How to Choose the Best Protein Powder
Choosing the Best Protein Powder
With more and more of us living a more active, but also more demanding lifestyle, it is only natural that we should ensure that our diet include the optimum amount of protein. Protein is one of the most important nutrients we consume, and organic protein powder is one of the healthiest supplements we can add to our diet—particularly if it is raw and vegan.
In fact, animal-based proteins are simply not the best choice for us, and vegan protein powder is a recommended alternative for a variety of reasons.
But with so many different types of protein powder available to choose from, how do we know which is the best one? Is there even a disadvantage to choosing the wrong one, or are they all pretty much the same?
The answers may surprise you.
Not Just for Muscle Growth
First, let us understand that protein itself has many benefits beyond boosting muscle mass, even though muscles are what we typically associate protein with.
However, since protein can also aid in weight loss, brain function, blood sugar regulation, heart health, bone strength, and even our levels of happiness and well-being, your protein choice may be more crucial than you realize.
Still, organic protein powder—particularly vegan protein powder—is a highly recommended to support workout recovery and building lean muscles.
Protein’s Vital Role in Good Health
While protein may be a key nutrient for building strong, hard muscles in the gym, it also plays many other significant roles in human health.
For one, protein is an important part of every cell in your body. Our fingernails, hair, skin and connective tissues all contain protein, making it one of the most prevalent building blocks our bodies use.
This is why protein is a key component in rebuilding body tissue, which is why it is so vital for recovery after exercise. Since exercising a muscle breaks down and damages the muscle fibers which then need rebuilding in order to get stronger, immediately consuming protein after exercise is the best way to ensure speedy recovery, along with optimum muscle gain.
This also helps promote the synthesis of new proteins in the body, which aids in renewing energy stores depleted through exercise.
By repairing damaged muscle fibers more quickly, as well as rebuilding energy stores through the synthesis of additional proteins, athletes can train harder and more often, and build fitness and strength more rapidly and effectively.
However, athletes are not the only ones who can benefit from additional protein intake. Protein also helps boost brain function, which helps guard against brain fog while helping increase our learning capacity. Since certain amino acids are necessary in maintaining hormone balance, our moods can be greatly affected through extra protein intake.
By helping our neurotransmitters to function and produce hormones such as serotonin and dopamine—two hormones necessary in regulating our mood and our ability to feel relaxed and at ease—we can maintain a happier, more well-balanced outlook.
Since studies have shown that a diet high in protein can help lower blood pressure, heart health can also be improved through an increased intake of protein, particularly when coinciding with a reduced intake of carbohydrates. By doing so, levels of LDL—AKA, the “bad” cholesterol—along with triglycerides, are reduced in the blood. This balances blood sugar, which helps in guarding against diabetes and obesity, both of which can also lead to heart disease.
Increasing protein intake while reducing carbohydrate intake can also help create thermogenesis, in which more energy is required by the body’s digestion process (more energy is required to digest protein than carbohydrates, in other words).
Likewise, protein helps make us feel fuller and more satiated than carbohydrates do, all of which helps in managing healthy weight.
The Problems with Whey
When choosing protein powder, most of us automatically think of whey. This is because of whey’s long association as being a standard source of complete protein (meaning protein containing all 9 key amino acids) in dietary supplements.
However, whey has some serious downfalls which we should be aware of.
Not only are whey protein powders often highly processed and loaded with sugars and other harmful ingredients, whey can also be attributed to:
- Kidney problems – Excessive amounts of whey protein have been shown to cause permanent renal damage, and is particularly dangerous to those already suffering from kidney ailments.
- Digestive problems – For those who are lactose intolerant, whey can have some devastating gastronomical effects. Be aware that whey protein is a milk product, and contains lactose.
- Raised blood acidity – Whey protein consumption causes raised blood pH, which lowers the kidney’s ability to metabolize protein. This leads to higher blood acidity, which in turn can lead to such problems as confusion, fatigue and headaches.
- Osteoporosis – Long-term use of whey has been linked to osteoporosis, due to the imbalance in minerals in the bones, which causes loss of bone density.
- Respiratory problems – Whey comes from milk, which many of us are allergic to—particularly those who are lactose intolerant. Consuming whey can cause wheezing and decreased lung capacity, and even swelling of the mouth, lips and throat, and should be avoided by anyone who is allergic to milk.
Despite the common perception that “protein is protein,” or that whey protein is the best, these are factors which should be strongly considered when choosing a protein powder.
About Those Additives
Protein powder does not have to taste terrible or have an undesirable consistency.
However, even though many flavors can be generated using natural, healthy sources, most conventional protein powders instead go with processed sugars, artificial sweeteners and even gluten and hydrogenated vegetable oils to add flavor, as well as to stabilize their protein powders.
While these synthetic ingredients may save the manufacturer money and allow them to sell their product at a lower price point while increasing their profits, paying less for an inferior product is not always the most economical way to go.
For one, ingredients such as processed sugar, artificial sweeteners, and hydrogenated oils can have long-term health effects which can add up to large medical costs down the road. These potential effects include obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Since most of us add protein to our diets to become healthier, it makes no sense that we would purchase something which has such detrimental effects.
Wheat gluten can also be hidden in conventional protein powders, which can have distressing for those with celiac disease or other gluten allergies. Gluten is also known to cause inflammation.
Unfortunately, this makes many conventional whey protein powders more like junk food than a nourishing and healthy supplement.
Why Raw is Better
For anyone wondering which is the best organic protein powder, a raw, plant-based vegan protein powder is the best choice.
For one, by not heating the product ingredients, the product’s digestibility is enhanced by leaving enzymes and probiotics intact and alive, rather than being killed off during the cooking process.
This goes beyond the immediate digestibility of proteins, since, by increasing the amount of fiber in our diet—something which whey and other animal-based proteins cannot do—raw vegan protein powder helps maintain healthy gut flora and function. Because our gut flora relies on fiber as a food source, this leads to a healthy, well-nourished, flourishing population of beneficial bacteria—a large key to digestive health.
Heat also lowers vitamin and mineral contents in foods, and raw, vegan protein powder keeps all vitamin and mineral content intact by not subjecting ingredients to the cooking process.
Since raw protein powder is most often made using whole plant components, these nutritional values are absorbed more readily by the body, since the digestive cofactors of the plant also remain intact.
Additionally, raw protein can assist in lowering inflammation, providing dietary fiber, preventing cancer and improving heart health, and it is for these reasons that a high-quality, raw, organic and vegan protein powder such as Sunwarrior is recommended.
Why Choose Sunwarrior?
There are 9 essential amino acids which cannot be produced by the human body, meaning they must come from a food source. Unfortunately, the downside of many vegan protein powders on the market is that they fall short of this mark.
This is because many organic protein powders utilize protein from a single vegetarian source. Since very few singular plant sources can deliver a full spectrum of essential amino acids, this means that it is unlikely the product will contain all 9 essential amino acids.
This also limits absorption of protein, since a variety of sources enhances the body’s uptake of protein.
By including organic quinoa along with organic brown rice, organic chia seed, organic pea, and organic amaranth protein, Sunwarrior not only provides a full spectrum of all essential amino acids, but provides a variety of organic plant protein sources as well.
Sunwarrior Classic Protein also keeps things simple with no added sugars, hydrogenated oils or artificial sweeteners to detract from your health and wellbeing.
By including such ingredients as whole, raw, organic brown rice—including the whole bran and endosperm—Sunwarrior has created a vegan protein powder which can go beyond merely powering your workouts, and genuinely deliver what your body craves.
Healthy foods are not only organic, whole and natural, but simple as well. By sticking to this ideology, Sunwarrior achieved a complete protein powder which has all the benefits of being raw and vegan.
However, just because the ingredients are simple, does not make them incomplete. In fact, quite the opposite, since nature is pretty good at providing us with good, healthy, complete protein sources:
- Organic quinoa – First consumed by the Incas over 3000 years ago, quinoa is now recognized as one of the most beneficial grains there are. Being one of the only vegetarian sources of complete protein, quinoa is also a source of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, iron, magnesium and B vitamins, which easily earns quinoa the classification of “superfood.”
- Organic brown rice – Long before there was white rice, there was brown rice. This is because white rice is brown rice with all the good stuff refined out of it. Brown rice not only has more fiber, and is considered a whole grain, it is also a rich source of selenium, manganese and antioxidants.
- Chia seeds – A staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries, chia seeds are now considered a top superfood. Chia seeds are known to pack a powerful nutritional punch, and in addition to being one of the few vegetarian sources of complete protein, they contain fiber, fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants.
- Amaranth protein – A gluten free, high protein grain, amaranth was domesticated some 6000 – 8000 years ago. Amaranth is known to be a rich source of magnesium, fiber, phosphorus and other key vitamins and minerals. Amaranth also provides many of the essential amino acids necessary in human health.
- Pea protein – Pea protein provides a rich source of key amino acids, and is the perfect complement to other sources of vegetarian protein found in Sunwarrior organic protein powder. By adding a diversity of protein sources, Sunwarrior is a more easily and completely absorbed protein source.
By using all-natural organic stevia leaf extract as a sweetener, along with other natural flavors such as organic cocoa and sea salt, Sunwarrior maintains a low level of complex carbohydrates, which optimizes healthy weight control.
Since only raw, organic, whole ingredients are included in their protein blends, Sunwarrior is able to bring you a protein with all the naturally-occurring enzymes, vitamins and minerals of the source plant. This complete nutrition goes beyond what most proteins can do, and does it without any of the artificial additives or dangers of conventional whey proteins powders.
With its superior ingredients and natural, organic whole-grain goodness, Sunwarrior raw vegan protein powder is recommended for anyone leading an active, healthy lifestyle.