In the world of protein powders, there are a lot of options to choose from. Protein powder is an easy and quick way to increase your protein intake. It’s ideal for a post-workout shake to help your muscles start repairing. When choosing a protein powder, there are essentially two different kinds; plant-based and animal-based. Most animal-based protein powders include casein, whey, and collagen. Plant-based protein powders include pea, rice, hemp and soy.
The Best Vegan Protein Powders You Should Know About
Even though there are numerous ways to get protein on a vegan diet, protein powder helps you meet your needs quickly. Whether you follow a vegan diet or simply want to increase your protein intake without using animal products, plant-based protein powders are the perfect option. To help you pick the right one for you, let’s break down the best vegan protein powders available.
Here are six of the best vegan protein powders:
1. Pea protein
2. Brown rice protein
3. Hemp protein
4. Fava bean protein
5. Soy protein
6. Quinoa protein
There’s a large variety of vegan protein powders to choose from including flavored and unflavored. You can mix them into a quick shake or smoothie by adding non-dairy milk or water. Protein powders give you the ability to refuel quickly on-the-go.
Protein is essential for building muscle and losing weight. You need to supply your body with a daily dose of protein for optimal health. If you’re not consuming enough protein, it can make you feel weak, tired, and more susceptible to illness.
6 Best Vegan Protein Powders
1. Pea Protein
Pea protein isn’t made from regular green garden peas. Instead, it’s made from yellow split-peas which are much higher in protein than your standard pea. Pea protein is rich in essential branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). These are essential for building strong muscles, decreasing muscle soreness and reducing muscle fatigue. Of the nine essential amino acids, three are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine. All of which are abundant in pea protein.
A 28-gram serving of pea protein has about 21 grams of protein. Pea protein is a complete protein which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. Your body does not produce these essential amino acids which is why it’s important to get them through your diet. Although pea protein is a complete source of protein, it is low in the amino acid methionine.
Research shows that pea protein delivers similar results to whey in terms of muscle gains. Pea protein can promote a feeling of fullness and lower blood pressure, supporting a healthy heart and lifestyle.
2. Brown Rice Protein
Another vegan protein powder option is brown rice protein. Brown rice is easily digestible and the protein is highly bioavailable and absorbable. Brown rice protein is considered a lean protein and therefore doesn’t contain a lot of fat. It can be an effective part of a weight-loss journey and promote muscle recovery. A 28-gram serving of brown rice protein delivers about 22 grams of protein.
Brown rice protein is rich in BCAAs to support muscle growth. By using raw sprouted brown rice grains, you can ferment the grains to get all the benefits of the bran and the sprouted endosperm. Fermented brown rice provides a complete protein source. It’s naturally high in fiber, easy to digest and hypoallergenic.
3. Hemp Protein
Hemp protein comes from hemp seeds. Hemp protein is a balanced source of protein and is packed with antioxidants. Protein coming from hemp seeds contains all 21 amino acids, including the essential ones that humans cannot produce. Thirty-three percent of the seed is composed of protein. It contains a good mixture of healthy fats, fiber, and minerals.
Hemp is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids which help to strengthen your immune system, promote heart health, brain function and energy production. The vitamins found in hemp seed include: Beta-Carotene, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Pyridoxine (B6), Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Hemp seeds are a good source of minerals like magnesium, zinc, and iron. They also contain the minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, and copper.
Related: Hemp Seeds A Superfood
4. Fava Bean Protein
Fava beans or broad beans are green legumes that come in a pod. Also known as broad beans, fava protein is a nutritional powerhouse that contains plenty of lean protein as well as vitamin K, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, and more.They are packed with minerals and vitamins, fiber, and plenty of protein. The fava bean is high in fiber and protein and is an excellent source of iron. Fava beans naturally raise L-dopa (L-dopamine) levels in the body. Adequate levels of dopamine are essential for mental functions, emotional health, sleep, memory, motor skills and muscle coordination. Brain dopamine pathways are also similarly influential in regulating the release of various hormones.
The protein content is on a similar level as soy and whey isolate protein but is 100% vegan and allergen-free. Fava bean protein is a good alternative to whey protein and for anyone looking to up their protein intake.
5. Soy Protein
You have to mention soy protein when talking about vegan protein powders. The good thing about soy protein is that it’s a complete protein powder. Often, with plant protein it will be low in one or two essential amino acids, meaning you have to combine it with other proteins to get high levels of each amino acid. A 28-gram serving of soy protein contains about 22 grams of protein.
A lot of people are leary of soy protein due to the concern over genetically modified (GM) soybeans. There are a few brands that don’t use GM soybeans so it’s important to look for organic soybean protein powder as organic products are prohibited from using gmo seeds.
Some people also tend to shy away from soy protein because of phytoestrogen and are worried about the potential health risks of it. Although soy is high in phytoestrogens (particularly isoflavones) it is likely to have a positive hormonal impact on both men and women. And in fact, some studies have shown that consuming soy products can help with menopausal symptoms in women and prostate problems in men.
Soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein and studies have shown that there are multiple benefits of consuming it several times a week.
Soy protein also has the unique benefit of being the closest vegetable protein that resembles meat protein. Soybeans contain a complete amino acid profile and are one of the most digestible among all protein sources. The downside to soy protein is the large amount of people allergic to soy.
6. Quinoa Protein
Quinoa protein is gluten-free and is one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. This superfood is high in lysine, methionine, and cysteine.Quinoa protein is commonly used alongside other vegan protein blends to create a complete and balanced source of protein. Quinoa is a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, and vitamin E.
As protein makes up 15% of this grain, it’s an excellent high-protein, low-fat option. Although quinoa is technically a seed, it’s classified as a whole grain. Quinoa protein is ideal for someone with a gluten intolerance as it is naturally gluten-free.
Find out more about the health benefits of organic plant-based proteins with Thomas DeLauer in this video:
How to Choose the Right Plant-Based Protein Powder
When choosing the right plant-based protein powder for you, the goal is to pick a powder that effectively meets your protein requirements.
Here are five things to think about when buying vegan protein powder:
- Is it a complete source of protein?
- The grams of protein in each serving
- The source of protein
- Different flavors available
- Are there any known side effects?
Sunwarrior’s Clean, Vegan Protein Powders
When it comes to vegan protein powder, Sunwarrior has covered all the bases. Depending on your nutritional requirements, Sunwarrior’s protein powders include different blends and ingredients. All of Sunwarrior’s plant-based protein powders are vegan, gluten-free, soy free and have no added sugar.
Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend combines the perfect blend of plant-based protein sources into one smooth, clean protein powder. With four powerful ingredients, it’s designed to fuel an active and high-performance lifestyle while giving you a complete amino acid profile with BCAAs and MCTs.
The organic brown rice provides a complete and balanced protein, which is essential for muscle and tissue repair. It is naturally high in fiber, hypoallergenic, and gentle on the digestive system. Brown rice has a natural fat-burning effect, which can raise the metabolism and burn calories.
The Classic Plus Protein powder contains five sources of vegan superfood proteins including organic yellow peas, organic chia seeds, organic brown rice protein, organic quinoa, and organic amaranth. All working synergistically to give you a fantastic amino acid profile, plenty of potent BCAAs, plus vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats.
Collagen Building Protein Peptides
This unique protein powder blend has been designed to increase your body’s own production of collagen that will help with hair, skin, nails, joints, and even gut health.
The collagen-enhancing formula contains strengthening and supportive nutrients such as protein peptides, vitamin C, trace minerals, leafy greens, silica, and biotin. Hydrating compounds such as hyaluronic acid and tremella mushroom attract and retain skin moisture.
Clean Greens and Protein
Clean, powerful ingredients to invigorate and fuel your active lifestyle. This keto-friendly protein powder consists of pea & goji berry protein with a unique vegetable blend and MCT’s from coconut. It is designed to enhance muscle recovery and increase your metabolism to burn fat. It provides the protein your body needs to build lean muscle as well as a serving of vegetables to help your body function at an optimal level.
This synergistic blend of healthy fats, plant-based protein blend from pea protein, brown rice protein, and fava bean protein, essential vitamins, and Aquamin™ come together in a powerful combination to help you burn fat as energy, control cravings, stay focused, and have ample energy throughout the day.
Lean Meal has been newly formulated to provide protein, organic superfoods, and the equivalent of 1 vegetable serving and 1 fruit serving to provide everything you need for healthy weight loss and weight management. With nutrients from Functional Mushrooms (Cordyceps, Reishi, Agaricus, Maitake, King Trumpet, & Shiitake), Vitamins from Whole Foods, Minerals from Sustainable Marine Algae, Organic Pea Protein, a serving equivalent of fruits and vegetables, Methyl B12, SBO Probiotics, MCTs from Coconut, Lychee Fruit Extract and more.
When you’re searching for the best clean, vegan, protein powder for you, it can feel like a challenge. Just one Google search hits you with millions of results. It’s important to find something that meets your specific protein requirements and helps you live the way you want to. Protein powders help support your active lifestyle and give you the opportunity to perform and feel your best.
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