Proteins are the basic structure of all living cells. The body uses protein for growth, tissue repair and preserving lean muscle mass. Proteins provide 4 calories per gram and about 10% to 35% of your daily calorie intake should come from proteins.
The building blocks of protein are called amino acids. There are 9 essential amino acids, the body does not manufacture these and one must therefore get them from their diet. Further, there are 11 non-essential amino acids and the body can itself manufacture these.
Proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids in adequate quantity are called complete proteins. Some sources of complete proteins are:
- For non vegetarians – meat, fish and poultry.
- For vegetarians – quinoa, black beans, buckwheat (kuttu), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and soy products.
Cheese and milk products are other sources of complete proteins. You can also get your daily dose of essential amino acids by mixing and matching various sources of incomplete proteins.
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