The demand for healthy forms of protein is on the rise recently, with many people looking for plant-based sources that can contribute to a well-balanced diet. Pea protein is a good example of this, and there are a number of reasons why it is increasing in popularity. The health advantages are numerous, and the quality of the protein is high. This article will run through the major benefits of pea protein.
What is Pea Protein?
Pea protein is a popular source of vegan protein that is extracted from the yellow pea (Pisum sativum). It is often used as an ingredient in meat-alternatives and protein shakes due to its neutral taste and proportion of high-quality protein. In modern society, the search for healthy forms of protein is huge; in Canada alone, around 153 million Canadian dollars have been set aside to research different plant proteins.
Healthy eaters are increasingly incorporating it into their diets due to the vast benefits of pea protein, and many people include it as part of their vegan meal delivery plans. Additionally, athletes and bodybuilders searching for an ethical, plant-based alternative to boost their exercise routine often rave about pea protein powder benefits.
Benefits of Pea Protein
Pea protein benefits are wide-ranging and plentiful. The nutritional makeup of pea protein can vary, but a typical serving (20 grams) contains 80 calories, 15 g of protein, 1 g of carbs, 1 g of fiber, 1.5 g of fat. On top of this, it also contains several beneficial properties and essential micronutrients that can contribute to a healthy diet.
Pea protein provides a generous amount of iron per serving, with a lot of brands containing around 5 mg for every 20 g. This equates to around 60% of the reference daily intake (RDI) for men postmenopausal women, and 30% of the RDI for premenopausal women.
It is worth noting, however, that plant-based iron sources are non-heme, meaning it is less absorbable than the heme-iron that comes from many animal products. A good way to improve the absorption of plant-based iron is to increase your intake of vitamin C – which can improve the absorption of iron by almost 70%.
Around 90% of a pea is made up of protein. One of the greatest benefits of pea protein is that it contains all of the essential amino acids that are not produced by the body and, consequently, one must get from different food sources.
These nine essential amino acids (lysine, histidine, methionine, tryptophan, isoleucine, leucine, valine, phenylalanine, and threonine) are vital for the optimal functioning of the body. It is important, though, that pea protein should not be used as the sole source of these essential amino acids – it is low, for example, in methionine, and other sources of this should be sought out.
Aside from essential amino acids outlined above, pea protein also contains a variety of branched-chain amino acids, such as arginine. Arginine is essential for optimal blood flow.
Many of the popular sources of protein (e.g. soy, milk, cheese, whey) can cause allergic reactions in certain people when consumed. A benefit of pea protein powder is that it is an extremely rare allergen. This means that an overwhelming majority of people can consume pea protein safely, without fear of suffering from any detrimental reactions.
A further pea protein powder benefit is that it is gluten-free, meaning that people with gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance can safely consume it.
Digestion and Appetite Control
A major pea protein benefit is that it is far easier to digest than a pure pea. During the processing of the pea protein powder, a fair amount of fiber and starch is lost, making the product easily digestible and improving the absorption rate of the remaining fiber.
Pea protein can also keep you fuller for longer due to its high protein content, which can lead to gradual weight loss over time.
The abundance of amino acids found in pea protein powder makes it the perfect ingredient for muscle-building and muscle repair. After an intense exercise session, muscle tissue gets broken down and these amino acids act to repair and fix the tears. Its fast absorption rate also makes pea protein a great option for both a pre and post-workout shake.
A lot of traditional diets are made up of animal-based proteins that are harsh on the environment and your body – not to mention the ethical concerns that come with it. One of the main benefits of pea protein is that it is naturally vegan and is a good way to remove animal products from your diet. Further pea protein benefits include that it contains less saturated fats and calories than animal-based products and is easier on the kidneys than other popular protein powders, such as whey.
It also holds several advantages over other plant-based proteins. Soy, for example, can alter a person’s hormone levels when consumed in moderate amounts due to the estrogen-mimicking compounds that are found with.
Benefits of Pea Protein FAQs
Which is better pea or whey protein?
Both pea and whey are great sources of protein, making up around 90% of its nutritional content. Yet, one of pea protein powder benefits that whey cannot contend with is the fact that it is entirely plant-based. This makes it a perfect choice for vegans, vegetarians, and others who want to limit their animal product intake.
Is pea protein inflammatory?
Pea protein is anti-inflammatory due to the carbohydrate compounds that are found within the pea. Some of its anti-inflammatory properties are, however, reduced during the processing of pea protein powder.
Is pea protein good for skin?
Sufficient protein intake is vital for healthy skin and can help a person achieve a healthy glow. As pea protein powder is made up of 90% protein, it is a great choice for individuals looking for a plant-based protein that is good for the skin.
Is pea protein complete?
Pea protein is a complete protein that contains all of the nine essential amino acids that are not produced by the body. Its level of methionine is low, however, so other sources of this should be incorporated into your diet.
What is the healthiest protein powder?
Due to the high quantity of iron and the prevalence of essential amino acids, pea protein powder is considered to be one of the healthiest protein powders available. It is also naturally vegan and gluten-free.