One of the biggest revolutions in the lifestyle and food industry in contemporary times is veganism. It has evolved into a trend, a healthy trend among people of all ages. More and more people are choosing plant-based products over animal-based. There are numerous sustainable reasons for this paradigm shift but the catalyst among them are the health benefits associated with plant-based products.
Take protein shakes, for example. There are two types of proteins now, depending on their source of origin- milk-based (whey) protein and plant-based (vegan) protein.
Since whey protein powder is the milky by-product of cheese, it is largely dominated by milk sugar called lactose. Lactose content in the whey protein is the cause of issues like stomach bloating, stomach aches, intestinal cramps and even gas if your body is highly sensitive to lactose.
This is where plant-based protein or vegan protein found its USP.
Being extracted from plants, vegan protein powder is devoid of lactose. It has also found its niche in women as its key demographic. According to food.ndtv.com, research has deduced that vegan protein powder for women along with a balanced diet can mitigate the risk of premature death, heart-related deaths etc. in postmenopausal women.
But before you go and type “best protein powder for women” on your search engine, you must ask
yourself the following questions:
Q1. Is it organic or not?
Organic vegan protein is not just about elitism. It has more to do with your health. Organic plants are all-natural and are grown by all-natural means. If you choose a non-organic vegan protein powder, you will be choosing pesticide residue over the health of your body.
Q2. Is it complete or not?
Now, the protein content from vegan sources may not be as high as plants but when supplemented with the right diet – a good vegan protein can also help you achieve your body’s daily protein requirement.
Having said that, the issue of exclusive distribution of health benefits across the plant kingdom is dealt with the introduction of complemented protein combinations.
The process behind it is simple.
Every plant has unique nutrients, sometimes even exclusive. When these plants with their exclusive health benefits are blended, the complemented protein combination formed has health benefits of every plant used.
Complementary protein combinations contain extractions from multiple plant sources and the blend produced is rich in key nutrients like 9 essential amino acids, BCAAs, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, to name a few.
Since most plant-based protein sources are incomplete, lacking essential amino acids, it is recommended to opt for blended ones, to achieve wholesome growth of health.
Q3. Are you allergic?
Take peanut for example. Around 1.1% of the general population (i.e., 3 million Americans approx.) is allergic to peanuts. The point to be noted here is to check the ingredients before buying or consuming any product in general, let alone a plant-based protein. You can do a food intolerance test or skin test to determine if you are allergic to any ingredient in the protein and then choose accordingly.
Now that we have answered the questions that are to be considered before browsing, let’s see what all is out there to choose from when it comes to plant-based protein powder.
- Pea Protein
Whether it is chickpeas or peanuts, protein is in abundance in peas. Even the people who use whey protein have peanut butter or chickpea salad in their diet and rightfully so. When eaten in their natural form, cooked chickpeas contain around 7.25 g per ½ cup and peanuts 20.5 gm per ½ cup of protein. The protein content only increases when presented in an isolated protein form.
Pea Protein isolates are easy to digest, provide high levels of lysine, arginine, magnesium, iron and BCAAs, to name a few.
With the addition of pea protein, a complementary protein combination becomes rich in branched- chain amino acids, BCAAs, which are key in muscle growth and greatly improve stamina and performance.
Peas in vegan protein powder for women boost estrogen levels, helping in dealing with postmenopausal issues.
- ORGANIC PUMPKIN SEED PROTEIN
This protein is high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants which are very essential for muscle growth and lean body.
A high concentration of glucose can lead to increase in insulin levels – further causing fat storage. Consuming protein from pumpkin seeds can help manage this. The magnesium component in pumpkin seed protein helps lower blood sugar i.e., lowering the insulin level and thus, leading to a leaner, healthier body.
Pumpkin seed protein is high on tryptophan which promotes calmness. This comes in handy when you are going through a stressful workout regime or even a life situation!
- ORGANIC BROWN RICE PROTEIN
Even if you are consuming whey protein powder, any trainer worth his salt will add brown rice to your diet. Not only does it provide high levels of leucine, valine, isoleucine, tyrosine, and methionine, it also, just like pumpkin seed protein, lowers your glycemic response keeping glucose levels in check. And as mentioned above, the glucose level in control means that your fat storage is in control. It is advisable to go for protein extracted from sprouted brown rice. For example, Terra
Origin’s Plant Protein uses sprouted brown rice – which is healthier than regular brown rice.
- Flax, Chia and Hemp Seeds
Flax, Chia and Hemp seeds are complete proteins, containing all essential amino acids. They are also rich in fibres, heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, lignan, calcium and iron. The antioxidants present
in them helps reduce cellular damage which is pivotal not just for muscle building but also healthy in the long run. The omega-3 fatty acids in chia and flax seeds can help balance cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
There are numerous other plant-based protein isolates in the market but the best out of all are, without a doubt, complementary protein combinations. Having said all this, it is also essential to not be dependent on just proteins. Think of it like an aid, that will only work if you work on yourself with determination; a regular workout and a balanced diet. Whether it be a whey protein or vegan, protein powder for women or men, the key to its optimum use is to incorporate it into your already healthy lifestyle and not make it the only thing healthy in your life.