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Top 10 Food Containing Phenylalanine

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Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid, which means it is required to stay healthy but our body cannot produce it. Thus, eating sufficient quantities of Food Containing Phenylalanine is necessary to maintain normal protein composition,  brain chemicals (L-dopa, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), and thyroid hormone production. Deficiency of this vital amino acid can cause confusion, lack of energy, depression, decreased alertness, memory problems, and lack of appetite. Conversely, if you suffer from Phenylketouria (PKU) you need to steer clear of food containing phenylalanine completely to avoid irreversible mental retardation. Also, excess supplemental intake that crosses 5000mg/day can be toxic and cause nerve damage.  In any of these cases knowledge of the food sources of phenylalanine is important.


Food Sources of Phenylalanine

Protein rich foods like beef, poultry, pork, fish, milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese, soy products, and certain nuts and seeds contain appreciable amounts of phenylalanine. Artificial sweetener aspartame also contains high amount of the amino acid.


Top 10 Food Containing Phenylalanine


  1. Fish: Fish, especially catfish, salmon, and trout can add 3000 to 4500 mg of phenylalanine per pound to your diet.
  2. Seafood: Other seafood like mollusks are also equally good sources of phenylalanine as fish, and provide almost equivalent amount of the nutrient.
  3. Poultry: Chicken and turkey are phenylalanine rich sources. Poultry can give you 2000 – 4500 mg of the amino acid per pound.
  4. Meat: Beef, pork, game meat, lamb, and veal are excellent sources of phenylalanine. The can provide anywhere between 1000 to 4500 mg/pound.
  5. Cottage Cheese: Dry cottage cheese contains 2300 mg of phenylalanine per cup, and the creamed product contains 1647mg/cup.
  6. Roasted Peanuts: Roasted peanuts without skin contain 3500 mg of phenylalanine per cup.
  7. Sesame Seeds: Sesame is a phenylalanine rich food (3000 mg/cup), and can be incorporated in many recipes.
  8. Lentils: Whole dry lentils are an excellent source of phenylalanine for vegans, and can give you around 2500mg of the amino acid per cup.
  9. Soybean: Soy and soy products like protein isolates, tofu, etc are good sources of phenylalanine (2000mg/100g)
  10. Nuts: All nuts can act as phenylalanine sources, but almonds (1500mg/100g) are the best source of the amino acid.


To keep healthy consuming only phenylalanine is just not enough, a judicious mix of all amino acids is required. Read our article and learn more about How to Identify Items that are a Good Source of Amino acids.

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Top 10 Food Containing Phenylalanine