There is nothing as important as proper nutrition for maintaining good health, strength, vitality, and energy. Some people consume a wholesome diet and are looking healthy, and there are others who restrict themselves to a completely vegan diet, but still, they look equally good. So, regardless of the diet, you consume, proper nutrition is essential for all human beings. You just need to ensure that your body gets all the vital nutrients that it requires for optimal performance.
That said, there has been ongoing research and controversy about the ’vegan diet” where a section of the opinions argue that a strict vegan diet does not provide the body with all the required nutrients. Carnosine, in particular, is one such nutrient that has been a topic of contention regarding the vegan diet.
Well, here is the thing; a vegan diet is a excellent diet is both cleansing and healing. It is equally nutritious and has proven to be quite beneficial to those that follow it. However, scientific proof indicates that most vegetarians are deficient in this essential nutrient (Carnosine), among others. And this is because there aren’t many Carnosine food sources for vegan diets as there are for the regular diet.
So, as we proceed with this discussion…
What is Carnosine and what are its benefits?
To begin with, Carnosine is a molecule made up of two amino acids joined by a single peptide bond. It is a combination of beta-alanine and histidine amino acids that are said to be highly concentrated in the brain and muscle tissues.
According to scientific evidence, Carnosine is some form of antioxidant. As a matter of fact, it is believed that Carnosine cleans reactive oxygen-containing molecules formed as a natural byproduct of oxygen metabolism during oxidative stress.
The duo acts as an immune booster and an anti-glycating agent. According to research, Carnosine reduces the rate at which AGEs (advanced glycating end-products) are formed. It also contains properties that are believed to have the potential to expel toxic amounts of metals like lead, mercury, and iron from the body.
As an immune booster, Carnosine helps to strengthen the immune system to fight against diseases such as Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s among others.
Its anti-glycating, antioxidant and metal chelation properties qualify Carnosine as an excellent anti-aging supplement. It is said that a steady provision of Carnosine to the body can significantly help to protect the body from the harmful effects of oxidative stress.
Carnosine’s potential goes far beyond being an antioxidant and an anti-glycating agent. Previous research also shows that this amino acid also can improve the socialization, and receptive ability of autistic children. This could mail be attributed to the increased level of corticosterone which may explain the hyperactivity among children with this medical condition.
This amino acid has the potential to inhibit growth of cancerous cells in the body. It can also protect the brain from the effects of cerebral ischemia (a condition where the brain does not get enough blood supply), as well as protect the liver from damages caused by the intake of ethanol.
People on a low protein diet and those who are malnutrition are often pre-disposed to a Carnosine deficiency. And we know that Carnosine plays a very significant role in our body, which means that lack or reduced amounts of it will have negative effects on how the body functions.
A Carnosine deficiency can lead to the following;
- Premature aging
- Retarded mental health
- Decreased muscle tone
- Vulnerability to certain disease, e., cancer, diabetes due to a weakened immunity
Top Carnosine food sources for vegan
Compared to the regular diet that includes meat and other animal proteins, a vegan diet is said to be deficient in Carnosine or rather provides less Carnosine. This is because this duo is proven to be synthesized in the muscles and brain tissues which obviously lack in vegetable plants.
For those on the regular diet, beef, pork, poultry, meat, and other animal-based proteins are rich sources of Carnosine.
Unfortunately, a strict vegan diet does not allow for the consumption of these food items. So if you are a vegetarian, there are still some food sources that can provide your body with essential amounts of Carnosine. These are;
- White mushrooms
As a vegetarian, you may be used to eating colorful vegetables as these some people believe are tastier. But contrary to what most vegans might think, white mushrooms although not colorful are quite delicious and very nutritious.
Edamame is soy beans only that this is consumed while still green. You can find Edamame in any grocery store in the freezer section.
Besides being super delicious and well, quite pricey asparagus is one of the most sought-after vegetable with a high nutrient value. So for vegans looking for a Carnosine source, then asparagus it is.
- Green peas
Beta-alanine and histidine, which are both constituents of Carnosine are said to be highly present in green peas. Therefore making this plant-based food part of your vegan diet can help supplement your body with the much needed Carnosine.
Soybeans as we all a high protein food. According to science, soybeans seem to contain significant amounts of Carnosine constituents and as such is highly recommended as an alternative Carnosine source for vegetarians.
Plant-based foods although highly recommended for vegans do not provide the best amounts and quality of Carnosine the body needs. As such Carnosine supplements are mostly recommended for people, who follow this strict and demanding diet. When looking for these supplements, be sure to ask for vegetarian Carnosine supplements; they are available in most commercial stores.
While Carnosine has proven to be an important and beneficial nutrient in our bodies, we cannot also forget the importance of vegetables and their nutritive purposes. Therefore, if you can have an assortment of both meat and vegetables then good, but if your diet, i.e. vegan restricts you from taking any animal-based products, then the food sources mentioned above can be helpful in ensuring that you don’t miss out on the fantastic benefits Carnosine has to offer.