We always talk about Getting Bumpy but often don’t mention one of the building blocks of the bumps, protein.
Getting enough protein is important for muscle, metabolic, and tissue health. However, not all protein is created equally. There is complete and incomplete protein. The difference between the two proteins is the amount of essential amino acids they contain. What are amino acids you ask? Well they are molecular building blocks that combine to form the protein you eat. When you eat protein-rich foods, your body breaks those proteins back down into amino acids. We then use those amino acids to build muscle, repair tissues, support metabolism, and support other processes in the body.
Out of the 20 amino acids, 9 are essential, meaning the body can’t produce them. Those 9 are, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. The only way to get these amino acids is through food. Foods that contain all of them, and in amounts similar to those required by the body, are called complete proteins. Those that do not contain enough of one or more essential amino acids are incomplete proteins. All animal-based foods; meat, dairy, and eggs contain complete protein. The majority of plant-based protein sources, such as whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, spinach and others are incomplete. However, some plant-based foods, such as soy, quinoa and buckwheat are complete. Many incomplete protein sources have some of every single essential amino acid, just not in levels high enough that protein can accomplish everything. Leucine, which is a main driver of muscle building, tends to be relatively low in most incomplete proteins. If you’re eating meat, you’re good to go with essential aminos and if you’re eating a wide variety of plant-based protein sources you can get all of the amino acids you need also. Thankfully, whether you try to pair protein at each meal or do so throughout the day, you don’t have to worry about memorizing each amino acid. Just focus on variety of sources. Eat your whole grains, veggies, legumes, seeds, nuts for you veggie heads, toss in some meat for you carnivores and you’ll be good with your portion variety.
Variety is the spice of life and let’s keep our meals interesting. You’ll be seeing some fun food recipes coming your way very soon from my end of the blogs.
Eat up my friends,