Cozido à portuguesa (Portuguese stew), arroz de legumes (vegetable rice), feijoada (bean stew) and so many other Portuguese dishes are based on the valuable and healthy association established between rice and vegetables. In addition to its nutritional abundance of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fibre and various antioxidants this union of cereals and pulses supplies high quality protein. Proteins are indispensable for the proper functioning of the body. They play important roles, for example in the formation of tissues, transport of substances, regulatory and hormonal functions, numerous metabolic activities, defence and storage functions, muscle elasticity, or serve as an energy source. All of these vital tasks in the conversion of top quality protein nutrients in the human body. They are composed of simpler units amino acids, which combine to change into different proteins. The human body can get the amino acids it needs to manufacture its own proteins in two ways: consuming food proteins or synthesizing the amino acids it needs in each case to prepare a specific protein. However, this second alternative is not possible in all cases. There are eight amino acids that the body is unable to synthesize and that, therefore inevitably have to be included in its diet. These are called essential amino acids. It has been confirmed that a quality protein is a protein in which all of the essential amino acids are assimilated. Pulses are rich in protein but low in methionine, an essential amino acid. Rice, in turn, contains methionine, but is poor in lysine, an essential amino acid otherwise especially present in vegetables. From these assertions it is apparent that if we eat rice with vegetables, the biological value of protein that they assimilate is improved. In other words, the culinary combination of rice and pulses allows these foods to supplement their essential amino acid deficiency and results in superb protein quality. Rice + Vegetables = quality protein The Portuguese habit of cooking rice as an accompaniment to a wide variety of vegetables appears to be optimal from nutritional point of view and exceptional especially when brown rice, extraordinarily rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, is used. According to current nutritional recommendations, you can fill five of the seven days of the week with vegetables and rice.