There are plenty of vegan protein powders available today, made from superfood ingredients that offer up not only protein, but a wealth of other phytonutrients and superfoods. Even if you’re not a vegan, plant-based vegan protein can be used by anyone. Whether you are plant-based, lactose in tolerant or are sensitive to dairy, it no longer means you need to stop using protein powder as part of your supplement routine. Consider using one of these vegan protein powders in your next smoothie instead of traditional dairy or whey protein powder. But first let’s talk a bit about vegan protein powders!
What are Vegan Protein Powders?
Vegan protein powders are basically a blend of a few different vegan protein sources, such as pea, soy, brown rice, or even hemp. Vegan blends offer a variety of vegetarian proteins blended into one powder to ensure a full complement of the essential amino acids. Although soy protein does contain all the essential amino acids, it doesn’t offer them up in the right ratios, adding in other vegan sources ensures the right mix to assist in muscle building and maintaining hard earned muscle. Vegan protein blends are perfect for those with lactose intolerances, vegans and ovo-vegetarians.
Pea Protein is isolated from yellow split peas and offers up an easily digested source of natural vegan protein, providing 26 g of protein per serving, 0 g of saturated fat, 3 g of carbohydrates and 1 g of fiber. Pea Protein is high in Leucine, the essential muscle building Branched Chain Amino Acids, pump promoting arginine and recovery amino glutamine, making its profile very similar to the dairy protein whey. Pea Protein is also a low allergen, which means most people can tolerate this protein, unlike dairy proteins. Research has shown that Pea Protein intake in humans has a positive effect on satiety, reducing hunger compared to dairy proteins including whey, showing reduced food intake after consumption.
Hemp Protein is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant by grinding the seeds using cold-pressing technique. Hemp protein offers up a complete spectrum of all the essential amino acids, and in the ratios that are most preferred and useable by the body. Hemp Protein also delivers a source of essential fatty acids including omega-3 and omega-6. Essential fatty acids are important for controlling the inflammatory process and promoting a healthy hormonal balance. One 30 g serving of Hemp Protein provides 15 g of protein, 2.5 g of polyunsaturated fats, along with a source of vitamin C, calcium and 20% of your daily value of iron.
Sacha Inchi Protein
The Sacha Inchi Protein is harvested from the star-shaped seedpods. This vine plant is native to the Peruvian Rainforest, where indigenous people have long used it as an energizing source of food. Sachi Inchi Protein delivers a high content of essential aminos including a great source of mood elevating tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, when serotonin is elevated not only is your mood positive, but appetite and cravings can be reduced. It’s also high in fiber and the rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Sacha Inchi Protein delivers 18 g of protein in a 30 g serving along with 3 g of fiber.
This ancient Aztec and Mayan superfood delivers not just protein but also an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids. The most intriguing benefit of Chia is its ability to suck up water! It’s highly soluble, forming a gel like substance once it absorbs water. This swelling action fills the gut and slows down digestion, which can help decrease appetite and cravings. Slower digestion allows for a sustained release of nutrients to the body keeping blood sugar levels maintained. Chia is also rich in minerals including calcium, iron and magnesium. This protein source isn’t as rich as other proteins on this list, providing just 6 g in 30 g serving, along with 10 g of fat and 12 g of carbs and 10 g of fiber. Consider blending a half serving with another protein sources.
Brown Rice Protein Powder
Extracted from whole grain brown rice, this protein delivers 24 g of protein in a 30 g serving. Considered one of the least allergenic of all vegetable-based proteins, rice protein powder is also a source of calcium and iron. One of the most interesting qualities of rice protein is its ability to digest at an intermediate rate, between that of whey and casein, which means it can provide a steady supply of aminos to your muscles. In one study, it was shown that no detectable differences in recovery were noticed between Rice and Whey protein, when used in resistance-trained athletes. After 8-weeks of supplementation with either Rice or Whey protein powder on training days, both groups experienced improvements in indices of body composition and exercise performance.