Protein Types for All Types of Bodies
Everybody needs protein, and protein powders are an increasingly popular source of this essential nutrient. Once upon a time, the words “protein powder” might have conjured up an image of bodybuilders choking down chalky post-workout shakes, but now there are a wide variety of delicious options and people are discovering how easy and convenient it is to grab a shake or add some powder to a favorite recipe for a quick protein boost.
With so many choices, it can be a little overwhelming selecting a protein powder There are a number of animal- and plant-based sources, all with benefits and potential drawbacks. Perhaps one of the most popular animal-based protein powders is whey, derived from milk. Whey protein is a by-product of cheese production and contains a high level of branched chain amino acids, but low levels of lactose, making it easily digestible for most people. Some studies have indicated that whey may have immune-boosting benefits and could possibly lower the effects of glucose and insulin. Whey is also a great source of glutathione, which removes toxins and protects cells from damage, and can slow aging and protect against age-related diseases. It is important, however, to choose a whey protein that is made from hormone and antibiotic-free milk, and that is undenatured, meaning the structure of the protein has not been broken down by processing. Whey is usually well-tolerated by lactose-sensitive people, but those who are extremely sensitive, or who have a milk allergy, may want to consider egg white protein powder. It is comparable to whey in protein content, as well as being very low in fat and cholesterol.
For the non-animal-consuming crowd, there are plenty plant-based alternatives that provide high-quality protein. Soy is one of the only plant sources of complete protein, but conflicting health information and negative environmental impact have led more and more people away from consuming soy products. Fortunately, it is easy to find soy-free vegan protein powders, with rice, hemp, and pea protein being among some of the more prominent choices. Many brands offer blends of these and other plant sources, including sprouted seeds and grains, and even some seemingly unlikely sources like cranberry and artichoke. Plant-based powders can also provide fiber, omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and some even have health-enhancing herbs and superfoods.
It's easy to see why protein powders are gaining in popularity, and with so many on the market today, there is certainly something for everyone.