(NaturalHealth365) The type of protein powder you choose can dramatically influence your health. For several years, protein powders have become popular for weight management and building muscle. Naturally, this makes sense, since protein is a macronutrient needed to maintain muscle mass; strengthen the immune system; repair damaged cells and tissues; and manufacture hormones.
With so many choices of protein powder – let’s take a closer look.
Why should we care about protein powder?
A delicious protein-based smoothie can improve your metabolism and support healthy cellular communication. In fact, I can’t think of a more enjoyable (balanced) way to consume vitamins, minerals, plus essential amino acids. Think about it – when you’re hungry – this is a sign that your body is dehydrated and starving for nutrition. Next time you’re hungry – try a protein shake.
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are essential for countless metabolic functions. In other words, getting enough high-quality protein in your body (everyday) is a great idea. But, now, let’s talk about the best source for your protein powder.
Which is better – animal or vegetable?
Ultimately, this question will have to be answered by your own experience. The truth is, on a nutritional level, there isn’t much of a difference between high-quality animal or vegetable based protein powders. Even though animal protein is considered a more “complete” protein this is not necessarily true as far as health benefits are concerned. Actually, beef protein only contains 20% usable protein.
When you combine yellow pea and rice protein you can get 85-90 percent usable protein and it will be just as complete plus the bioavailability will be substantial.
The importance of consuming a complete protein isn’t as important as the amount of amino acids available for a health benefit. The body can’t tell the difference between complete proteins from various sources.
Organic protein powders have a great diversity of nutrients and amino acids.
The health benefits of whey protein
Whey is the most popular protein powder and is considered the fastest-digestible complete protein on the market. It provides the ideal array and proportion of amino acids and contains the building blocks for muscle – the branched chain amino acids (BCAA) which get depleted with exercise.
Non-denatured whey protein concentrate is the natural precursor for the production of glutathione (GSH). It contains large amounts of non-denatured cysteine and glutamine – the amino acids required for the body to make GSH.
Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant and needed for a healthy immune system. It plays a major role in the elimination of carcinogens; killing cancer cells and slowing down the aging process.
Whey is considered the king of proteins, however there are drawbacks such as allergic reaction; constipation; and bloating – even though the lactose and casein has been removed. Whey is higher in fat then some of the other protein powders. And, remember, always look for whey that is non-denatured; free of hormones; GMO-free and from grass-fed cows.
Can vegetarians get enough protein? (of course)
Organic hemp protein powder has a complete spectrum of bioavailable protein including all eight essential amino acids. Hemp is free of oligosaccharides, the component which can cause gas and an upset stomach.
Hemp protein consists of globulins (edestin) and albumin. These are two of the three most common types of proteins found in the human body, and hemp has more of these than any other plant-based source of protein. Hemp is also a quality source of the amino acids arginine and histidine – required for growth, and is a good source of branch-chained amino acids – needed for repair and growth of lean body tissue.
Finally, hemp protein provides the essential fatty acids (EFAs) omega-3 and omega-6 in a healthy ratio. Hemp is also one of the few sources of the hard-to-get gamma linolenic acid (GLA) – another important source of omega-6 EFAs. One of my favorite companies for hemp products is Nutiva.
Rice protein powder is easily digested and provides naturally occurring amino acids – the building blocks of protein. What you must look for is certified whole grain brown rice, which has been sprouted to significantly increase the nutritional content.
When it is processed right it is considered a raw and hypoallergenic food. There are only a few grams of total carbohydrates in each 30 gram serving making it mostly protein. I suggest you look for the brand “Boku” rice protein, which is certified organic and made from sprouted brown rice protein. Boku rice protein is highly absorbable and has a pleasing mellow taste.
Non-gmo pea protein is a newer form of protein powder, which earns high marks for is digestibility of 90-95 percent and has a low allergic response rate. Many times pea protein is combined with rice protein to make a product with superior amino acids. Pea protein is high in lysine, an important amino acid. Also, it is the least expensive protein on the market.
The question shouldn’t be which protein is better because everyone will have their own preferred type. The bottom line is to incorporate some type of high-quality protein into your life to cope with all the stresses of modern day living. Until next time – stay healthy and enjoy your smoothie!
About the author: Blanche Levine has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She has the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in natural healing including Naturopaths, scientist and energy healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.
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