell containing preformed ATP. The nutrients found within meats and fish may also provide a source of ATP within your body. Upon consumption, the fatty acids and proteins in meats and fish are digested and absorbed. If your body requires an immediate source of energy, these nutrients are used to make ATP within your own cells, helping to fuel your body. When selecting meats and fish as a source of ATP, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends selecting poultry and fresh fish and avoiding fatty cuts of red meat that contain high levels of saturated fat.



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Nuts also provide a source of ATP for your body, as each cell within the nut contains a reserve of ATP used as cellular fuel. In addition to their ATP content, nuts provide energy to your body through their fat, carbohydrate and protein content, which can be converted into ATP following digestion. Nuts also contain dietary fiber, plant material that passes through your gastrointestinal tract unchanged. Consuming fiber each day helps promote a healthy digestive tract, allowing your intestines to work efficiently to absorb the nutrients and ATP from the food you eat. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University recommends consuming five, 1-oz. servings of nuts weekly as a healthy source of several nutrients, including ATP.


Vegetables and Fruits

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Other sources of ATP in your diet include vegetables and fruits. These foods all contain a wealth of plant cells, each containing an ATP reserve. Vegetables and fruits also contain carbohydrates, which are converted into glucose within your cells after consumption, and then used to make ATP as needed. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables also has a number of other health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders and some types of cancer, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Consume a range of fruits and vegetables, and aim to eat at least nine servings of these foods each day, both as a source of ATP and other nutrients.