Pea protein is a popular ingredient in plant-based protein powders - and for good reason. Peas are incredibly high in protein and contain other beneficial components like iron, calcium, and magnesium. Pea protein is a great way to boost your protein intake on a plant-based diet, and can be added to smoothies, shakes, and more.
All About Pea Protein
Pea protein is typically produced from green and yellow split peas. These nutritious legumes are high in protein as well as other vitamins and minerals. Unlike many other sources of protein, pea protein is non-allergenic, meaning that even people with food allergies can generally eat it. Pea protein is often included in protein powder blends with other ingredients like sacha inchi and flax.
Benefits of Pea Protein
Pea protein has a variety of health benefits, and is a nutritious addition to a plant-based lifestyle. These include:
1. Pea Protein Contains Essential Amino Acids
Protein is made up of amino acid building blocks. While the body is able to produce some amino acids on its own, other amino acids must be incorporated into your diet. These amino acids are called essential amino acids, and include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Most animal-based sources of protein are “complete,” meaning that they contain all nine essential amino acids. However, most plant-based sources of protein don’t contain all nine.
Unlike most other sources of plant-based protein, pea protein is often considered “complete” because it contains all nine essential amino acids. This means that it contains all the amino acids your body needs to function. However, pea protein is low in methionine, one of the essential amino acids. This means that even though pea protein is technically a “complete” protein, however, we still recommend incorporating a variety of different protein sources into your diet. This helps ensure that you eat a balanced diet full of healthful and nourishing ingredients from a variety of different sources.
2. Rich in Iron
Pea protein is also high in iron. Iron is essential to the body’s proper functioning. Especially among people who menstruate, low iron levels can result in anemia. Low iron levels can also interfere with brain function and muscle growth. Iron deficiency also becomes more common with age, so seniors should be especially careful about ensuring they consume enough iron in their diet. While many people are familiar with common iron sources like red meat, they may be less familiar with plant-based iron sources. Luckily, pea protein is a great source of iron that can be easily incorporated into a plant-based diet.
Many common protein sources contain ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction. This includes ingredients like nuts, shellfish, dairy, soy, and gluten. This means that pea protein is essentially a hypoallergenic source of protein that is a good fit for people with allergies and food sensitivities. It’s also a healthy, accessible alternative to protein powders that may contain allergens or other potentially harmful ingredients.
4. High in BCAAs
BCAAs stand for branch-chained amino acids. These types of amino acids include the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They play an important role in the brain and help cognitive function. BCAAs also help boost the immune system, protect the heart, and improve muscle growth. In particular, they help to stimulate muscle protein synthesis after exercise, which can help to increase muscle and boost physical performance.
5. Good for Your Heart
The amino acids present in pea protein are also good for heart health. Studies have shown that these amino acids like arginine may be helpful as a potential treatment for cardiovascular disease. It may also aid in the treatment of coronary artery disease and peripheral arterial disease. If you’re trying to improve your heart health, pea protein is a great addition to a healthy diet and exercise.
6. Promotes Healthy Muscle Growth
Many people are drawn to protein powders (including pea protein) as a supplement to working out and other athletic activities. Protein can help athletes to build muscle and improve their physical performance. Like other protein sources, pea protein is a great way to supplement your workout and build muscle. In particular, pea protein has been shown to promote muscle thickness gains during resistance training. This means that pea protein is a great choice for whenever you next hit the gym. In this respect, pea protein performed similarly to whey protein, meaning that athletes could safely substitute pea protein in place of an animal-based protein like whey without sacrificing gains.
7. High in Fiber
Pea protein is high in fiber, which has a wealth of dietary benefits. Fiber can help to aid in digestion, lower cholesterol, and control blood sugar. Fiber is also known to increase satiety, meaning that it will fill you up faster and keep you full longer. A healthy fiber intake can even help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including certain types of cancer. Because pea protein is high in fiber, it’s a great addition to a healthy plant-based diet.
8. Full of Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to high iron content, pea protein is also rich in a variety of other vitamins and minerals. These include zinc, magnesium, and potassium. These vitamins and minerals provide essential nutrients to your body and help it to function smoothly on a daily basis. Zinc is known for strengthening the immune system and boosting metabolism. Magnesium benefits everything from strong bones to a healthy heart to mental health. Potassium is essential to the function of many different organs within the body, and can also help to prevent strokes.
9. Easier to Digest
Pea protein is easier to digest than some other types of protein powder, such as whey. This means that pea protein contains just as many benefits as other types of protein supplements, while also being easier on the stomach. Pea protein is also more bioavailable than some other types of plant-based proteins, meaning that the protein is more easily absorbed. While animal-based proteins are generally still more bioavailable, pea protein represents a great middle ground if you’re trying to avoid animal-based products.
10. Environmentally Friendly
Pea protein is a more environmentally friendly source of protein than most types of animal-based protein. Animal-based proteins tend to have a larger carbon footprint and have a negative impact on the environment. Plant-based sources of protein such as pea protein, on the other hand, tend to have a smaller carbon footprint and produce fewer emissions each year. For environmentally-conscious consumers thinking about adopting a plant-based diet, this is yet another point in pea protein’s favor!
11. Naturally Vegan, Vegetarian, and Plant-Based
Many people have a common misconception that it’s difficult to get enough protein on a plant-based diet. Luckily, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Pea protein is naturally vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based, meaning that it contains no animal products of any sort. Despite this, pea protein is a great source of protein on a plant-based diet, and makes it easy to get all the protein you need on a daily basis.
Is Pea Protein Better Than Other Plant-Based Proteins?
Pea protein has some advantages over other types of plant-based protein. For one, pea protein is easily available as protein powder, making it a super simple addition to shakes, smoothies, and other on-the-go meals. Pea protein is also more bioavailable than other sources of plant-based protein, making it easier for the body to absorb and incorporate the many nutrients in pea protein. Pea protein is also a more complete source of protein than other types of plant-based protein, since it contains all nine essential amino acids. With that being said, we don’t recommend relying exclusively on pea protein as your only protein source. As with many things, moderation is recommended, and it’s always a good idea to include multiple sources of plant-based protein in your diet. Our plant-based protein powder includes several plant-based powerhouses, including pea protein as well as sacha inchi and
Is Pea Protein a Complete Protein?
Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, while incomplete proteins contain less than nine. So is pea protein really a “complete” source of protein? Yes and no. While pea protein does technically contain all nine essential amino acids, it only contains a small amount of methionine, lower than the daily recommended intake per serving. This means that, if pea protein is your only source of protein, you may not be getting enough methionine. To make sure that you get a healthy amount of all nine essential amino acids, we recommend including several sources of plant-based proteins in your diet in addition to pea protein.
Why Pea Protein is a Great Addition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle
It’s important to incorporate healthy sources of protein into a plant-based lifestyle. Especially if you’re used to consuming the majority of your protein from animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs, it can seem like a drastic switch when switching to plant-based eating. Luckily, there are plenty of plant-based sources of protein, including soy products, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Pea protein is a great addition to a plant-based lifestyle because of its high protein content in addition to its many other benefits, including high levels of fiber, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium.
Our Pea Protein Powder
Our pea protein powder is specially designed to give you as many nutrients as possible on a plant-based diet. This protein powder helps to build muscles, decrease soreness, and give you the energy you need throughout the day. Unlike other types of commonly available protein powder, our protein powder is entirely plant-based, and derives its protein content from ingredients like pea protein, sacha inchi, and flax seed. The protein powder is organic, vegan, gluten-free, soy free, and contains no artificial sweeteners or flavors. It packs a punch of 20 grams of protein per serving, and comes in a variety of tasty flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and peanut butter. This plant-based protein is tasty, affordable, and environmentally friendly, making it a great all-around choice for incorporating more protein into your diet!
Adopting a Plant-Based Lifestyle
It can seem intimidating to adopt a plant-based diet wholesale, especially if you’re used to a typical American diet heavy on dairy, meat, and processed foods. You may be wondering how you’ll handle cravings for your favorite foods, or what the best way is to incorporate enough protein into your diet. While you may have heard of the many benefits of plant-based eating, you may also be uncertain if you’ll be able to stick to the commitment of adopting a plant-based diet.
Luckily, plant-based eating doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s as simple as eating healthy, whole plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. You can get all the nutrients you need for your body to thrive on a plant-based diet. In addition, plant-based eating can help with a variety of health concerns, and may help boost your metabolism, reduce inflammation, and more. When adopting a plant-based diet, it’s important to expand your horizons and embrace variety. There’s a whole world of healthy, nutritious plant-based meals to choose from! However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy comfort foods and sate your cravings. In fact, there are probably a variety of plant-based twists on your favorite dishes to choose from!
When it comes to plant-based eating, it can sometimes feel as if it’s an all-or-nothing endeavor. Plant-based eating is a lifestyle that may take some commitment before it becomes as comfortable as a traditional western diet that you’ve been used to eating for many years. While we encourage sticking with a plant-based diet whenever possible, that doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect. Any step towards plant-based eating is sure to have many benefits for your health, your wallet, and the environment. Incorporating plant-based sources of protein like pea protein into your diet in the place of animal-based proteins can be a great first step toward a full transition to plant-based living!