Protein is an essential body nutrient that helps build muscles and repair body tissues. Meats, poultry, fish, and dairy products are the most common sources of protein. Nowadays, protein can be taken in powder form. High-quality protein powder has recently gained popularity as a nutritional supplement due to its health benefits.
Aside from being an alternative protein source, it is proven to be effective in weight loss and muscle toning. Many athletes, vegetarians, and vegans find protein powder to be beneficial and a complete source of protein and even other nutrients. Depending on one’s nutritional needs, this supplement can help balance the amount of protein in the body.
Types of Protein Powder
There are several types of protein powder available in the market today. They are often flavoured and made into protein shakes. The most common types of protein powder are listed below:
- Whey: This is the most popular type of protein powder primarily used by athletes. It is known to contain essential amino acids. Whey is the liquid part of the milk that is considered a by-product of cheese production. They often come in chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavours.
- Casein: Like whey, casein is a protein derived from milk. While whey is digested faster by the body, casein takes a longer time to be absorbed. This is why casein powders are often taken at night. It also contains glutamine which is known to help muscles recover faster after exercise. Both whey and casein are not suitable for vegans and lactose intolerants.
- Soy: This is a plant-based protein powder that is a perfect choice for those who can’t consume dairy. It also contains all the basic amino acids.
- Pea: This is another vegan-friendly option that contains pea protein which is a great source of amino acids like arginine. Arginine is helpful in improving blood circulation.
- Hemp: Hemp powder is made from ground hemp seeds which contain protein, fibre, and essential fats. The protein contained in hemp is equivalent to egg whites and soy.
Health Benefits of Protein Powder
Before, protein powders are known to only benefit athletes, weightlifters, and fitness enthusiasts. However, they are proven to have many health benefits, especially to those who are protein deficient. These benefits are listed below:
- Aids in muscle growth – Research suggests that protein powders can significantly improve the size and strength of muscles in both men and women who are currently in exercise training.
- Helps in weight loss – Protein supplements such as protein powders can help reduce weight and body mass, especially for those who have problems in weight management. Protein intake can reduce cravings and frequent eating.
- Promotes faster recovery after workout – Studies show that taking protein powders after a strenuous exercise can help sore muscles recover faster by repairing the damaged tissues.
- An additional source of nutrients – For many vegetarians and vegans, getting enough protein is a challenge. Plant-based protein powders give them an easy and alternative source of complete protein. Older people who have higher needs for protein can also benefit greatly from this supplement.
Protein powders are a convenient source of essential amino acids. Whey is the most popular type of protein powder due to its ability to be absorbed faster by the body. Due to their health benefits, protein powders continue to gain popularity as a nutritional supplement.