"As you may or may not know, proteins are made up of amino acids, and they are the “building blocks” of life. Our skin, muscles, tendons, cartilage, even hair and nails, are all thanks to protein. Protein helps form enzymes, hormones, antibodies and new tissues. It replaces old cells with shiny new ones, and it transports important nutrients in and out of those cells. The human body can manufacture all but nine of the 22 amino acids that make up proteins. These nine amino acids are known as “essential” amino acids, and therefore must be derived from what we eat." (YumUniverse) "When a food contains all nine of these amino acids it's called a complete protein. These nine amino acids are found in abundance in fruits, vegetables, seeds, sprouts and nuts. Some examples of great plant-based food sources of amino acids are these: asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, nuts and seeds, spinach and sprouts. By consuming a wide variety of foods from these various plant groups, you will receive the essential nine amino acids in abundance. Furthermore, you don't need to combine foods to get all nine essential amino acids at each meal. Your body stores and releases the amino acids needed over a twenty-four period to supplement your daily amino acid intake and ensure you get all the amino acids you need. The body also has an amino acid pool and recycles proteins on a regular basis. Keep in mind that amino acids are delicate entities. Most animal protein is cooked, which can denature the amino acids and make them largely unavailable for your body's use." (The Beauty Detox Foods, Kimberly Snyder, C.N., 55-56)
If you want to make it easier for yourself, I designed this graphic listing complete plant protein sources that you can easily add to your smoothies, yogurt or salads. I will be posting recipes for each complete plant protein source throughout the following weeks! Stay tuned!