Methionine is an essential amino acid, which means it's a nutrient you must obtain from food sources. Even if you are vegan, you probably don't have to worry too much about it. That's because current evidence suggests that so long as you are meeting your energy needs with a variety of plant foods each day, you are likely providing your body with all the essential amino acids it needs.
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According to the World Health Organization, adults need approximately 13 mg per kilogram of body weight per day of methionine and cystine combined. Recent research is beginning to indicate that higher intakes of methionine may be associated with an increased risk of negative health consequences, such as cardiovascular disease. Vegans may have an advantage because foods such as seeds, nuts, and grains tend to have lower amounts of methionine than animal foods.
Sunflower Seed Butter
Sunflower seed butter is more widely available these days as many people are finding themselves allergic to peanuts. Like other seeds, sunflower seeds contain methionine. One tablespoon of sunflower seed butter contains about 70 mg of it. Sunflower seed butter has a mild taste and can be used just like peanut butter. You can pair it with jelly or jam to make a sandwich, or you can add it to your favorite smoothie.
Just like seeds, nuts are also a good source of methionine. Brazil nuts are particularly high in it. One ounce, or about six Brazil nuts, contain approximately 286 mg of methionine. Brazil nuts are often consumed raw and out of the shell. These large nuts can also be chopped and added to cookies and cakes, or even blended with spices and used as a spread for crackers and toast.
Oats are packed full of fiber and protein, but they also happen to provide a good amount of methionine. One cup of cooked oats contains about 108 mg of methionine. You're probably familiar with having oats as a hot cereal for breakfast, but they can also be made into granola or added to muffins. Consider adding seeds and nuts to your oatmeal for a methionine-rich meal.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Plant Proteins in Relation to Human Protein and Amino Acid Nutrition; Young V.R., Pellett P.L.; May 1994
- World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization; Requirements for Essential Amino Acids; 1985
- "Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases"; High Dietary Methionine Intake Increases the Risk of Acute Coronary Events in Middle-aged Men; Virtanen J.K., et al.; March 2006
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference