What are some good food sources of complete protein?

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Protein an important part of our food group. More importantly, we need to know what are some good sources of complete protein.

Proteins are present in every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies. These protein are constantly being broken down and replaced.  The protein is broken into amino acids that are absorbed by body. We need protein for all the cell functions to continue working properly.

Type of Protein

There are 20 different amino acids that join together to make all types of protein. There are nine indispensable (essential) amino acids: trytophan, histidine, methionine, threonine, isoleucine, valine, phenylalanine, lysine, leucine. These amino acids cannot be synthesized and must be provided in the diet. The dispensable (non-essential) amino acids can be synthesized in the body, but some may still be needed in the diet unless adequate amounts of their precursors are available.

In the diet, protein sources are labeled according to how many and how much essential amino acids they provide:

  • Complete Proteins: A complete protein source is one that provides all of the essential amino acids. You may also hear these sources called high quality proteins. Animal-based foods; for example, meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, and cheese are considered complete protein sources.
  • Incomplete Proteins: An incomplete protein source is one that is low in one or more of the essential amino acids. Complementary proteins are two or more incomplete protein sources that together provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids. You must combine them to get all of the amino acids your body needs.
It is important for vegetarians to eat a variety of food so that they can get all the essential amino acids from multiple complementary plant based protein sources. For example, dry beans contains low amounts of certain essential amino acids; however, these same essential amino acids are found in greater amounts in rice. Similarly, rice contain lower amounts of other essential amino acids that can be found in larger amounts in dry beans. Together, these two foods can provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids the body needs.
Here is a simple calculator to find out how much protein one needs. Protein Calculator.


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About the Author: Adarsh Gupta