- All proteins may not be the same
- Animal products contain all the essential amino acids
- Soya and quinoa are two complete sources of protein
Protein is one of the most important nutrients which the human body needs. The nutrient protein is made up of building blocks called the amino acids. Amino acids are the chemical compounds that make up the proteins. There are two classes of amino acids: essential and non-essential amino acids. It is necessary that you consume essential amino acids as your body cannot make them. However, all proteins may not be the same. There are some foods which are complete sources of proteins while others are incomplete sources of protein. When we say complete or incomplete proteins, the difference lies in the kind and quantity of amino acids the food contains.
A complete and a good quality protein is one that provides all the nine essential amino acids that a human body needs. On the other hand, food that lacks one or more amino acids is said to be an incomplete source of protein. Generally, animal sources of protein like dairy products, beef, pork, turkey, eggs, chicken, meat and fish contain all the essential amino acids. These foods are considered as complete and good sources of protein. However, plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds, tofu, whole grains, rice and legumes are incomplete sources of protein. Just because they lack the essential amino acids that does not mean they are less nutritious or inferior.
People who do not eat animal products need not worry as a combination of two or different proteins can help you get all the essential amino acids you need. Moreover, soya protein and the pseudo-grain is a complete source of protein which contains all the essential amino acids. Vegans or vegetarians can include them easily into their diet. But that does not mean loading up on these foods as it will increase your carbohydrate intake.
Also, it is important for them to eat a variety of foods to ensure that you get all the different amino acids the body needs. Two incomplete proteins can together create a complete protein. For example the combination of rice and lentils makes for a complete meal rich in proteins. Rice is low in threonine, while beans are low in methionine and tryptophan. If you eat them together, and you can get a delicious and nutritious dish that has all the essential amino acids.
Some other combination of complementary proteins include grains and seeds, grains and legumes, nut butter and whole-wheat bread, pseudo cereals and soya milk, black bean and corn salad and spinach smoothie soya milk and almonds.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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