Posts Tagged ‘amino acids’

A Healthy Vegetarian: Complementary Amino Acids

June 5th, 2010

When we talk proteins, most people think animal products such as meat and dairy. Meat is traditionally considered as one of the best full protein sources and most people go for meat in their diet.

Naturally, there are concerns about vegetarians and meatless diets. Many believe protein supplementation for vegetarians is necessary. This is debatable.  There are many plant sources of protein and it is all a matter of a variable diet. Take tofu for example, full protein minus the fat and cholesterol. More often than not, most vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds and nuts have all amino acids we need.

The great thing about our body is that we do not have to eat  full proteins to get full benefits. Our body is perfectly able to construct a full protein from complementary amino acids. Complementary amino acids are much like Lego toys.  With Lego we sort and put matching blocks together to form a  structure, a house, a boat, a car, you name it. Same with complementary amino acids. Our body sorts and connects matching amino acids into a full  protein. Great thing about it is that we can eat complementary amino acids separately and out body still combines them into full proteins. All we have to do is eat food rich in complementary amino acids.

Grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts and lentils are all good sources of complementary amino acids. Then it is all matter of going for a good food combination. Amino acid profiles of plants, legumes, lentils, grains, seeds and nuts are a good way to tell if we are on the right track. Once we have the complementation down it is all down to ingesting enough to satisfy the recommended daily protein intake. A simple calculation will do. And should we lack the time to do it, we can always check the label or ask a nutritionist.

And so technically  we do not need to eat meat to get full proteins in. And therein lays the secret of a healthy vegetarian.

For more ideas of protein sources for vegetarians, take time to look trough protein meal ideas and alternatives offered by Herbal Diet.

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