In the search for alternative protein sources, pea protein is becoming an increasingly popular choice due to its many health benefits. Whether added to baked goods or mixed into smoothies or healthy snacks, pea protein brings lots of nutrients to your daily diet.
The Importance of Protein
Protein is a macronutrient as are carbohydrates and fats, all of which are an important part of a healthy balanced diet. Protein assists the body with muscle mass, bone density, and physical strength. If that weren’t enough, protein also aids with skin, hair, and nail health as well as boosting your metabolism. Another great thing about protein is that it keeps you feeling full warding off hunger.
The Lowdown on Pea Protein
Pea protein is extracted from yellow peas by removing the pea’s shell and milling the inner pea. Two scoops of pea protein isolate powder will contain approximately 120 calories if you happen to be counting and will provide about 27 grams of protein.
One of the great things about pea protein is that it is vegan and contains no animal substances and is very low in both carbohydrates and sugar, while the fiber it contains will aid digestion. It also does not contain gluten or lactose making it highly digestible and a valid option for those with these intolerances. Pea protein is allergy-free although it’s wise to check the manufacturer’s label to check for other additives.
Kinds of Pea Protein
Pea protein is generally sold in three forms:
- Pea protein concentrate: This may contain carbohydrates, fats, or other proteins as well.
- Pea protein isolate: This is the purest form that contains only pea protein itself and amino acids.
- Textured pea protein: Generally, not sold separately as a dietary ingredient, it is used in the creation of products that are an alternative to meat for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Is Pea Protein a Complete Protein?
Yes, pea protein is considered to be a complete protein because it does contain essential amino acids although it contains lower amounts of methionine+cysteine than other proteins. Brown rice is high in this amino acid so it can be paired with pea protein if need be. Non-vegans can add collagen peptides to compensate for the lower amount of amino acids.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Actually, not really as pea protein is easily digested. However, if you are on a sodium-restricted diet, you’ll want to consult your doctor or nutritionist before adding it to your diet just to be sure. Any overconsumption of protein can also contribute to kidney issues, so again speak with your medical care professional.
It’s important to remember that pea protein is a dietary aid or supplement and not a substitute for food.
Pea Protein Health Benefits
Here are some of the health benefits you can look forward to when including pea protein in your diet.
Pea protein is very nutritious. High in iron and low in fat content, pea protein contains all nine amino acids considered essential. To get the full benefit of its iron content, pair pea protein with fruits or vegetables containing vitamin C.
Pea protein is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Research has indicated that pea protein intake can lower the threat of inflammatory conditions and diseases.
Pea protein aids digestion. Peas and pea protein contain important amounts of fiber which is good for your health. Because it contains no lactose or gluten, it is easily digested and will not cause gas or bloating.
Pea protein can aid in weight loss. Protein brings the benefit of making you feel fuller, so pea protein will help reduce hunger and the urge to snack. Calorie intake will thus be reduced aiding weight loss.
Pea protein is great for maintaining heart health. Many people with heart issues suffer from high cholesterol or high blood pressure, perhaps both. Research on animals indicates that pea protein can aid in lowering blood pressure and in cholesterol reduction.
Pea protein can aid in building muscle mass. Despite being a plant protein, pea protein is just as effective in building muscle mass as animal protein. When compared to whey protein intake by men in a 3-month study, pea protein matched whey protein in muscle mass gain.
Pea protein is a great dietary option for those with food allergies and intolerances. As a vegan product, pea protein is recognized for its versatility, especially for allergy and intolerance issues. People unable to consume dairy foods, nuts, shellfish, soy, eggs, or wheat can opt for pea protein snacks as a safe alternative.
Together with all of pea protein’s health benefits, this protein is also very easy to add to your diet. It makes a wonderful addition to smoothies thanks to its good consistency and creamier texture. It works well in cooking and baking for the same reason.
When purchasing any protein powder, it is recommended that you read the list of ingredients to verify if other ingredients, such as sugars or additives are included.