When it comes to protein, there are a lot of options on the market. One of these options (that you may have not even considered before) is pea protein. There are plenty of reasons pea protein deserves your attention. It’s plant-based, hypoallergenic, and loaded with all sorts of nutritional health benefits. As if the health benefits weren’t enough, pea protein tastes great, is highly versatile, and can even help you maintain a healthy weight. Take a look at 7 of the best reasons you should try pea protein:
1. It’s deliciously creamy and bland
If you’ve ever tried different types of protein, like rice or whey, you may have noticed a somewhat chalky or grainy aftertaste. Pea protein, on the other hand, is silky smooth and delicious. Unlike many other brands, Growing Naturals Pea Protein also has a bland taste. And when it comes to protein, bland is a good thing, since some pea proteins have a distinct “green tasting” undertone. The subtle taste is also easily masked, so it’s great for mixing in with smoothies or baked goods (savory or sweet).
2. It mixes easily with water
If you regularly consume protein powders, you’ve probably noticed that mixing it with water doesn’t always have great results. Unlike rice and other proteins, which are best mixed in a blender to avoid lumps, pea protein mixes easily with water—just add it to a shaker bottle and mix. Easy peasy. It’s especially convenient for mixing on the road or tossing in your gym bag to make after a workout.
3. You can bake and cook with it
Pea protein is very heat stable, so it retains its nutrients even after cooked. Pea protein can be used as a substitute for eggs when baking, since it provides similar emulsification for the batter and gives your baked goods the same “spongy” texture as eggs. It’s also incredibly versatile, so don’t limit yourself to just smoothies. You can mix it into hot cereals like oatmeal or soups and stews to give your vegetarian meals an extra boost of protein.
4. It’s environmentally friendly
As if its delicious taste and versatility weren’t enough, pea protein is also the most Earth-friendly of all vegan proteins. Peas are grown without the use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers, which can result in runoff that pollutes the environment. After the peas are harvested, the remaining stems are mixed into the soil. This returns nitrogen into the soil, where it’s used to nourish the next generation of plants (without fertilizers).
5. It keeps you feeling full
Pea protein has also been shown to have an effect on satiety; in one study pea protein was shown to have the same effect on satiety as whey protein, without the potentially harmful effects of animal proteins (more on this below). In addition to helping you feel fuller, it may also help with weight control. In addition to helping fight hunger between meals, this study found that those who pre-loaded on pea protein ate fewer calories at lunch.
6. It’s naturally hormone-free
Dairy products that contain cow’s milk (including some protein powders) also contain a number of sex and growth hormones, like estrogen and progesterone. Although naturally occurring in cows, they can have negative health effects on humans when consumed. Dairy also contains IGF-1, a hormone found in the blood. It should decrease with age, but consuming dairy causes IGF-1 to increase. Excess amounts have been linked to increased risks of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Pea protein, on the other hand, is naturally free of growth and sex hormones—and the health risks associated with them.
7. It’s vegan
Not long ago, whey and casein (dairy proteins) pretty much dominated the protein powder industry, making it difficult for vegans to find a quality protein powder that wasn’t dairy-based. Pea protein is naturally dairy-free, making it a delicious way to get 15 grams of vegan protein. If you want to supplement your diet with something new—and experience loads of benefits while you’re at it—it’s time to give pea protein a try!
Written By: Jill Overmyer
Reviewed and Edited By: Scarlett Full, in-house Registered Dietitian