We all know how important protein is for our bodies. Protein helps us build and maintain our muscles, keeps our bodies running properly, repairs tissue and organs, and can even aid in weight-loss. Protein is one of three major macronutrients our body requires (fats and carbohydrates are the other two).
Many of us get most of our necessary daily amount of protein through our everyday diet, from ingredients like meat, fish, eggs, or milk. But those animal-derived proteins can be loaded with saturated fats, cholesterol, and too many calories. They can also be extra hard on your kidneys.
On top of that, what if you’re a vegetarian or vegan? Or, what if you’re one of the millions of people that have food allergies or dairy intolerances, and you can’t eat those particular foods? Did you know that 65% of the human population has a problem digesting lactose?
You still need to get your protein from somewhere … especially if you lead an active lifestyle.
Protein powders are a great option for conveniently getting all those nutrients your body requires. But most of the protein powder that’s out there today is made from whey, which is a byproduct of curdled milk, or casein, which is another protein with a dairy origin. Those two options don’t really work for vegetarians, vegans, or people with dairy allergies or lactose intolerances.
You should consider plant-based protein powder
Plant-based protein powder — which derives its protein from sources like peas, chickpeas, rice, nuts, grains, or legumes — has been found to offer an equal amount, and sometimes even more, of the same healthy benefits as those derived from animal sources.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult female needs about 50 grams of protein per day (depending on your bodyweight). The average adult male needs about 60 grams. If you’re overly active, that daily amount of recommended protein intake rises.
Peas are one of the most highly concentrated forms of protein in the world. About 90% of a pea is pure amino-acid-packed protein. So, consider a plant-based protein powder with peas or chickpeas as leading ingredients.
The 5 best reasons to go plant-based
1) It’s easier to digest than animal-based protein
Plant-based proteins are extremely bioavailable, which means your body can metabolize them easier, and quickly put those amino acids to use repairing your body. Plant-based protein, especially in powder form, is also well-suited to most people’s digestive systems, too. This means that you’re less likely to experience bloating, gas, or constipation.
2) Improves athletic performance & recovery
The amino acids in protein are essential for building and repairing muscles, and also to help crank up your energy levels during physical activities. Plant-based proteins are absorbed into your system faster than animal-based proteins. They’re also packed with iron, vitamins, and other essential micronutrients. The result: Your body can put those needed nutrients to good use quicker and more efficiently, and even help promote a shorter recovery time.
3) It’s better for your gut health
Plant-based protein powders contain several nutrients that are beneficial for creating gut microbiome diversity — which means improved digestive health and less inflammation. This is important because the gut is where 70% of your immune system resides, and an unhealthy gut can lead to a whole host of health problems. Plant-based protein powders also don’t have the same risk of containing bacterial pathogens, like salmonella or listeria, which can be carried through cow’s milk … and potentially lead to painful gastrointestinal issues or worse.
4) It improves weight-loss results
Peas and chickpeas are naturally packed with fiber, which means they’ll keep you feeling fuller longer than most animal-based protein will. How? Fiber helps to curb hunger cravings, so you won’t be tempted to overeat or snack between meals. And because of all that natural fiber, your metabolism goes into overdrive trying to break it all down, which means it’s burning off even more fat to use as energy. And let’s not forget that fiber is really good at keeping you “regular,” which also helps with weight-loss. Finally, plant-based protein powders have fewer calories and less fat than those made from animal and dairy.
5) It’s better for your whole body
Plant-based protein powders, especially those formulated from peas and chickpeas, can help lower your cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and even lower your risk of heart disease or stroke. Plant proteins offer extra vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you just can’t get from animal protein alone. And these extra nutrients are essential for keeping your body healthy and running at its peak. And not to keep on bashing those dairy-based whey and casein protein options, but you won’t find any growth hormones or antibiotics in plant-based protein powders.
For a vegetarian-friendly, plant-based protein powder that checks all the boxes, take a look at NutriProtein. It’s packed with pea protein, chickpeas, moringa powder, inulin, chia seeds, cocoa, and a bunch of other really-good-for-you ingredients. It’s everything you need in a daily protein shake. It’s also delicious!
To your health,
Dr. Pedre & your NatureM.D. Wellness Team