Beyond Meat: The Health Benefits of Plant-Based Protein Powder
For years, eating meat has been seen as the best way to get protein in your diet. But as concerns about sustainability and animal welfare have grown, more and more people have sought plant protein options to fuel them.
At the same time, science has shown plant proteins are not only sustainable, but they pack a similar nutritional punch to meat. For example, the rubisco protein found in leafy greens has a similar amino acid profile to meat.
In the fitness industry, the benefits of plant-based protein powder have become widely acknowledged. Plant proteins have been shown to fuel people’s health and performance goals without the same negative impact on the environment.
What is Plant-Based Protein Powder?
There are a range of plant-based protein sources that come in powdered form. Pea, rice, soy and hemp are all sustainable protein options that have been available for some time.
Another more recent arrival on the market is rubisco protein powder. As another vegan protein powder, rubisco protein benefits are supercharged:
- It can be cultivated from the most sustainable leafy greens, further reducing its environmental impact.
- It is packed with protein that’s easily absorbed by the body, delivering a highly efficient protein boost.
The age-old myth that plant-based protein powders are less effective than animal based sources of protein has been well and truly busted. Consumers of protein powder no longer need to rely on stodgy, grainy smoothies that leave you feeling bloated for hours afterwards.
Even better, plant protein snacks, powders and other foods come without the sustainability concerns. The closer you look, the more plant and vegan protein powders tick all the nutritional and ethical boxes.
The Nutritional Benefits
The nutritional benefits of plant-based protein powder are considerable. Whatever your reason for consuming protein powder in the past, plant proteins can help to satisfy it.
The reason for these benefits come from the makeup of healthy plant protein sources. Not only are they packed with protein, but they have a raft of other vitamins and minerals that create a tonne of health benefits.
Plainly, different types of plant protein powders have individual makeups, but they commonly include:
- Having a rich amino acid profile (i.e. rubisco protein’s similar amino acid makeup to beef), including all nine essential amino acids.
- High levels of healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
- Vitamin E
At the same time, plant protein nutrition comes with low levels of cholesterol and lower saturated fat content compared to animal-based alternatives.
Another characteristic that brings these vegan protein powder benefits to life is how digestible they are. In contrast to heavier animal products, plant protein powders tend to be light, neutral tasting and water soluble.
Muscle Building and Recovery
One of the big reasons people consume protein powder is to build muscle, and plant-based protein powder certainly delivers on this point.
In fact, using vegan protein for muscle growth is a very efficient option. Not only is it a protein powerhouse (with up to 80% protein or more), but it’s extremely lean; low in unhealthy fats and sugars.
One of the secrets is that plant-based protein powders have high amounts of leucine, a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) that’s not only a powerful muscle-building proponent, but it does it extremely quickly. This is normally through a mix of two or more plant proteins like pea and brown rice, and underlines the benefits of plant protein for workout recovery.
Whey protein is also high in leucine, and this is one of the main reasons why it’s typically been seen as the best protein powder for muscle growth in the past.
Some plant protein powders, such as rubisco plant protein, also contain the other BCAAs valine and isoleucine. This categorizes them as complete sources of protein, with all nine essential amino acids. BCAAs help to drive muscle recovery and muscle synthesis, which leads to muscle growth.
As well as helping to grow muscle and capitalize on the work you’re doing in the gym, plant proteins aid faster recovery, including from injury. You’ll bounce back quicker, feeling better in the process, and find you’re more able to double down with more muscle-building exercise soon after.
Feel fuller for longer
While the concept of taking protein powder to grow muscle is well understood, it’s also perfectly suitable for people wanting to maintain a healthy diet.
The low amounts of unhealthy fats and sugars are a big part of the weight management benefits of plant-based protein powder.
As mentioned above, plant-based protein powders are great at keeping you satiated, which means you don’t need to snack or eat again soon afterward. This can be the case when you substitute a normal meal for something lighter that doesn’t fill you up or provide the nutrients to keep you going.
If you want to maintain your weight, or put on weight, then plant protein powder is also a great fit.
- It helps to maintain weight while also ensuring you’re getting healthy vitamins and minerals.
- Its benefits in growing muscle help you to put on weight in a healthy, controlled way.
Whatever your weight goals, plant-based protein is an excellent source of nutrition.
Gut health has sprung to prominence in recent years, and for very good reason. It plays an important role in digestion, metabolism and the immune system, which are all cornerstones of overall health and wellbeing.
This is one aspect of health where plant-based protein powders really stand out above animal products.
The digestive health benefits of plant-based protein powder are comprehensive. They’re typically much lower in saturated fats and cholesterol compared to animal protein sources, and these can contribute to heart disease and other chronic conditions.
At the same time, fiber-rich plant protein powder is great for the gut microbiome.
As we’ve mentioned, the digestibility of plant proteins and the way they’re absorbed into the body also makes them well suited for people with digestion issues.
Common allergens like lactose that are found in animal-based protein powder are absent in their plant-based alternatives, which also contributes to digestive benefits.
It’s not hard to understand that plant protein powders are more environmentally sustainable. But now, you can see the nutritional benefits of plant-based protein powder are also significant.
Plant protein powders stand up to all the health benefits of their animal-based counterparts, and surpass them in some areas.
Like many plant-based foods, the innovation that’s making plant protein powder more available is growing considerably. It’s well worth exploring the world of plant proteins as a healthy source of nutrition.
Leaft Foods is a great place to start. Leaft Foods’ innovative extraction technology is unlocking the powerful nutritional benefits of rubisco protein like never before.
Find out more about how this works at leaftfoods.com, and try a plant-based protein powder recipe to see the benefits for yourself.