Pea protein is making its way to the forefront of protein sources, and for good reason! Learn the 9 benefits of pea protein and why you should include it to up your protein intake!
In fact, I am such a fan of protein powder that Dustin and I created cleanish Plant-Based Protein Powder. The first ingredient is pea protein; it's vegan and an excellent source of iron. We've got 3 fantastic flavors, too! Add a scoop of this nutritional powder to your protein shake and you've got a healthy snack bursting with flavor.
In my post How to Calculate Your Macros for Weight Loss: More Than Just Counting Calories, I tell you about protein, as it is one of the macronutrients that make up the calories we eat each day (fat and carbs are the other two).
I also explain the aim for your macro percentages based on your goals (building muscle, losing weight, etc.). The average person should aim for 10-35% protein daily. To figure out what’s best for you, hop on over to this post.
But let’s talk about pea protein specifically this time. It’s packed with nutrients and provides a ton of health benefits. Read on, and I’ll give you the scoop!
WHY IS PROTEIN IMPORTANT?
Protein does a lot for the body. In fact, I have an entire video on protein, which I am sure you will find helpful. In a nutshell, protein aids the following:
- Helps with lean muscle mass and strength
- Aids in muscle thickness when combined with a workout
- Leucine and valine in pea protein aid muscle growth
- Boosts your metabolism
- Amino acids like arginine promote heart health
- Pea protein hydrolysate may lower the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Satisfies hunger and keeps you full
- Aids bone density
- Helps make strong hair, nails, and skin
WHAT IS PEA PROTEIN?
Pea protein is made by extracting protein from yellow split peas. The pea shell is removed and the pea is then milled. Two scoops of pea protein contain 120 calories and around 27 grams of protein.
Pea protein is low in sugar and carbs, and is a vegan protein powder because it contains no animal ingredients. Do check the label before purchasing though, just to be sure.
IS PEA PROTEIN EASILY DIGESTED?
Yes, pea protein is easy to digest. The reason for this is that this powder, made with yellow peas, does not contain lactose or gluten, which can be hard for the body to process, especially if you are gluten or lactose intolerant.
That’s why pea protein is so popular: it is lactose and gluten-free. It’s vegan, which is ideal if you don't want to consume animal-based proteins. Just remember to always check the label on the protein you are buying to ensure that there are no additives that will interfere with your dietary requirements.
And one more thing, the fiber in the pea protein is good for your digestive system. We all know how good digestion makes us feel a whole lot better overall.
DOES PEA PROTEIN HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS?
You’ll also feel fuller and the protein takes longer to digest than processed or sugary foods, so it’s a win-win.
Combine the consumption of high-quality protein with exercise and resistance training and you will gain lean muscle. Your clothes will fit better and you’ll feel amazing. I can speak from experience. If you haven’t watched my weight loss journey video, take a look!
SIDE EFFECTS OF PEA PROTEIN
Pea protein is relatively side-effect-free, and that is one of the great things about it. It’s easily digestible and even though it contains fiber, pea protein does not cause bloating or gas.
You do have to look out for the sodium content, however. Keep that in mind and if you are on a sodium-restricted eating regimen, you may want to discuss the use of pea protein with your doctor, just in case.
Besides the sodium content, there may be a concern with kidney problems. This is really only an issue if you consume too much protein every day. You have to be careful to not overdo the recommended daily amount (between 10 and 35%). As with sodium, if you have kidney issues, consult your doctor for guidance on the protein intake that is healthy for you.
DOES PEA PROTEIN CONTAIN ALL THE ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS?
Yes, with a minor detail. Pea protein is considered a complete protein, even though it is quite low in the amino acid methionine+cysteine. Complete proteins have 25mg/g and pea protein has 11mg/g. It’s easy to make up the balance though, by eating foods that are complete proteins such as eggs and chicken.
If you are vegan, brown rice is an excellent accompaniment to pea protein. It is very high in methionine+cysteine (but low in lysine, which pea protein is high in). You can either eat the brown rice in a meal or add brown rice protein to a shake or smoothie.
If you are not vegan, you can also add collagen to food along with your protein, as collagen peptides make up for the lower amino acid count with the pea protein. You can either purchase collagen peptides or find a protein powder that already contains both types of protein.
When we created cleanish Protein Powder, we also created cleanish Collagen Peptides. This unrefined version of collagen easily mixes into protein shakes, water, and even coffee. If you're looking for pea protein supplementation and a collagen boost, add both of them to your favorite smoothie. I do!
9 BENEFITS OF PEA PROTEIN POWDER
1. PEA PROTEIN IS HIGHLY NUTRITIONAL
Pea protein is a great protein source. It contains all nine of the essential amino acids and also has branched-chain amino acids, including arginine which is good for the heart and promotes the flow of blood throughout the body. It’s also high in iron and low in fat. To fully benefit from the iron, take it with vitamin C, or with foods containing vitamin C, such as oranges and broccoli.
2. PEA PROTEIN IS GOOD FOR HEART HEALTH
Blood pressure and cholesterol both affect the heart. Although the studies are mostly in animals, it’s been shown that plant proteins, including pea protein, can reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
3. PEA PROTEIN IS GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS
We’ve talked about how protein fills you up and reduces the chances of hunger-driven snacking. Pea protein is an excellent protein source that can keep you full, reducing the number of calories you consume in a day. A high protein content in your daily food intake is definitely beneficial to weight loss.
4. PEA PROTEIN IS ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND ANTIOXIDANT
According to a recent trial, consuming pea protein may lower the risk of inflammatory-type diseases. Its antioxidant properties were proven in the same study. Supplementing with pea protein is a sure-fire way to ensure you are taking care of yourself.
5. PEA PROTEIN IS GOOD FOR THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Pea protein contains a lot of fiber. That’s always a benefit since fiber is so good for you. Being dairy-free, pea protein is easily digested and does not contain glucose or lactose. It does not cause bloating or gas and mixes well into smoothies and puddings.
6. PEA PROTEIN IS VERSATILE WITH DIETARY NEEDS
Because pea protein is a vegan product, it is highly versatile. Those allergic to dairy products, shellfish, nuts, soy, wheat, or eggs can use pea protein as a supplement without worry. However, checking the label is always essential in case other ingredients are added in processing.
7. PEA PROTEIN CAN HELP YOU BUILD MUSCLE
Even though pea protein is plant-based, it is just as effective as an animal product-based protein. A study over 12 weeks showed that men taking pea protein gained just as much muscle as participants taking whey protein.
8. PEA PROTEIN IS EASY TO USE
Pea protein has a good consistency and mixes well with liquids when making smoothies, or adding it to a recipe for cooking (think protein-rich pancakes ← yum!) or baking.
I touched on this above, but it’s worth noting again that pea protein is the ideal supplement for people who have intolerances to certain foods but still want to add extra protein to their diet. Can’t have eggs or dairy? Soy causing digestive issues? Are you gluten intolerant? Look to pea protein as an alternative.
Do check the label when shopping though, to avoid artificial flavors, sugar, and additives.
MORE POSTS ON PROTEIN POWDER
I’ve written a few posts on protein powder and why it’s good to include it in your diet. Take a look:
- The 4 Best Protein Powders and How to Choose a Good One
- How to Make Protein Pancakes + 4 Easy Protein Pancake Recipes
- 5 High Protein Fruit Smoothies for Weight Loss (5 Ingredients or Less!)
- Protein Powder as a Flour Substitute - Healthy Tip of the Week!
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.