Though There are 20 amino acids that make up the proteins in our body.not all of them can be synthesized by the human metabolism and therefore, a group of nine, known as essential amino acids, must be obtained from nature, that is, through food.
And not all food products have them. If we have an omnivorous diet, it will be easy for us to obtain the nine essential amino acids, since most of the animal products that contain protein incorporate them.
However, if we are vegan people, We will have to maximize the search for vegetable food products that allow us to obtain these nine amino acids that are impossible to synthesize by our body, since in the vegetable world they are much scarcer and are limited to a few foods that contain them in all. Although many vegetables contain a fraction of them and combining them with others we can have the complete record of essential amino acids.
The nine essential amino acids are the following:
If we are deficient in any of them, we will suffer serious health repercussionssince they are part of the most diverse proteins, which our body will not be able to constitute and therefore will not be able to function regularly, as the generation of some enzymes and hormones is prevented.
Plant foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids
Although the different essential amino acids are present in the plant world through numerous products, foods containing all nine at the same time are very scarce, being limited to the following:
- Garbanzo beans
- White and pinto beans
- Whole wheat flour, thanks to the bran
- Corn flour, also thanks to the bran
- Soy in its different variants, either germinated or in fermented tofu or miso paste.
- Other exotic products for us such as quinoa, amaranth and hemp seeds.
Ideal combinations of vegetables
In any case, some of these foods, except legumes, contain limited amounts of protein, so it is not sensible to propose them as the only source of high-quality protein.
On the other hand, it is an excellent idea to combine various plant products that are lacking in one or two essential amino acids with others that, although they also lack some, together complement a high-quality complete protein diet.
In this sense, dishes such as:
- lentils with rice
- couscous with chickpeas
- chickpeas with rice
- beans with rice
All of them are traditional combinations in many countries where meat protein is an inaccessible luxury. The reason is that legumes, which are one of the biggest and best plant-based sources of protein, lack two essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine.
Therefore, a diet with legumes must be supplemented with some other food that provides these amino acids. And there are the cereals, which precisely bring methionine and cysteine to the diet, the two amino acids that legumes lack. As compensation, legumes contain the isoluecin and lysine, that are not present in cereals.
Another way to complement is to add Sesame seeds legumes -rich in methionine-, as well as nutswhich are a very powerful protein intake due to the amount of protein per 100 grams, which exceeds 18 grams in the best of cases, that of almonds.
The protein ranking of nuts is as follows:
- Almond18.7 grams
- Pistachio 17.65 grams
- Cashew 17.2 grams
- Walnut 14.4 grams
- Pinion14 grams
- Hazelnut 12 grams
Regarding the richness in different essential amino acids, nuts are deficient in lysine, an amino acid that is not lacking in legumes, as well as contain low amounts of methionine, which can be obtained with wholemeal flours, for example by making a wholemeal bread with nuts. . Or combining nuts with sesame paste and rice, etc.
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