You’re familiar with protein, but do you know about complete protein? To understand complete protein, let’s go back a bit to amino acids. Amino acids form the building blocks of proteins that make up 75% of the body. There’s a total of 20 of them, and together, they will form a protein. Eleven of them our bodies produce on their own because we’re super cool. The other nine we must get from the food we eat. Easy right? Well … not all proteins are created equal. Proteins from vegetables, nuts, beans, and grains are not complete proteins. They may contain some of the essential amino acids, but not all.
So how important are these complete proteins for our everyday life? It depends on your lifestyle. Of course, eating a well-rounded diet of whole foods is always recommended as it ensures that you’re getting your vitamins and minerals for overall wellbeing. Make no mistake. Within that well-rounded diet, you definitely need to be eating enough protein and a variety of it (including complete proteins). Protein is necessary to form muscles, build and repair tissue, and regulate your hormones. Having a small amount of complete proteins throughout the day will ensure that you’re getting your intake of the 9 missing essential amino acids.
Complete proteins can be found in animal meats, eggs, dairy, and whole sources of soy. However many of us can have trouble including enough in our diet. I personally love to fill my plate with mostly vegetables, some whole grains, and a little meat every (now and then, but not always). Protein powders have turned into a convenient way to up your protein intake. Tip to the wise: make sure your protein powders are complete … naturally. In order to have a complete protein complex, some companies add the missing essential amino acids. Although this can be beneficial, it’s simply not a natural source, and therefore, not as easily digested as a natural source would be. Our bodies thrive on nutrients from the earth because they’re absorbed in its fullest form. Cricket protein powder naturally contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It also has a natural prebiotic in it, called chitin, that helps with absorption of all nutrients — double bonus. Read our blog on gut health to learn more!
If you’re going to make a point to add complete proteins into your diet, make sure you are being as true to nature and your body as you can! Pick natural sources, listen to your body, and remember to smile.