17 Foods That Are Rich in Arginine

Foods rich in arginine include turkey, pork, red meat, chicken, pumpkin seeds, eggs, whole grains, spinach, peanuts, spirulina, etc. Keep reading to learn more.

Arginine is an amino acid required in the management of erectile dysfunction, heart disease and angina. It also helps in the healing of wounds, repairing tissues and bodybuilding. Arginine is present in some types of foods, but may also be taken in supplement forms. But when taken in supplements, arginine can have side effectsthat include diarrhea and other stomach upsets. It may also interact with some medications or aggravate health conditions. For these reasons, it makes sense to get it by eating foods rich in arginine.

Foods High in Arginine

1. Turkey

Turkey is at the top of foods rich in arginine with one cooked turkey breast providing 16 grams. Turkey is also rich in B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Pork

Pork loin provides as much as 14 grams of arginine from a rib, making it only second to turkey. Pork loin is lean and very low in saturated fat.

3. Lentils

Lentils like lima beans, kidney beans, nut butters, sunflower seeds, peas and peanuts are high in arginine. Besides, they are great sources of protein.

4. Red Meat

Meat is generally a good source of arginine beside other amino acids. It is also a source of high value protein. But don't overdo it because too much red meat can increase the risk of cardiovascular conditions, obesity besides stressing the liver and kidneys.

5. Whole Grains

Breads, pasta and other whole grain products provide significant amounts of arginine. For instance, 100 grams of whole wheat contains about 650mg arginine.

6. Eggs

Eggs provide high quality protein, for which reason they are a darling food for those who are intent on bodybuilding and fitness. Egg yolk contains more arginine at about 1.1 grams than egg whites at about 650 mg.

7. Pumpkin Seeds

These seeds are rich in protein and minerals like zinc and iron. They are also among the items of foods high in arginine at about 7 grams per cup.

8. Peanuts

One cup of peanuts provides 4.6 grams of arginine. But don't take a full cup at once due to their high fat content. Take them in smaller portions through the week to also benefit from the folate and niacin in the peanuts.

9. Spinach

Spinach is one food high in arginine, providing 3.3 grams from 100 grams of the vegetable.

10. Beverages

Beverages like black tea, cocoa, wine and beer contain significant amounts of arginine. Go easy on them, however, to avoid consuming too much caffeine.

11. Spirulina

Bluish-green spirulina is a marine algae that is popular as an ingredient in smoothies. It contains important nutrients including potassium, calcium, iron and niacin. Spirulina also contains about 4.6 grams of arginine per cup.

12. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are rich in protein, fiber and arginine. Chickpeas provide about 1.3 grams arginine, 12 grams fiber and 14.5 grams protein per cup.

13. Dairy Products

Yogurt, cheese and milk contain significant amounts of arginine, besides protein and other nutrients. For instance, a 4-ounce serving of cheese provides 0.25 grams of arginine, while one cup of milk provides 0.2 grams.

14. Fruits

Fruits have many health properties like minerals, vitamins, antioxidants as well as arginine. Some fruits are, however, among the foods high in arginine. These include kiwi, grapes, grapefruit, avocado and watermelon.

15. Chicken

Chicken is a nutritious white meat for people of different ages. It also contains significant amounts of arginine at 909 mg from a 100-gram serving. Chicken is a great source of high value protein, some vitamins, and is low in sodium. It is a great choice for those who seek to build lean muscles. It is, however, necessary to keep away from highly processed chicken to protect yourself from issues like prostate cancer, campylobacteriosis and high cholesterol. 

16. Walnuts

Walnuts are very rich in arginine with 100 grams providing 2278 mg of the amino acid. Walnuts are low in sodium and are a good source of fiber, manganese and copper. They also contain omega 3 fatty acids. They help in the management of type 2 diabetes and help prevent neurological disorders. Walnuts may be eaten raw, or be used as a garnish in sweet and savory dishes.

17. Seafood

Besides red meat, other animal-based foods high in arginine include crustaceans like lobsters, shrimps and crabs which contain between 3.6 and 3.8 grams of arginine in a 200 calorie serving. Other seafoodwith high amounts of arginine includes tuna, with 1.7 grams from 100 gram serving, and salmon with 1.2 grams from a 100 gram serving.

Precautions on Taking Arginine

It is normally difficult to consume excess arginine. However, it is best to ensure that your intake does not go beyond around 6,000mg, the recommended daily amount. Consuming excess amounts of arginine can lead to some gastrointestinal issues besides increasing the activity of PDE-5 inhibitors like Viagra.

In case you are considering taking arginine in supplement form, make a point of talking with your doctor first.

Arginine supplements should be avoided by people with the following:

  • Acute herpes simplex. Arginine can cause multiplication of the virus.
  • On prescription medications
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Low blood pressure
  • Allergies or asthma
  • Kidney disease
  • Recently operated on
  • Heart attack
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