One of the main concerns of people when going vegan is how they will get protein; fortunately, the protein vegan powder is the answer they are looking for.
Today, we are in an age of awareness of the environment, health, and animal rights. Many people have decided to take animal products out of their lives and look for other, more sustainable food alternatives. But is it possible to maintain a balanced plant-based diet?
The truth behind protein powder
There is a big taboo regarding complete proteins and vegan diets. In fact, there will be few vegans who have not been asked where they consistently get protein from or have been told that vegetable protein is of lower quality.
The argument that only animal proteins are complete is somewhat outdated, as different plant foods such as quinoa, soy, and seitan have been shown to contain all essential amino acids.
Besides, they can also be obtained through food combinations such as legumes with cereals (lentils with rice) or legumes and seeds (humus contains all the essential amino acids). These combinations do not need to be made in the same meal, but it is advisable to vary the protein sources throughout the day.
There is no doubt that a vegan diet can meet the body’s protein needs. But what about athletes? Sometimes athletes incorporate protein powder or shakes. This is mostly done to gain muscle mass and strength.
Protein vegan powder offers the possibility of ingesting high amounts of low fat and low carbohydrate protein. They also stand out for the convenience of being able to take it at any time and the speed with which it can be mixed.
The consumption of protein vegan powder can be a good option since it has higher availability, is easy to transport, and is a practical means of acquiring the number of amino acids that we need.
How to choose the best protein vegan powder?
We should look at the aminogram, the number of excipients, and the food from which it has been extracted. It should contain all the essential amino acids in an adequate quantity, and, at best, it should be a combination of two or more sources to ensure a correct supply of these.
The most widely used preparations offer isolated soy, pea, brown rice, and hemp proteins. Some preparations offer mixtures to which they add sweeteners, prebiotic fiber, and other substances. There are sources such as pumpkin, blue lupine, and sunflower seeds, which are making a name for themselves in the market.
The best source of vegetable protein is the one that combines different sources to ensure a higher dose of various amino acids and better bioavailability. Although, if we have an adequate diet throughout the day, we already get a good supply of amino acids.
It is essential when consuming powdered vegetable protein, sweeteners such as sugar (sometimes hidden under names such as syrup, fructose, saccharin, maltodextrin), soy lecithin, and other additives such as xanthan gum, which can have a laxative effect and irritate. Choose organic products to avoid transgenic ingredients.
There are three essential amino acids in muscle gain: isoleucine, valine, and, above all, leucine, since it activates mTOR (protein of mammalian cells). In the supplement, we must look at the leucine (we must get about 2 g daily).
Which is the best protein vegan powder?
There are many sources of vegetable proteins that are processed in the form of protein vegan powders, including the following:
Pea protein is relatively new and especially popular with vegetarians, vegans, and people with allergies and intolerances to dairy and egg products.
Pea protein comes from the legume family, and its consumption as protein is booming. This could be due to its high protein and fiber content, its compatibility with vegan diets, and its gluten-free content.
Furthermore, its fat and sugar content are quite low. It is sold incorporated into supplements, smoothies, and powder as a superfood, as well as a pea itself. It is easily digestible and tastes good, which could allow it to be incorporated into recipes.
It comes from the yellow pea, a legume that is high in protein and contains high amounts of the essential amino acids, except methionine. It is also rich in branched-chain amino acids.
It is one of the proteins with the highest percentage of vegetable protein (80%) and contains all the essential amino acids. Besides, it is also rich in iron and phosphorous. It should be noted that, together with rice protein, they are the proteins with the highest content of L-leucine. This amino acid is essential for athletes, as it is the crucial element for protein synthesis.
Likewise, it is a food extraordinarily rich in nutrients with an excellent caloric intake recommended to replace after exercise. It is a plant protein source, contains beneficial fats, and is an excellent source of fairly good amino acids.
Hemp protein is another type that is gaining popularity. Coming from hemp seeds, it is one of the best sources of vegetable protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids. They also have minerals like magnesium, zinc, calcium, and iron. They regulate blood sugar and have antioxidant power.
This protein is also remarkably interesting due to its omega-3 and omega-6 ratio; it also contains gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). It is a highly digestible protein, has a high percentage of fiber, and is a good iron and magnesium source.
Protein vegan powder from hemp has been transformed into a nutritional supplement coveted by athletes, particularly those who want to increase their muscle mass. The protein in hemp seeds is made up of albumin and edestin. Most notable is that its proteins have a structure similar to proteins made in the blood and are easier to digest than soy proteins.
Pumpkin Seed Protein
Pumpkin seed protein contains vegetable protein of high biological value with the right balance of branched-chain amino acids, proper assimilation, and easy digestion. It is also rich in minerals such as magnesium and zinc, has a good flavor, and is dairy and gluten-free.
Besides, pumpkin seeds help strengthen metabolism, increase heart health, and improve mood. It contains 55% protein and is rich in fiber and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and manganese.
Brown rice protein
Protein vegan powder from brown rice has been on the market for a long time, and they are considered inferior to whey protein if what you want is to work the muscle. It is made from sprouted brown rice and contains a high protein (80%). Its content in L-leucine and tryptophan stands out.
Although rice protein contains all essential amino acids, it is too low in lysine to be considered a complete protein. However, a preliminary study suggests that consuming rice protein has beneficial effects for the body and showed similar whey protein results in strength and resilience.
The protein in brown rice is not a complete protein, but that does not necessarily mean that it is not worth taking, as long as we receive enough. In the critical study, it was found that resistance-trained men who ingested 48 grams of rice protein on training days experienced similar muscle gains as men who took the same amount of serum.
A second study in mixed martial arts artists also found whey-like benefits with a daily intake of isolated brown rice protein in gaining muscle mass.
Brown rice protein is perfect for vegans and aids in muscle recovery. It is hypoallergenic, so it is not a problem for people allergic to gluten, lactose, or soy. Also, brown rice protein helps control blood sugar.
It helps lose weight by activating lipase in the liver and blood vessel walls, thus burning fat more efficiently. The fact that it contains leucine, an amino acid that helps muscle growth, makes it better than Whey protein. It is often combined with pea protein, making it more complete. There are vegan proteins made from peas and brown rice.
The perfect amount to take to obtain visible results is estimated at 48 grams for people who include between 100 and 150 grams of protein in their diet for doing some type of training.
Soy protein is found in soybeans and is considered a “complete protein.” The supplement is obtained from soybean paste or soybean meal, then goes through a purification process to get concentrates or isolates.
Soy protein is unique because it is one of the only complete vegetarian proteins. Soy products are rich in all three branched-chain amino acids, which also help your body recover and rebuild themselves after physical activity.
It is also high in glutamine, which helps our bodies recover after exercise, and arginine, which can help us dilate blood vessels to bring nutrients to muscles faster. Soy protein can be a low-cost option for most people.
Sunflower seed protein
When consumed daily, protein vegan powder from sunflower seed provides various health benefits because it contains healthy unsaturated fats, proteins, fibers, vitamin E, selenium, copper, zinc, folate, iron, and phytochemicals. Just 30 grams of this seed per day can significantly enrich the diet with various types of nutrients.
Likewise, it also contains essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, or potassium, and they are generous in vitamins of group B. They also constitute an excellent ally to replenish protein levels, since they provide 20 grams of protein for every 100 grams of the product.
Originally from Mesoamerica, it became a food and economic pillar of pre-Hispanic civilizations in Mexico and Central America. It was used as food, as a tribute for religious offerings and as base oils for paintings.
Nutritionally noteworthy is its high concentration of Omega-3 essential oils (10 times more than salmon), fibers and proteins. The paste generates acts by emulsifying the digestive system facilitating its functioning, improving cardiovascular health, and lowering cholesterol, it is recommended for people with diabetes.
The benefits of chia seeds for athletes are proven thanks to their high nutritional properties, as they contain vitamins, many minerals, and amino acids, both essential and non-essential, in addition to their highly beneficial fiber content. The amount of amino acids it has will help us meet the amino acid pool that is required during the day.
Likewise, the chía vegetable protein powder contains omega-three and omega-six in the necessary proportion for the proper functioning of the body, as well as essential minerals such as potassium and calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Chia protein contains all the properties attributed to chia seeds, but its fat content is lower since chia seeds are partially defatted by mechanical pressure to obtain it.
Sacha Inchi protein
Sacha Inchi seed powder is a rich source of easily digestible plant protein from the mountains of Peru. Sacha inchi is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Sacha inchi powder is a high protein and energizing food; It also has a high concentration of vitamins A and E, which give it antioxidant characteristics. The combination of its components makes it ideal for strengthening the body.
Due to its high concentration of plant-based proteins, it is recommended for people who perform physical activity and high-performance athletes. It is also an ideal protein alternative for vegetarians and a good source of protein and antioxidants for older adults. It can be used as a natural supplement, nutraceutical, and as an ingredient for energizing foods.
Mixed protein vegan powders
Many of the most effective plant-based protein powders use a blend of several different types of protein to get the full benefits of plant proteins.
Protein can be extracted from a variety of plants and vegetables so that you could see ingredients like artichoke protein, quinoa protein, chia seed, etc. It would be rare to find one of these ingredients on its own in a product, but they are often added to the protein mix for more variety.
Most protein vegan powders use a mixture of the types listed above. Mixes are the best way to obtain a balanced amino acid profile.
There are nine essential amino acids and many other non-essential ones. To get the most vegetable protein benefits, you will want to find a product that contains a variety of different protein sources and provides an excellent amino acid profile.
What are the uses and benefits of protein vegan powders?
Useful plant-based protein powders can benefit you in several ways. Mainly, its benefits come from its rich protein content; Essentially, these products help deliver protein benefits. protein vegan powders can offer you the following benefits:
- Increase protein intake
- Provides an easy and convenient source of high-quality protein
- Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and is used in many processes.
- Helps vegetarians and vegans meet protein intake requirements
- It has complete proteins with a balanced amino acid profile
- An affordable and accessible source of protein
- Helps muscles recover and grow
- Useful for athletes
- Improves post-workout recovery
- Useful for diet
- Protein helps you feel full longer
- Rich in fibre
- Can be used as a meal replacement
- Supports a healthy body weight
- High protein content, but low in calories, low in fat, low in carbohydrates, etc.
- It can help prevent various diseases and conditions
- Lower environmental impact compared to proteins of animal origin
- Supports global health
The specific benefits will vary slightly from product to product. Still, overall, the benefits of eating adequate protein are clear, and these types of products can help you achieve the ideal daily protein intake for your body and lifestyle.
The side effects associated with vegetable protein are quite rare. Some minor gastrointestinal problems can occur in some people, such as gas, nausea, upset stomach, etc. If you notice stomach problems after taking a protein powder, consider taking a smaller dose next time to reduce these effects.
Because plant-based proteins can use a wide variety of ingredients, there is always some potential for a specific ingredient-sensitivity or allergic reaction. If you have allergies or food sensitivities, be sure to take a close look at the ingredient labels of any product you are considering.
How do I take protein vegan powders?
Herbal protein powders should be mixed with water, milk, or mixed with a protein shake (with any other ingredients you want). Protein shakes are a great snack or meal substitute, and especially if you choose a plain or flavoured protein powder, they can be very versatile. It’s generally recommended going with plain vanilla/chocolate flavours, or plain to keep your options open.
As for the protein dose, it varies from one product to another. Most protein powders will have a scoop included in the package, which is a pre-measured serving. This makes measuring portion size easy and takes the guesswork out of it. With more potent plant protein products, you will generally get around 15-25g of protein in each serving.
It is essential to assess the quality of the type of protein vegan powder that we use. Some contain aggregates such as sugars or oils, in addition to artificial colours or sweeteners.
When in doubt, we should always consult a nutritionist to advise us on which is the healthiest and most beneficial protein vegan powder shakes based on our individual characteristics and what we want to achieve with them.
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