What Is Pea Protein and Is It Healthy For You?
Pea Protein - maybe you have heard of it, maybe you have not?
You do not necessarily need to be a fitness fanatic to know what pea protein is. It has been around for quite a few years, being sold in the forms of powders and supplements that claim to aid in muscle growth, weight loss, and a slew of other benefits that draw people in to its so-called "magic properties." But is pea protein all that it is cracked up to be? In this blog post, we will take a look at the superfood and see exactly what it is about. This is your guide to what pea protein is and whether or not it is healthy for you:
What Is Pea Protein?
Pea protein powder is a supplement made by extracting the protein from yellow peas. It’s typically used to increase the protein content of smoothies and shakes, making for an excellent fit for almost any diet since it’s naturally vegan and even hypoallergenic. Pea protein is a high-quality protein and a great source of iron. It can aid muscle growth, weight loss and heart health.
As for the nutrition facts of pea protein, many brands can vary drastically, but - for example - two scoops (20 grams) of NOW Organic Pea Protein Powder contains:
- Calories: 80
- Protein: 15 grams
- Carbs: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Total fat: 1.5 grams
- Sodium: 230 mg
- Iron: 5 mg
What Are The Benefits of Pea Protein?
Pea protein powders offer a variety of nutritional benefits. Here are some below:
High in Quality Protein
Pea protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids that your body cannot create and must get from food. The protein found within peas is also a great source of branched-chained amino acids, especially arginine, that help in promoting healthy blood flow and heart health. According to the the National Institutes of Health, pea protein also contains leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which promote muscle growth - making it perfect for any one trying to work out and gain muscle or for any vegan and vegetarian needing an added boost of protein.
With this being said, however, animal proteins are more easily digested and absorbed than plant-based proteins. The good news is that research demonstrates that pea protein is one of the more easily digested plant-based proteins just behind soy protein and chickpeas.
Helps To Build Muscle Mass
Studies show that pea protein powder can help increase muscle growth when paired with resistance training. In one 12-week study from the National Institutes of Health, weight-lifting men who consumed 50 grams of pea protein per day gained the same amount of muscle as those taking whey protein. This study suggests that pea protein powder is just as effective at building muscle mass as more common dairy-based protein powders. However, adding extra protein to your diet without working out is not likely to have any effect on your muscles!
Pea Protein Is Good For Your Heart Heath
In some animal studies, pea protein powder can reduce some of the risk factors for heart disease, like elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure. Pea protein contains hydrolysate, which is a partially digested protein powder that contains smaller proteins, has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure levels. In comparison, three-week study published in the National Institute of Health have found that 3 grams of pea protein hydrolysate per day lowered systolic blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
Pea protein powder is a high-quality, easily digested protein source made from yellow peas. It’s rich in iron, arginine and branched-chain amino acids and offers benefits like improved muscle growth, feelings of fullness and heart health. It works with most diets, as it's naturally vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and hypoallergenic. Pea protein powder is a great option if you’re looking to add more protein to your diet.
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