If you remember your high school biology class, you’ve definitely heard about complete proteins.
This means that a complete protein must contain all nine essential amino acids that your body doesn’t produce.
Such type of protein is the healthiest and usually comes from animal-derived sources like meat, eggs, and poultry.
But there are some plant-based sources of complete protein. Let’s take avocados as an example. Are they a complete protein?
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Are avocados a complete protein?
Avocados don’t contain all the amino acids required for a food to be called a complete protein, but they do contain all the essential ones. Essential amino acids have to be consumed from your diet, while non-essential ones can be produced by your body.
This means that avocados can be classified as a complete protein by some standards but not all.
Why aren’t avocados a complete protein?
Avocados contain all essential amino acids, which means that your body is getting enough of them from eating avocados to reach your daily need.
But avocado doesn’t contain enough of each of them to be considered a sufficient complete protein.
So, while it does provide you with amino acids, you’re better off adding some other sources of protein to dishes with avocado to create a complete protein.
One cup of sliced avocado contains around 3 g of protein, which corresponds to just 6% of your daily need for this macronutrient.
Because of that, a single serving of avocados doesn’t provide you with a lot of protein, which is then broken down into amino acids during digestion.
But if you eat avocado with some other protein-rich foods, you can easily create a healthy, complete protein.
Are avocados good for you?
Full of healthy fats
Most calories in avocados come from healthy fats. This type of fat helps protect you against heart disease by lowering the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and improving the levels of the ‘good’ kind.
High ‘bad’ cholesterol levels are a contributing factor in various heart conditions, including coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and plaque buildup in your arteries.
Because of that, try choosing foods containing healthy fats instead of deep-fried, processed foods.
High in fiber
Additionally, each avocado provides you with around 14 grams of fiber, which is almost half your daily recommended need for this nutrient.
Fiber is not only beneficial for weight management and weight loss but can also improve gut health.
Studies found that eating avocados can help feed the ‘good’ gut bacteria in your stomach and prevent inflammation in your digestive tract.
Inflammation in your gut can cause diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and even cancer. So, make sure to eat foods that prevent that.
Rich in potassium
Avocados are also especially high in potassium – a mineral that works as a primary electrolyte in your body.
Potassium also helps regulate your blood pressure, preventing strokes and heart attacks. A single serving of avocado provides you with 488 mg of potassium, which is quite a lot.
So, as long as you don’t have to carefully monitor your potassium intake (for example, because of kidney disease), make sure to include avocados in your diet to reap all the benefits of potassium.
Source of vitamin K
Eating avocados can also help you load up on vitamin K. This fat-soluble vitamin is crucial for the production of blood clotting factors and the building of bones.
Because of that, adequate amounts of vitamin K help prevent bone fractures and lower your risk of osteoporosis, among other bone-related conditions.
What’s more, since vitamin K is soluble in fat, getting it from avocados (which contain fat) ensures that you’re getting the most out of the vitamin K found in them.
Full of antioxidants
Avocados also make for a rich source of anti-inflammatory plant compounds and antioxidants.
They contain substances like carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, and phenolic compounds, which are all bioactive and come with many health benefits.
For example, they help protect your brain and improve cognitive health as well as prevent heart disease, lowering your risk of cardiovascular disorders.
Just like other antioxidants, they also flush out free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer and diabetes as well.
Can you make avocados a complete protein?
To make avocado a complete protein, you have to eat them with some foods that contain higher amounts of the nine essential amino acids that your body doesn’t produce.
For example, you can try making a salad with almonds and kale, which can help you load up not only on amino acids but also antioxidants.
You can also eat avocados with a source of complete protein on their own, such as chicken, turkey, salmon, cod, or shrimp.
Luckily, if you follow a plant-based diet, there are still complete protein food sources that you can consume, such as soybeans, quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed, and blue-green algae.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to have complete protein in every single meal. Instead, aim for a wide variety of healthy, protein-rich foods throughout the whole day. After all, it takes a while for your stomach to digest and metabolize the protein from your food.
So, if you have avocado toast in the morning and salad with almonds and buckwheat for dinner, you can create various mixes of complete protein all day long.
Additionally, if you follow a healthy, balanced diet, there’s no need to get too hung up on consuming complete protein each day.
You are getting enough amino acids from meat, vegetables, and fruits together. So, as long as you don’t eat too many processed foods, you should be getting enough amino acid-rich foods from your diet as is.
Because of that, you can see how important it is to eat clean and avoid deep-fried foods.
Although avocados contain all nine essential amino acids, they don’t provide you with enough of them in a single serving for avocados to be classified as a complete protein.
But avocados still contain a lot of amino acids, so they make for a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
They’re also rich in various vitamins and minerals, improving your health and preventing many health conditions.