The Complete Guide to Vegan Protein Powder – Which is best for you?
Protein is absolutely necessary for a healthy, functioning body. Protein is the key ingredient in everything from increasing muscle mass, health, and strength to plumping your skin and hair! However, for those who are new to plant-based eating, finding sources of exclusively plant-based protein can appear to be a difficult task. Origin Nutrition is here to assist!
There are a plethora of incredibly diverse, rich, healthy, and potent natural plant-based protein sources. Why should you get your protein from plants? Plant-based proteins are not only as efficient as animal proteins, but they are also high in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients such as polyphenols, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Furthermore, plant-based protein powders are the way to go if you want to get your protein on the go, incorporate a dose as a midday pick-me-up, or are looking for a protein boost for your travels. Simply mix them with water, your favourite milk substitute, or other plant-based ingredients and you’re ready to go!
You can choose from a variety of plant-based sources based on your personal protein requirements and food sensitivities or allergies. Vegan protein powders are typically made from brown rice, pea, soya, or hemp proteins, though some blends combine one or more of these sources to create a more ‘complete’ protein source. So, how do you pick the best protein for you? You could look at the primary plant ingredient, such as pea, rice, soya, and so on, as each has advantages and disadvantages. You can base your final decision on it.
- Pea Protein:
Pea protein is one of the best plant proteins available. Pea protein works just as well as whey protein in terms of muscle mass building, and it blends easily with liquids to provide a smooth, creamy texture. Infuse 2 scoops of pea protein powder into a breakfast smoothie for a whopping 21 grams of protein. If smoothies aren’t your thing, a flavourless pea protein can be seamlessly blended into soups, making it one of the most versatile plant-based options. Another advantage of the little green miracle protein is that it is easily digested, which means no gurgly post-protein smoothie belly at the end!
- Hemp Protein:
Hemp protein has about 12 grams of protein per serving, which is slightly less than other plant-based options. What it lacks in protein, it makes up for in essential nutrients like fibre, iron, zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Because of its high nutritional content, hemp protein is particularly energising when mixed into a morning or afternoon smoothie. With this one, look for a flavoured powder or combine it thoroughly with a flavoured base — it has a very ‘earthy’ taste, to put it mildly.
- Soy Protein:
When it comes to vegan proteins, soya protein is an old standby. It’s simple to mix, blends smoothly, and has some real biological benefits. It is a complete protein source, which is ideal for days when you may not be able to incorporate multiple plant-based protein sources. It also contains BCAAs, which are beneficial for increasing energy and performance during exercise as well as reducing fatigue afterward. Soya protein has a high protein content of about 22 grams per serving while being lower in calories than many other protein sources. However, and this is a big one, the vast majority of soya is genetically modified, so if you’re switching to plant-based protein sources for the sake of the environment, this might not be the best choice for you.
- Brown Rice Protein:
Brown rice protein also compares favourably to whey in terms of muscle support, with approximately 22 grams of protein per serving. However, due to its chalkier texture, rice protein may not work as well in smoothies. To get the most out of brown rice protein, look for a chocolate or vanilla variety and use it like flour to add extra nutrition to your baked goods. After all, starting your day with a tasty protein-rich muffin for breakfast will keep you fuller for longer. As an added bonus, because rice sensitivities are uncommon, this is a safe bet for anyone suffering from digestive issues.
- Plant-based blends:
Plant-based blends, while less common and typically more expensive, can be an excellent option for obtaining a more complete source of protein while reaping the benefits of plant nutrients. Blends are typically flavoured, so check the ingredients to ensure that they haven’t been loaded with a slew of chemical additives, which would negate many of the health benefits of a blend. Blends are ideal for smoothies because they pack a powerful nutritional punch in a small package.
The most important thing to remember is that protein behaves the same way in the body regardless of where it comes from. Get a full amino acid profile throughout the day, and your body won’t know whether it came from an animal or something much better for the environment. Protein is protein, no matter where it comes from. Having a plant-based powder in your shaker cup is a great plan if you want to take a protein powder for weight loss, or muscle gain, or just to make sure you’re getting your recommended intake of vegan protein powder from Origin Nutrition.