Have you ever heard the terms 'complete' and 'incomplete' when referring to protein?
Or have you been told that plant-based sources are less superior when it comes to getting adequate protein?
But what does this actually mean?
And, more importantly... IS IT TRUE?
In order to form a 'complete' protein, there are 20 different amino acids that join together in a chain. 11 of these amino acids can be produced by the human body on it's own... but the other 9 must come from food as the body can't produce them! Some foods contain all nine, and others contain only some and therefore need to be mixed with other foods to make a 'complete' protein source.
YES... there are plant-based sources that contain all 9, here's a few examples:
quinoa; tofu; edamame; tempeh; miso; buckwheat; hemp seeds; chia seeds.
But... don't stress if there's nothing on that list that you fancy eating!
Mixing 'complementary' sources can also be super easy...
legumes or beans mixed with nuts, seeds or grains are a simple way to achieve this, for example:
beans with rice
lentils with grains
pita with hummus
tacos with beans
peanut butter on bread
and the list goes on...
Best part of it all... 'complementary' proteins only need to be eaten in the same day, not necessarily the same meal to receive their benefits.
So it really is that simple... eat a balanced diet, and the rest will take care of itself!
You could even argue these are better than the meat sources, as they not only provide an excellent source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals — but come without the added cholesterol and saturated fat 😉