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.

Complete Proteins

Protein rich chicken egg
Protein rich chicken egg

Some foods contain all nine of the essential amino acids. These foods are called Complete Proteins, and they include:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • 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:

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Hempseed
  • Quinoa
  • Seafood
  • Spelt
  • Spirulina

Incomplete Proteins

Variety of Legumes
Variety of Legumes

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
  • Vegetables

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.

Freaky Fact

96% of every body function requires proteins, which we can not store.

Related Supplements

Take a Totally Terrific protein powder that contains all 9 essential amino acids.

Eat to Save Your Life BookEat to Save Your Life answers the hard nutrition questions.

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