Protein is made up of components called amino acids . During digestion, your body will break
down the protein into these amino acids and use them for a wide variety of functions. Some of
these functions include creating hormones, supporting brain health, and building bone, muscle,
and other body tissues.
There are 22 amino acids, nine of which your body can’t make, so they need to come from your
diet. These nine are commonly called essential amino acids because it’s essential you consume
them in your diet. Many plant-based protein sources contain some, but not all of the essential
amino acids. This makes it important to eat a variety of these plant-based foods throughout the
day, especially if you are following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet.
Protein complementation involves combining two plant-based sources of protein to ensure you
are getting all nine essential amino acids.
Some examples include:
● Beans + Grains, Nuts, or Seeds
● Grains + Legumes
● Nuts or Seeds + Legumes
● Vegetables + Grains, Nuts, or Seeds
Below is a list of plant-based protein options and approximate
Plant-Based Food Approx. Protein
Content per 100 g
Beans & Legumes
Lentils, boiled 9 g