Foods containing cysteine – complete list

Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that our own body synthesizes it. It acts together with cystine and has detoxifying properties, so that it eliminates toxins and toxic substances from the body. Although our body can produce it, it does not hurt to take supplements or even a diet rich in cysteine, since it has many beneficial properties, such as helping the respiratory or digestive system. Of course, always with care, especially if you suffer from any disease, since it also has adverse effects and contraindications. If you want to give a supplemental supply of this amino acid to your body, in this article we tell you what are the foods that contain cysteine.
Foods containing cysteine - complete list

Health Benefits of Cysteine

Cysteine exerts a detoxifying action that helps the body to cleanse itself, but, in addition, it has many other benefits:

  • It is antioxidant and prevents cells from oxidizing. In this way, it has been determined that it can prevent cancer, as it helps to decrease cancer cells. This also helps delay aging.
  • It is very good for vision problems; it can prevent vision loss due to macular degeneration or problems such as cataracts or retinal detachment.
  • It acts as a purifier of the lymphatic system, which makes the body drain better and the defense system is in better condition. Improves fluid retention and pathologies such as arthritis or rheumatic problems.
  • It acts beneficially on the digestive and respiratory systems and helps stabilize glucose levels, very useful to prevent diabetes.
  • It counteracts the negative action of tobacco in the lungs, so it can act against it. Although it does not mean that supplements or a diet rich in cysteine make you able to smoke more.
  • It reduces bad cholesterol, since it prevents the oxidation of fats and, being depurative, it is also very healthy for the liver and can prevent diseases such as cirrhosis.
  • And not only is it beneficial inside, it helps improve the growth and strengthening of hair and nails and maintain proper muscles.

Lack of cysteine: consequences

When cysteine is missing in the body, it can cause problems such as cardiovascular disorders, predisposition to infections or liver alterations or a greater predisposition to degenerative diseases.

Therefore, it is necessary that cysteine levels are adequate. Thus, although synthesized by our body, in some cases there may be a malabsorption syndrome that causes you not to have good levels of this amino acid. In these cases, in addition to supplements, it is very useful to know which foods contain cysteine.

Foods rich in cysteine

As we have said, you have to have good levels of this amino acid and although our body is responsible for producing it, it does not hurt to take foods rich in cysteine. Above all, it is recommended in the elderly or elderly and in children. Cysteine is usually present in foods with a high protein content.

Foods containing cysteine of animal origin can be found:

  • Meats such as pork, chicken or duck.
  • Sausages.
  • Eggs and derivatives.
  • Dairy products and derivatives such as cheese, yogurt…
  • Fish such as hake, tuna, monkfish…

Vegetable products, legumes and cereals such as:

  • Vegetables such as peppers, cabbages, carrots, onions, garlic, broccoli…
  • Cereals such as pasta, rice or wheat.
  • Soybeans and derivatives, such as tofu (as long as it is fermented)
  • Seitan.
  • Nuts and seeds.

Wheat germ and brewer's yeast are also cysteine-rich foods, so beer could be included in the list.

Contraindications and side effects of cysteine

Cysteine is synthesized by the body, however, taking supplements or foods rich in this amino acid may not be recommended for some people. It is discouraged in people with liver or kidney disease. These people should not consume it in large quantities without having consulted the doctor.

Cysteine in large amounts can lead to allergic reactions, gastrointestinal problems, vomiting, or even diarrhea. This is due to the high levels of oxidation in the body. However, this usually happens with L-cysteine supplements, since foods are usually products that we consume daily.


Leave a Reply