Boost Your Metabolism with Foods High in Lysine

Updated on March 30th, 2020
foods high in lysine

Lysine is a vital amino acid required to build proteins. It brings with it a host of health benefits that can improve the quality of your life – from helping you overcome herpes simplex viral infections to enhancing your athletic abilities.

Considering that lysine is an essential amino acid, one has to consume foods high in lysine to get their recommended dosage. You may even resort to lysine supplements for getting an adequate amount in their system.

Benefits of Lysine

Following are some of the key health benefits of lysine:

  • Lysine helps in protein synthesis, which helps stabilize bodily functions like sleep and metabolism. Proteins are also the building blocks of hormones and enzymes.
  • It also helps stimulate the production of collagen(1), the main structural protein in the skin. Lysine also helps with calcium absorption.
  • When you follow a diet that contains foods high in L-Lysine, along with a diet of foods that you need to avoid with herpes, you will notice a faster recovery from herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections like cold sores. In fact, lysine may prevent an outbreak of HSV infections.
  • It may help bring down blood pressure and control blood sugar levels.
  • Studies(2) indicate that lysine helps reduce stress by blocking stress response receptors. Further, it has also proven(3) to be effective against lowering stress-induced anxiety.

List of Foods High in Lysine

Here we list out the lysine-rich foods that you can make a part of your diet!

Plant-Based Vegan Foods High in Lysine

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the best-known vegetables that are high in lysine. Considering that tomatoes are technically fruits, they can also be considered to be fruits high in lysine!

Sun-dried tomatoes contain about 175mg of lysine (and only 115mg of arginine!) On the other hand; canned tomatoes contain 253mg of lysine.

You can consume sun-dried tomato pesto, red tomato pasta sauce, and tomato juice or soup to get your lysine dosage.

[Also Read: Arginine Foods Benefits ]

2. Soybeans


Soybeans and soy products that feature prominently in vegan diets. Given the variety of soy products, you can easily incorporate them into your diet.

Dry roasted soybeans contain a whopping 1168mg of lysine, while raw seeds contain 1214mg of lysine. However, do bear in mind that soybeans are also very high in arginine.

You can consume soy in the form of edamame, roasted seeds, tofu, soy sauce, and even soy protein isolate. Roasted soy makes a great snack, while tofu a staple protein in vegan stir-fries is another option.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa grains have emerged as the superfoods of the decade. It is highly nutritious and loaded with proteins, fibers, and minerals like manganese, magnesium, folate, etc.

A cup of cooked and uncooked quinoa contains 398mg and 416mg of lysine, respectively.

Quinoa can easily substitute high-carb starchy foods like rice. Additionally, you can add quinoa to your salads, porridge, and stews.

[ Read: Vitamin K Foods ]

4. Nuts

Nuts are packed with healthy fats, fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. They may even contribute to longevity! Nuts that are high in lysine – low in arginine include cashew, almonds, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts.

Dry roasted cashew nuts and almonds contain 285mg and 209mg of lysine. On the other hand, hazelnuts contain 131mg of lysine, while Brazil nuts contain 150mg of lysine.

You can add nuts to salads or consume them as a snack. Nuts are used in the preparation of pesto and baked goods.

5. Black Beans

black beans fat burning

Black beans, aka turtle beans, are known for their high protein and high fiber content. It can strengthen bones, protect heart, and even help with weight loss.

Half a cup of black beans serves up 523mg of lysine.

Black beans are a core ingredient for an array of Mexican foods like burritos, tacos, and avocado salad. They are also added to chili.

Animal-Based Foods Containing Lysine

1. Chicken

Chicken is the commonest poultry item around the world! It can easily be made a part of any of your meals – breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Lean chicken breast contains 3083mg of lysine per 100g!

Chicken salami, hotdog, drumstick, minced chicken, broiled, roasted, shredded, nuggets – the options are endless! You can choose as per your preference.

[ Read: Hemoglobin Rich Foods ]

2. Beef

Beef is a rich source of protein and vital nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus. About 100g of broiled beef contains 0 carbs and sugar!

100 grams of skirt steak beef contains about 3305mg of lysine.

Beef can be eaten as roast, steaks, or ribs. Ground beef patties are also a quick way to incorporate it into your diet.

3. Sardines


Sardines are tiny fishes that are big sources of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, calcium, iron, zinc, protein, and more! Due to their short shelf life, they are normally canned.

Canned Sardines contain about 1505mg of lysine.

Sardines can be enjoyed straight out of the can. However, butter-fried sardines, sardines on pizza, and sardines as a cracker topping are also excellent ways of consumption.

4. Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is one of the best sources of lysine. It is a hard Italian cheese that has a nutty flavor.

Parmesan contains nearly 2200mg of lysine per 100g of cheese.

Parmesan cheese can be used to make pizzas, kinds of pasta, and salads cheesier. Additionally, you can also have parmesan crisps or use parmesan as breading.

Recommended Dosage of Lysine

The lysine requirement varies based on weight. Thus, adults must consume 12mg of lysine per kg of body weight, while children (11-12 years old) and infants (3-6 months old) require 44mg/kg and 97mg/kg, respectively.

What to Consider While Consuming Lysine Foods?

While following a high lysine diet plan, do bear the following in mind:

  • Most individuals can consume about 3g of lysine without any side effects. However, lysine dosage above 10-15g could lead to diarrhea, nausea, bloating, constipation, and stomach cramps.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women must consult their physician before taking lysine supplements.
  • Since animal-based foods are rich in lysine, those following a plant-based diet must supplement their lysine requirements.
  • Studies(3) have discovered strong ties between lysine supplements and kidney problems, gallstone formation, and high cholesterol.


While lysine is an essential amino acid, it is best to consume it through natural sources than relying on supplements. Consuming a healthy amount of lysine contributes to improved health through the production of collagen, antibodies, hormones, proteins, and enzymes. Lysine is also linked to improved athletic performance. As long as you consume 3-4g of lysine per day, you will not encounter any problems.

Also Read:

Foods High in Boron

Foods High In Estrogen


1. How Much Lysine Is Too Much?

Consuming more than 10-15g of lysine per day can cause digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and cramps.

2. What Foods Are High in Lysine and Low in Arginine?

The foods high in lysine low in arginine include:

  • Capsicums and Red Bell peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
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