More and more people have shown a preference for healthy eating, including organic and natural options free of additives and artificial ingredients. A recent survey revealed that 72% of Gen Zers see healthy eating as an integral part of their physical and mental health. Protein is a fundamental macronutrient that aids in the muscle building and recovery process. Numerous studies suggest that most people do not consume enough protein in their diets. Pea protein is one of the best plant-based protein options for your diet. We’re going to break down what pea protein is and what pea protein is good for so you can add it to your diet.
What Is Pea Protein
Pea protein is a high-quality and quickly absorbed form of plant-based protein derived from peas. Research shows that peas are very healthy for you. Peas are classified as legumes, like chickpeas and lentils.
Pea protein is made by extracting then isolating the protein from yellow split peas. Typically, pea protein is used as a food ingredient or additive to increase protein content. It’s also extremely easy to disguise, making it a great option as a plant protein substitute in everything from vegan burgers, cheese, yogurt, milk, and protein bars.
What Is Pea Protein Good For
More Protein Content
Compared to other forms of plant protein, pea protein is around 90% protein. Pea protein is a great alternative to animal-based protein options like whey or egg with similar protein content, taste, and texture.
Studies have shown that pea protein is very similar to whey with proven anabolic benefits, aiding in muscle growth and strength.
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Pea Protein Is A Complete Protein
It’s unfair almost to judge protein sources, labeling them as incomplete or complete proteins. All joking aside, a complete protein is one that contains adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Peas contain high amount of all essential amino acids, needed for building more muscle, muscle growth, and faster muscle recovery. Some argue however, that pea protein contains inadequate levels of methionine to be considered complete. This is why we add Pumpkin Seed protein, which is high in methionine to our plant based vegan protein.
A popular topic of debate in the animal vs plant protein argument, regards protein digestibility. Research shows that pea protein is just as effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis and providing other valuable benefits such as efficient and quick digestibility. Peas contain a full essential amino acid (EAA) profile, which is critical in the muscle-building process. As compared to other plant-based protein sources, pea protein contains more essential amino acids almost rivaling that of Whey Protein [R].
One huge difference between animal and plant protein, are the micronutrients. Pea protein is rich in iron, manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, vitamins B6, B2, niacin, molybdenum, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K. Peas are also a great source of dietary fiber which is important for maintaining healthy bowel function and heart health.
Peas are largely made of complex carbohydrates specifically starch. However, peas and legumes in general are great forms of what’s called resistance starch. Not all starch is rapidly digested to glucose. Some starch is resistant to digestion and passes into the large intestine where much of it is used as a food source by the healthy bacteria living in our colon acting much like dietary fiber in food, soluble and insoluble fiber.
Since resistant starch is not metabolized in the small intestine it reduces the amount of glucose released into your blood stream, thus lowering the demand for insulin while also reducing the caloric density of food making it a great option for slow insulin release.
Pea Protein: Takeaway
Vegan or not, pea protein is a great option to help deliver high quality protein in your diet to support your health and fitness goals. Who would’ve thought that the food pyramid in all it’s red, beige, and brown protein options filled with meat, poultry, fish, and nuts, was missing the tiny green powerhouse.