Importance of Protein To Our Bodies
Why does everyone always talk about the importance of protein within our diets? This is because protein is essential for our body to use in order to repair old tissue and build new tissue. We also need protein to make hormones, enzymes and other bodily chemicals. And it’s an essential building block for our blood, muscles, skin, cartilage and bones. The structure of a protein is a chain of amino acids and essential amino acids cannot be made by the body, but are supplied to the body by certain foods.
Different foods supply different types of protein to the body, whether they supply complete proteins or incomplete proteins. Complete proteins means the food meets all our body’s needs, and other foods which are incomplete proteins means that they do not supply our body with all of it’s needs.
- Beans: kidney, pinto, lentils, split pea, garbanzo, black beans
- Nuts and seeds
- Low fat dairy products
- Tofu, tempeh and soy protein products
By combining a plate of a few incomplete proteins, then the body can oftentimes use it together to form a complete protein. The amino acids that may be missing from certain foods can be present in others, thereby creating a whole. These types of foods are considered complementary proteins.
Examples of Complementary Proteins
- Grains with dairy. Whole-wheat pasta with cheddar cheese.
- Dairy with seeds. Yogurt with flax seeds.
- Grains with legumes. Lentils and rice.
- Nuts with legumes. Black bean and peanut salad.
With this being said, if you are partial to only a few of these food items and are not getting your complete proteins daily, make sure to mix up an assortment of the incomplete proteins to ensure your body is getting all of its daily needs to function fully!