A List of Healthy Proteins
If you've come to this page before reading about the nature of protein, go here.
Proteins are large molecules made of smaller molecules called amino acids. Nature provides 20 amino acids your body requires to live and thrive. Your body can make 11 of them all by itself, but it has to get the other 9 from food. Because it is essential to get them from food, they are called the essential amino acids.
Some foods contain all nine of the essential amino acids. These foods are called Complete Proteins, and they include:
- Dairy products
- Soy (depending on how it’s processed)
Notice that everything in the list above, except for soy, is an animal product. That should help you when you're shopping for protein-rich foods.
Some other foods are technically considered complete proteins, but they do not rate as high as the ones above. They include the following:
Other foods contain some amino acids, but not all. They’re called Incomplete Proteins, and they include:
- Legumes such as peas, lentils, and beans
- Nuts and seeds
- Rice and other grains
Some incomplete protein foods contain certain amino acids; others contain other amino acids.
Nuts and beans are high in them, so combining these foods incorporates all nine essential amino acids.
Rice, other grains, and vegetables contain lesser amounts, so combining them will not provide all the amino acids you need.
If you're ready to learn more, see Chapter 4 in EAT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.
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