Creating a Complete Protein: The Story of Rice and Beans
Amino acids are the building blocks of our body and physiology and are essential to a healthy body!
Rice and beans are a classic example of a complete protein dish. Separately, neither food contains all eight essential amino acids and are thus classified as incomplete proteins; but when combined (eaten together or within close proximity to one another), they form a complete protein that provides the body with the essential amino acids your body needs. (By the way, they are also a rich source of complex carbohydrates and nutrients, particularly whole-grain rice and whole beans prepared without lard.)
There are 20 amino acids, and 8 essential amino acids that we must get from food. These 8 are deemed essential because our bodies cannot make them, we must get them from our diet. The eight essential amino acids are Isoleucine, Methionine, Threonine, Valine, Lysine, Phenylanine, Tryptophan, and Leucine. (Note: Four other amino acids, arginine, cysteine, histidine and tyrosine, are required by infants and young children.)
There are 2 sources of protein where we can get our essential amino acids from. Animal proteins, and Plant proteins. Animal proteins tend to be more complete, but also come with more risk factors. Dairy products can cause allergic reactions in people, and animal proteins have a much higher amount of cholesterol. Plant proteins are not as complete, but are a healthier choice. If the right amount and combination of plant proteins are eaten, it is possible to get all of your essential amino acids from them.