The main advantage of following a plant-based diet is the many health benefits associated with it. However, some people follow this eating pattern due to other reasons like religious beliefs, living an environmentally friendly lifestyle, and so on. When you are eating more plant-based food and less or no animal-based food, then you must focus on complementary proteins as this can enhance your nutrient intake. Read on to know why you should try the method of complementary proteins when on a plant-forward diet.
An Overview About Proteins And Amino Acids
Proteins are one of the most important macronutrients because they are required for building various biological structures in our bodies. They are made up of building blocks called amino acids whose complex arrangement creates different types of proteins. Of the 20 amino acids, our body cannot synthesize 9, and they are called essential amino acids; you must get them through your diet.
Listed below are the 9 essential amino acids:
Difference Between Animal Protein And Plant Protein
Animal proteins are complete proteins, i.e. they contain all the essential amino acids. On the contrary, most plant proteins are not complete proteins. That said, plant-based food like quinoa, buckwheat, soy, amaranth, spinach, and hemp seeds are good sources of complete proteins.
Grains like rice is low on the amino acid lysine, while legumes have sufficient levels of lysine. So, eating them together like using a legume-based gravy with rice in your plant-based meal will ensure that you get this amino acid in your diet, and this method is called complementary proteins.
The Benefits Of Complementary Proteins
You must know that those who follow plant-based diets like the vegan diet have a higher risk of developing deficiencies in amino acid intake. This is because they avoid consuming animal-based food, which are good sources of complete proteins. In such a situation, combining two or more sources of plant-based sources of proteins will ensure that they will get enough of all essential amino acids.
Different Ways To Include Complementary Proteins
Listed below are some of the ways to include complementary proteins in your plant-forward diet:
- Salads that have nuts, seeds, and beans
- Soups and stews that have both grains and legumes
- Whole grain bread with peanut butter
- Beans or lentils and brown rice
- Whole wheat pita bread with hummus
- Rice or quinoa with tofu or tempeh
- Whole grain noodles with stir-fried tofu
You can create a list of complementary plant-based proteins and combine those foods in your plant-based meal. This also ensures that you are eating a balanced plant-based diet.