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Top 28 Tyrosine-Rich Foods and Their Benefits

By Liam McAuliffe Updated on

Tyrosine is an important amino acid that’s gaining popularity for its vital role in the production of important neurotransmitters. Consuming high tyrosine foods can help your body produce dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, all of which regulate mood, support your response to stress, and boost cognitive function.

While our bodies can synthesize tyrosine from other amino acids, getting significant tyrosine from healthy whole foods can be beneficial for reaping its benefits. 

Fortunately, the same delicious animal-based whole foods that are rich in tyrosine are also loaded with synergistic vitamins and minerals. In this article, we will explore some of the top tyrosine foods that can help support your brain health and overall well-being.

Table of Contents

What is Tyrosine, and Why is it Important? 

Tyrosine (l-tyrosine, Tyr, Y) amino acid molecule. Skeletal formula.

Tyrosine is an amino acid that is considered “conditionally essential.” This means that our bodies can “synthesize,” i.e. make it from other amino acids we get from food. But we can skip the process of “synthesis” by simply eating more high tyrosine foods. 

Tyrosine foods can help your body create brain-signaling molecules called neurotransmitters, including

  • Dopamine a chemical released in the brain that produces positive feelings and increases motivation
  • Norepinephrine (noradrenaline), is both a neurotransmitter and hormone that plays an important role in your body’s “fight-or-flight” response to perceived threats
  • Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, plays a role in fight-or-flight responses

How Much Tyrosine Should You Have Per Day? 

Tyrosine intake goes by a rule of proportion: you should get 12.5mg per kilogram of body weight. This comes out to around 11mg per pound.  

This is assuming that you’ll get the rest of your tyrosine needs from 12.5mg of phenylalanine. 

A person weighing around 150 lbs should consume around 437mg of tyrosine, or 875 if you don’t plan on consuming phenylalanine. 

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Benefits of High Tyrosine Foods for Health and Cognition

Psychology concept. Sunrise and woman silhouette.

There are many benefits of tyrosine for cognitive and overall health. Let’s take a look at a few of the most well-studied effects. 

Neurotransmitter Production

As a precursor to important neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, tyrosine plays a critical role in regulating mood, motivation, and cognitive function.

Supports Mental Performance

Consuming high-tyrosine foods has been linked to enhanced cognitive performance, especially when under stressful conditions. It may boost attention, focus, and working memory.

Reduces Stress

Getting enough tyrosine from food can help support your body’s stress response due to its role in synthesizing stress hormones. This effect of tyrosine leads to increased resilience while at the same time reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.

Supports Positive, Stable Mood

Tyrosine supports your body’s ability to produce dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure, reward, and, ultimately, motivation.

Increasing tyrosine levels through high-tyrosine foods can help improve mood, motivation, and feelings of overall well-being.

Supports Thyroid Function

Tyrosine plays a key role in synthesizing thyroid hormones.   These thyroid hormones are critical for regulating your metabolism, physical growth, and overall development. We need to get adequate tyrosine to support proper thyroid function.

Supports Protein Synthesis and Muscle Recovery

As an amino acid, tyrosine is involved in a process called protein synthesis that is crucial to muscle repair and recovery.

The role of tyrosine in protein synthesis makes it a factor in muscle regeneration after workouts while supporting overall muscle health. 

Red (Ruminant) Meat

Variety of Raw Black Angus Prime meat steaks Machete, Blade on bone, Striploin, Rib eye, Tenderloin fillet mignon on wooden board

Red meat from ruminant animals–basically all red meat animals other than pork, is the best source of tyrosine. 

Though other foods may match red meat in its richness of tyrosine per weight, ruminant meats provide tyrosine as part of a near-perfect matrix of macro and micronutrients

In fact, it is entirely possible to thrive on an elimination diet of only (fatty) red meat, salt, and water. This is called the Lion Diet, which has been popularized by carnivore enthusiasts like podcaster Joe Rogan and psychologist Jordan Peterson

Because tyrosine is an amino acid it will be found in higher concentrations in leaner cuts of red meat. 

The top tyrosine red meats include; 

Type of Red MeatTyrosine

per 6oz 

Beef skirt steak2174mg

(248% RDI)

Ribeye steak2012gm240%
Lamb shoulder2030mg 232%
Beef chuck roast1807mg207%
Bison Sirloin steak1622185%
Ground beef1370mg157%
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Baked carameled pork belly

Pork is a healthy whole food, especially when pasture-raised on quality feed. 

Though pork has a lower nutrient density than ruminant red meats, it’s still a healthy whole food with an abundance of micronutrients and amino acids, including tyrosine. 

Cut of PorkTyrosine per 6oz RDI
Pork chops w/ fat1789mg205%
Pork tenderloin1758mg 201%
Roasted ham1744mg199%
Ground pork1522mg 174% 


Grilled fish with vegetables and sauce, on the grill

Fish are a great source of proteins, omega-3 fats, and essential vitamins. 

However, most global fisheries are contaminated with pollutants, so it’s important to do your homework and select low-toxin seafood. 

Type of FishTyrosine per 6oz RDI
Sockeye Salmon2052mg 235%
Bluefin Tuna1717mg 196%
Coho Salmon1571mg 180%
Atlantic Mackerel1369mg 156%
Atlantic Cod1311mg150%


baked chicken legs with rosemary

Poultry is high in protein, so it’s no surprise that it can be a great source of the amino acid tyrosine. 

Here are the top picks among poultry that are rich in tyrosine 

Type of PoultryTyrosine per 6oz RDI
Chicken breast1964mg224%
Ground Turkey1907mg 218% 
Roast duck1521mg174%
Chicken leg1499mg 171%
Roasted turkey breast1362mg 156% 


Large choice of French ripened cheese on a wooden rustic board

Full-fat dairy, especially ripened cheeses, are remarkably beneficial foods that don’t get the credit they deserve. 

In addition to high levels of tyrosine, these dairy products are great sources of vitamin K2 and healthy fats. At the same time, ripened cheeses like parmesan and blue cheese provide thousands of bioactive compounds called peptides. These compounds have been found to reduce aging on a cellular level and prevent cognitive decline.

Type of DairyTyrosine per 6oz RDI
Gruyere3026mg 346% 
Sharp Cheddar2213mg253%
Blue cheese2207mg252%
Camembert1951mg 223%
Muenster1924mg 219% 

Top Tyrosine Foods: The Bottom Line

Incorporating these top tyrosine foods into your diet can provide numerous health and cognitive benefits related to the role that tyrosine plays in producing neurotransmitters, promoting mental performance and thyroid function, and reducing stress while enhancing mood, alertness, and energy levels. 

These whole tyrosine-rich foods, including red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy, will more than ensure an adequate supply of this vitalizing amino acid. So, start enjoying these delicious tyrosine-rich foods today and nourish your body and mind!

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