Whether you’re new to the lifting lifestyle, or an experienced athlete, you know that what you do after your workout is just as important as the workout itself. This includes providing your body with the proper fuel to help speed recovery and ensure gains. Getting a full meal post-workout isn’t always feasible, so many people supplement with protein powder in order to get the muscle building protein and amino acids their body needs to repair muscle damage. Not all protein sources are created equal, however. So, in today’s post we will take a look at the top six sources and the benefits of each.
Whey protein is probably the most common protein powder on the market. A byproduct from the cheese making process, whey is jam-packed with antioxidants and easy to digest. That is, if you don’t have an issue with lactose. People with dairy issues will want to avoid whey protein, but all others can get the muscle building blocks they need in this widely available powder.
Another milk-based protein, casein is comparable to whey in terms of muscle building power and amino acids. A slower digesting protein, it is often recommended for evening workouts or evening snacks, as it helps promote sleep. Again, if you are lactose intolerant you will want to avoid casein, which is derived from milk curds.
If you’re looking for a dairy free option but still interested in animal sources of protein, egg and egg white based protein powders offer quality protein. Additionally, eggs are packed with a high concentration of leucine, an amino acid responsible for muscle protein synthesis post-workout. Like whey, it is also easy to digest and absorb.
Soy has gotten a bad rap as of late, but it’s a great option for those opting for a plant-based source of protein. As an added bonus, research has found that soy is beneficial in preventing, reducing, or reversing many diseases including obesity and cancer, and can help with menopausal symptoms in women.
This often-misunderstood protein source is derived from the hemp plant and is free of THC and the other “high” inducing effects of marijuana. It contains some, but not all of the essential amino acids needed for recovery and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical for fighting inflammation in the body.
Another excellent plant-based option, pea powder’s high fiber content is great for people who are also trying to control or lose weight. Since the increased fiber content helps keep you fuller longer it can help you control your intake and curb cravings. It’s also a good source of branch chain amino acids, which are the key factor in muscle recovery and development.
In addition to understanding the protein powder options, be sure to look at sugar content, total calories, and other additives in your powder. Make sure you know and understand all ingredients and speak with your doctor or health care professional before consuming.
The purpose of this article is to help inform but in no way to diagnose or treat any condition or to prescribe a nutrition regimen. As with all decisions about your health and nutrition, it’s important to seek the advice of a medical professional before starting or changing a new diet or exercise program.