Proteins are huge molecules made up of smaller molecules called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids available to us. Eight of these amino acids are considered essential, meaning you have to get them in your diet (or from a supplement) because your body can’t manufacture them. In general, it is better to get your nutrients from your diet, than a pill.
All plants contain amino acids. The only difference is that some have a lower percentage of amino acids in comparison to the rest of the parts of the plant.
The term “complete protein” refers to foods that have all nine essential amino acids present in the correct proportion for our bodies to build protein with. The term “incomplete protein” refers to foods which have all the essential amino acids, but are simply low in one or more of them. This is called the “limiting amino acid.” While it’s true that most whole plant foods have one or more limiting amino acids and are thus “incomplete” — this shouldn’t send you running for a steak.
Our bodies are brilliant, and every food that goes into your system must be broken apart and its nutrients absorbed. During the digestion process, amino acid chains from all sources are broken down and made ready for our bodies to use. If you’re eating a good mix of fruits, veggies, grains and legumes, then your body simply collects what it needs from the “amino soup” that your digestion system has absorbed.
Another bonus: Plant based foods are free from cholesterol and tend to be high in fiber.
*Please note, the foods pictured above are only a sample of the variety of the plant based protein sources available. #VegansofIG