Food with complete amino acids is a popular search on Google today. As it turns out, God created food to provide all the necessary amino acids that our body needs. If you want to eat healthily, then you should look for food which has complete amino acids.
Food With Complete Amino Acids
Because many foods are rich in amino acids, it’s generally easy to get your daily requirement. However, the recommended daily intake is different for each amino acid.
Most foods from animal protein sources will provide all the essential amino acids you need, and many plant-based protein foods can be excellent sources of amino acids as well.
These five foods are some of the best sources of dietary amino acids available:
Quinoa is one of the most nutritious grains available today. In addition to being a good source of fiber, it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body needs from food. It also has a higher amount of lysine than wheat or rice, making it a better source of these amino acids than other grains.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. Studies suggest that the amino acids provided by eggs are better utilized by your body than other sources like casein or soy.
Turkey has high amounts of tryptophan, an amino acid the body uses to make the B vitamin called niacin, which is necessary for digestion, healthy skin, and nerves. Tryptophan also helps produce serotonin, which affects your mood and can contribute to feelings of happiness and relaxation. Because they’re all high in protein, other meats are good sources of amino acids as well.
- Cottage cheese
One 100-gram serving of cottage cheese provides about 25% of your daily value of protein and contains significant quantities of several amino acids, including threonine and tryptophan.
Mushrooms contain a total of 17 amino acids, including all of the essential ones. One study showed that supplementing a cereal diet with mushroom would help overcome lysine deficiency.
Most types of fish contain essential amino acids and other important micronutrients. Salmon is high in amino acids and Omega 3s (important fatty acids that support heart and other health).
- Legumes and Beans
Legumes are a great source of high-quality protein — 20-45% of their protein is rich in the amino acid lysine. Peas and beans contain 17-20% high-quality protein while lupins and soybeans contain 38-45%. Legumes and beans include:
- Cooked kidney beans
- Black beans
- Garbanzo beans
Functions Of Amino Acids
Your body uses amino acids to make proteins. The different types of amino acids and the way they’re put together determine the function of each protein. So, amino acids are involved in many important roles in your body. Amino acids help:
- Break down food.
- Grow and repair body tissue.
- Make hormones and brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).
- Provide an energy source.
- Maintain healthy skin, hair and nails.
- Build muscle.
- Boost your immune system.
- Sustain a normal digestive system.
13 Nearly Complete Protein Sources for Vegetarians and Vegans
Here are 13 nearly complete protein sources for vegetarians and vegans.
Quinoa is an ancient grain that looks similar to couscous but has a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
As it doesn’t grow from grasses like other cereals and grains, it’s technically considered a pseudocereal and naturally gluten-free .
One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa provides approximately 8 grams of protein
In addition to being a complete protein, quinoa provides more magnesium, iron, fiber, and zinc than many common grains .
You can use quinoa in place of rice in most recipes. It can also be simmered in a plant source milk for a creamy, protein-rich breakfast porridge.
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that contains 8 grams of protein per 1 cooked cup (185 grams). It’s also a good source of several minerals, including magnesium, iron, and zinc.
2. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame
Tofu is made from coagulated soy milk that’s pressed into white blocks and comes in a variety of textures, including silken, firm, and extra-firm. As it’s quite bland, tofu tends to take on the flavor of the foods with which it’s cooked.
Tempeh is much chewier and nuttier than tofu and made from fermented soybeans, which are often combined with other seeds and grains to form a firm, dense cake.
Meanwhile, edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans that are green and have a slightly sweet, grassy flavor. They’re usually steamed or boiled and can be enjoyed on their own as a snack. Alternatively, they can be added to salads, soups, or grain bowls.
Three ounces (85 grams) of tempeh contain 11 grams of protein. This serving is also a good source of fiber and iron and contains potassium and calcium .
A 1/2 cup (85 grams) of whole edamame provides 8 grams of protein along with a good amount of fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin C .
Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all derived from whole soybeans and excellent sources of complete protein. A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of edamame or tofu provides 8 grams of protein, while the same serving of tempeh has 11 grams.
Amaranth is another pseudocereal that’s a complete source of protein
Once considered a staple food in Incan, Mayan, and Aztec cultures, it has become a popular gluten-free grain alternative.
Amaranth is a versatile grain that can be boiled for a side dish or porridge, or popped in a skillet to add texture to granola bars or salads. Similarly to quinoa, it has a delicate, nutty taste and retains its crunch even when cooked.
When ground into a flour, amaranth can also be used in gluten-free baking.
One cup (246 grams) of cooked amaranth provides approximately 9 grams of protein. It’s also an excellent source of manganese, magnesium phosphorus, and iron
Amaranth is a gluten-free pseudocereal that provides 9 grams of protein per 1 cooked cup (246 grams). It also provides more than 100% of the DV for manganese.
While it’s not as high in protein as quinoa or amaranth, buckwheat is another pseudocereal that’s a plant-based source of complete protein .
Nutty in flavor, the hulled kernels, or groats, can be cooked similarly to oatmeal or ground into a flour and used in baking. In Japanese cooking, buckwheat is most commonly consumed in the form of noodles, which are called soba.
One cup (168 grams) of cooked buckwheat groats provides approximately 6 grams of protein.
This pseudocereal is also a good source of many essential minerals, including phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron .
Buckwheat is another gluten-free grain that’s a source of complete protein, with 6 grams of protein per 1 cooked cup (168 grams).
5. Ezekiel bread
Ezekiel bread is made from sprouted whole grains and legumes, including barley, soybeans, wheat, lentils, millet, and spelt.
Two slices (68 grams) of the bread contain 8 grams of protein
Unlike most breads, the combination of whole grains and legumes in Ezekiel bread provides all nine essential amino acids .
Plus, studies suggest that sprouting grains and legumes increases their amino acid content, especially their content of the amino acid lysine .
For an extra protein boost, use Ezekiel bread to make a vegan BLT sandwich with tempeh instead of bacon, or toast the bread and top it with peanut butter and chia seeds.
Ezekiel bread is made from sprouted whole grains and legumes and contains all nine essential amino acids. Just two slices (68 grams) provide 8 grams of filling protein.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that’s a popular supplement among those on vegan and vegetarian diets
While it can be purchased as tablets, the powdered form of spirulina can be easily added to smoothies, granola bars, soups, and salads for a boost of nutrition.
Just 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina provides 4 grams of protein .
In addition to being a source of complete protein, spirulina is rich in antioxidants and a good source of several B vitamins, copper, and iron.
Spirulina, a supplement made from blue-green algae, is a source of complete protein. One tablespoon (7 grams) provides 4 grams of protein, as well as good amounts of B vitamins, copper, and iron.
7. Hemp seeds
Coming from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, hemp seeds are members of the same species as marijuana, but they contain only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana.
As a result, hemp seeds are unlikely to contain enough THC to cause a high feeling or any of the other psychoactive effects that are associated with marijuana.
However, there is concern that hemp seeds could become contaminated with TCH from other parts of the plant during harvesting or storing. Therefore, it’s important to purchase seeds from trusted brands that test for THC
Technically a nut, the edible whites inside of hemp seeds are referred to as hemp hearts and incredibly nutritious.
In addition to being a source of complete protein, hemp hearts are particularly rich in the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3)
Three tablespoons (30 grams) of raw, hulled hemp seeds boast an impressive 10 grams of protein and 15% of the DV for iron. They’re also a good source of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and zinc
Hemp hearts have a mild nutty flavor and can be sprinkled over yogurt or salads, added to smoothies, or included in homemade granola and energy bars.
Hemp seeds are often sold as hemp hearts and incredibly nutritious. In addition to providing 10 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons (30 grams), they’re a good source of essential fatty acids, iron, potassium, and several other essential minerals.
8. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are tiny round seeds that are often black or white.
They’re unique in that they can absorb liquid and form a gel-like substance. As a result, they can be used to make puddings and pectin-free jams. They’re also commonly used as an egg substitute in vegan baking.
However, chia seeds can also be used raw as a topping for oatmeal or salads, mixed into baked goods, or added to smoothies.
Chia seeds are tiny round seeds that contain all nine essential amino acids. Two tablespoons (28 grams) contain 4 grams of protein, as well as good amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and several essential minerals.
9. Nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that’s grown specifically to be a food product.
Commercially, nutritional yeast is sold as a yellow powder or flakes and has a distinctive umami flavor that can be used to add a cheese-like flavor to vegan dishes, such as popcorn, pasta, or mashed potatoes.
A 1/4-cup (15-gram) serving of nutritional yeast provides 8 grams of complete protein .
When fortified, nutritional yeast can also be an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, and all the B vitamins, including B12 .
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of yeast that imparts a cheesy, umami flavor to vegan dishes. Just 1/4 cup (15 grams) provides 8 grams of protein.
10. Rice and beans
Rice and beans are a classic pairing that’s a source of complete protein.
Both brown and white rice are low in lysine but high in methionine. In contrast, beans are high in lysine but low in methionine. As such, combining them allows you to get enough of each, as well as the remaining seven essential amino acids, to count as a complete protein.
One cup (239 grams) of rice and beans provides 12 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber.
While you can enjoy the mixture on its own, rice and beans can be topped with guacamole, salsa, and roasted vegetables for a simple, filling meal.
Together, rice and beans contain all nine essential amino acids to form a complete source of protein. Approximately 1 cup (239 grams) provides 12 grams of this nutrient.
11. Pita and hummus
A delicious Middle Eastern classic, pita and hummus are another combination that provides all nine essential amino acids.
Similarly to rice, the wheat used to make pita is too low in lysine to be considered a complete protein source. However, chickpeas — the main ingredient in hummus — are rich in lysine.
One medium-sized (57-gram) whole wheat pita with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of hummus provides approximately 7 grams of protein .
In addition to serving as a snack, adding fried or baked ground chickpea balls known as falafel will further increase the protein content of your pita and hummus.
The combination of pita and hummus is another classic pairing that constitutes a complete protein source. One medium-sized (57-gram) pita with 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of hummus provides 7 grams of protein.
12. Peanut butter sandwich
A lunch box staple, natural peanut butter sandwiched between whole grain bread is another common combination that results in a complete protein source.
As mentioned earlier, wheat is low in lysine while pulses like peanuts make up for it by being high in lysine.
Two slices (62 grams) of whole wheat sandwich bread with 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter provide approximately 14 grams of protein .
However, the exact amount of protein may vary depending on the brand of bread you buy.
When choosing a peanut butter, aim for a product with minimal ingredients, ideally only peanuts and maybe a bit of salt.
Wheat bread is low in lysine, but when combined with lysine-rich peanut butter, it becomes a complete protein source. One peanut butter sandwich provides approximately 14 grams of protein.
13. Mycoprotein (Quorn)
Mycoprotein is a meat substitute product that’s marketed under the name Quorn.
Made from a naturally occurring fungus called Fusarium venenatum, it’s sometimes mixed with eggs or milk protein before being shaped into patties, cutlets, or strips. As a result, not all mycoprotein products are vegan.
Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency have determined that mycoprotein is safe enough to be sold to the public.
However, there are some concerns that the fungal ingredient in it can cause dangerous allergic reactions in some individuals.
Still, as it’s a rich source of essential amino acids and low in sodium, sugar, and fat, it’s a popular option for those looking for a plant-based alternative to chicken.
While the amount of protein varies by product, one 75-gram Quorn Chik’N patty contains 9 grams of protein.
Mycoprotein, a popular meat alternative, is sold under the brand name Quorn. While the amount of protein varies by product, one Quorn Chik’N patty provides about 9 grams of complete protein.
The bottom line
Despite some concerns over being able to get adequate protein on a vegan or vegetarian diet, many high protein, plant-based foods are available.
Furthermore, several of these foods even provide all nine essential amino acids and are therefore considered complete proteins.
To ensure you’re meeting your amino acid needs on a vegan or vegetarian diet, try incorporating a variety of these complete protein sources or combinations of nearly complete choices into your plant-based diet.
7 Foods High in Essential Amino Acids [ 2021 ]
7 Foods High in Essential Amino Acids
Lean meats are a great way to make sure you are getting protein and all 9 essential amino acids, without overdoing the fats. Turkey, lean meats, and poultry are all high in essential amino acids and relatively low in saturated fats when compared to red meats.
Fish for life
An excellent source of essential amino acids and heart healthy fatty acid, Omega 3s, is found in salmon. It’s an easy fish to prepare, tastes good and can help you limit your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
But if salmon isn’t your favourite, fish of all types contain so many of your essential micronutrients and the essential amino acids your muscles crave to stave off any loss.
Cottage cheese, low-fat cheeses and dairy products like yogurts for your smoothies have all 9 essential amino acids, are high in protein, as well as vitamins A, D, E, B12, and an important source of calcium, which contributes to bone health.
Including a protein smoothie in your daily diet, made with Boomer Nutrition protein powder and Rejuvenate will give you a boost of all the essential amino acids your muscles are craving to ensure that you can maintain them, slow any loss and keep your energy up.
Eggs contain complete proteins and come in their very own, recyclable container. One egg contains all nine essential amino acids needed to make up a complete protein, as well as vitamins A, D, E, K B2, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. You can even get them enriched with extra Omega 3s.
In addition to being just about the perfect food to boost your energy and reverse muscle loss, they are the most versatile food to cook with.
- Scramble them with some herbs or cheese.
- Enjoy them over easy or sunny side up, with some whole grain toast.
- Put together a fabulous frittata with a lot of great veggies, like broccoli and tomato to wow your friends and family with at brunch.
- Keep a few hard boiled eggs in the fridge, for an on the go snack.
Legumes & Beans
Members of the legumes and bean family include peas, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, peanuts, cooked kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans & edamame.
All are excellent sources of plant based proteins, but not necessarily a good source of essential amino acids. Since they are not complete proteins—containing all the essential amino acids to help fight muscle loss—it is best to combine legumes with grains such as Quinoa as what Quinoa lacks, legumes contain and what legumes lack, you can get in Quinoa.
Quinoa is a super grain for good reason. It is one of the few plant foods that is high in protein and contains all 9 of the essential amino acids while also being high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and many vitamins.
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, macadamia, cashews or brazil nuts are THE perfect snack for when you are super busy and on the run. Seeds of all kind, like pumpkin and sesame, are also great to mix in for a boost in essential amino acids. Portable and delicious, a handful of nuts before you exercise or to stave off a late night snack attack will help you to keep your eating under control, and healthy, however, nuts and seeds are not complete proteins. They alone will not provide all nine essential amino acids, but will add plenty of plant based protein to your diet
While it is true that there is no magic potion that can slow the aging process, eating well to ensure you are getting all of the essential amino acids that your muscles need to build protein and rejuvenate themselves is a great start.
Eating a diet rich in all nine essential amino acids and exercising is the best defense against sarcopenia. Choosing foods that help slow aging can keep your energy up, overall health in check, prevent disease and slow some of the physical effects of aging.