Complete Proteins for vegetarians
All foods like from milk, dairy products, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, peas, soya products, nuts and seeds are considered proteins. Milk, beans, peas, soya, nuts and seeds are considered Vegetarian Proteins.
Now first let’s look at proteins a little closely. Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are 20 amino acids, of which 9 are regarded as Essential Amino Acids (EAA).
Essential Amino Acids
EAAs are those amino acids that the body cannot make; it has to be supplied through the diet. Methionine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Phenylalanine, Histidine, Lysine are EAAs.
When we eat non-vegetarian or animal proteins, we get all the amino acids including the EAAs. That’s because their amino acid profile is complete. Thus they are regarded as complete proteins. Vegetarian proteins on the other hand are regarded as incomplete proteins. Because they are lacking in one of the EAAs.
For instance when you eat dal, it has very little Methionine and more Lysine. Cereals, on the other hand have more Methionine and less Lysine. So to complete the amino acid profile, one needs to combine dals with cereals to complete the amino acid profile.
Complete Vegetarian Proteins
But there are exceptions to this. Grains like Quinoa, Buckwheat and Amaranth despite being vegetarian proteins have complete amino acid profiles like non-vegetarian protein sources. Of course, they contain carbohydrates and fats too.
But they are good protein sources for vegetarians especially when combined with low fat dairy products like milk, curd and paneer.
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