Nutrition and exercise are key ingredients to a healthy lifestyle. Even with a good diet and regular exercise routine, you might need help getting all the essential nutrients for your body to stay healthy and grow. With all the health supplements on the market, it could be challenging to figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle.
Pea protein is one way you can supplement your workouts and reach your fitness goals. Keep reading to learn more about vegan pea protein and its many benefits to your health outside of the potential muscle gains.
What is Vegan Pea Protein?
One of the primary assistants to muscle growth and repair is protein. Protein provides the amino acids your muscles need to build and recover. Protein is naturally found in various food sources, some of which are converted to powder to be consumed in a shake. Shakes allow you to get an added dose of protein without adding too many additional calories to your diet.
Vegan pea protein is a powder supplement made by extracting protein from yellow split peas. Pea protein is considered high-quality and aids in weight loss, muscle growth and repair, and heart health. There are three different pea protein products: pea protein isolate, pea protein concentrate, and textured protein.
Of the three pea protein products, the two you'll see more commonly in stores or online are pea protein isolate and concentrate. An isolate is a powder containing protein and amino acids. Pea protein concentrates typically contain less protein than isolates; however, high-quality pea protein concentrate formulas can contain up to 98+% protein. Vegan Pea Protein has several health benefits beyond protein.
5 Added Health Benefits of Vegan Pea Protein
Discover the incredible health benefits of vegan pea protein, supporting overall well-being.
Naturally Vegan and Hypoallergenic
Vegan pea protein is a great alternative to the ever-popular whey protein for those on a vegan diet. Whey is one of two proteins found in cow's milk, eliminating it as a possible protein source for those on a vegan diet. Vegan pea protein contains no animal by-products.
Additionally, vegan pea protein is hypoallergenic, void of allergens. For those with common food allergies, like gluten or lactose intolerance, this protein will be sensitive to the stomach and digestive system.
Contains All Nine Essential Amino Acids
Vegan pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot naturally create on its own and, therefore, must get from foods. Amino acids help the body in various ways, including breaking down food, repairing tissue, boosting the immune system, providing energy, making hormones, making neurotransmitters, and building muscles. Pea protein is a bit low on the amino acid methionine, but the lack can be compensated with foods rich in this amino acid, like poultry, beef, pork, eggs, fish, and more.
Vegan pea protein is also a good source of branched-chain amino acids, particularly arginine, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Arginine promotes heart health and good blood flow, while the latter three amino acids promote muscle growth.
Excellent Source of Iron
Vegan pea protein is rich in iron. Most pea protein products contain 28-42% of the reference daily intake (RDI) for premenopausal women and 62–94% for postmenopausal women and men. Roughly 30% of the global population has an iron deficiency, so adding pea protein to your diet is a great way to boost your iron intake.
Iron from plant products tends to be less absorbable than from animal products. However, to offset this issue, you can consume your pea protein with vitamin C or along with vitamin C-rich foods like citrus. Doing this will increase iron absorption by up to 67%.
Great for Heart Health
Studies have shown that consuming pea protein powder can reduce some risks associated with heart diseases like high blood pressure and cholesterol. One trial showed that rat subjects had significantly lower blood pressure levels after consuming pea protein hydrolysate, a partially digested protein powder containing smaller proteins, for three weeks.
A study with human subjects showed a decrease of 6 points in systolic blood pressure after consuming 3 grams of pea protein hydrolysate for three weeks. Other animal studies with pea protein have shown promising results with cholesterol levels. It's believed that pea protein increases the uptake of cholesterol into cells and decreases the body's production of fats.
Helps Build Muscle and Lose Weight
One of the primary uses of vegan pea protein is to help build muscle when coupled with exercise. An increased intake of pea protein without regular exercise will not show any effect on the muscles. Vegan pea protein powder is a top protein supplement with just as much muscle-building potential as popular dairy-based protein powders, like whey protein. One study over 12 weeks showed that the muscle gain of weight-lifting men taking 50 grams of pea protein daily was the same as those taking whey protein.
Vegan pea protein is great for reducing calorie intake if you want to lose weight. Studies have shown that protein keeps you fuller longer than fats or carbs. Therefore, a high-protein diet or supplementing meals with pea protein shakes can help to reduce your overall calorie intake resulting in weight loss over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Grams of Protein Did You Need to Consume to Build Muscle?
Every protein product is different, so you should always follow product guidelines for consumption. Research suggests that you should consume 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram (0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound) of body weight if you are active. So, if you're 160 lbs, you should consume 87 to 145 grams of protein daily.
How Much Actual Protein is in Vegan Pea Protein?
The pea protein powder you would buy in stores would likely be pea protein isolate, which only contains protein and amino acids, giving it the highest protein content among other pea protein types. Pea protein products on the market may vary slightly, but on average, pea protein products will contain between 15 to 20 grams of protein for every 100 calories.
Is Whey Protein Better Than Pea Protein?
When you see different kinds of proteins on the market, it's easy to get caught up in which is the best. Whey and pea proteins are very similar and only share one major difference. They both help build the same amount of muscle, are both easily digestible, and are affordable. The difference is that pea protein is great for those with gluten or lactose intolerance or who live a vegan lifestyle.
Vegan pea protein is a great source of amino acids and iron for those wanting to boost their protein intake to build muscle and maintain a healthy weight. It is vegan-friendly and gluten-friendly with no real drawbacks. Take pea protein powder with vitamin C to maximize absorption, and you'll see the desired muscle gains with regular exercise and a healthy diet.