Plant-Based Protein Powder for Athletic Performance

What do Venus Williams, Nate Diaz, and Kyrie Irving have in common? Besides the undeniable fact that they’re successful world-class athletes, their diets are mainly vegan. Yes, you read correctly — they are powered by plants. Many people don’t know that being athletic and leading a plant-based lifestyle are not mutually exclusive. A common misconception people have is that a vegan diet doesn’t offer enough protein to maintain muscle. However, many plants are excellent sources of protein, often with fewer calories, less fat, and free from the harmful effects that come with eating animal products. 

Vegano is a vegan company, and this is a vegan blog — so naturally, we will discuss the benefits of vegan protein. But before we dive in, let’s take a closer look at what protein is, the role it plays in a healthy lifestyle, and how protein powders have revolutionized the dietary supplement market.

The Building Blocks of Protein

Protein exists in every cell of the human body. Everything from your hair and nails to your vital organs, protein is there. Our bodies need protein to build muscle mass, maintain and grow body tissue, and produce everything from digestive enzymes, hormones, and other vital biochemicals. 

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and our bodies require 22 types of amino acids to function. Although our bodies produce 13 kinds of amino acids naturally, we need nine essential acids that can only be found from food sources. 

The average sedentary adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. However, athletes need up to three times more protein to build/repair muscle and connective tissue. When our bodies are in a protein deficit, it breaks down muscle tissue to get the necessary amino acids it needs to function. As physically active people, we need to have the right balance of amino acids to help our bodies recover and repair itself after it experiences physical stress like exercise. The following plant-based foods are excellent sources of complete protein and contain all nine essential amino acids:

  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Chia seed
  • Buckwheat
  • Hemp
  • Spirulina
  • Soy
  • Tempeh

While there are many delicious plant-based protein sources, trying to balance a busy work schedule, sleep, and a social life with the gym and a healthy diet isn’t that easy. Luckily, vegan protein powder is a simple and delicious way to get the right amount of protein to suit your active lifestyle. 

Types of Plant-Based Protein Powder

Three of the most popular plant-based protein powders are pea protein, brown rice protein, and hemp protein, each with their own unique benefits. Vegano’s new protein powder combines all three, making it easier to hit your target protein intake while experiencing the many benefits plant-based protein has to offer.

Pea Protein

Pea protein is a high-quality protein source that is extracted directly from split yellow peas. After extraction, the pea protein goes through a drying and rehydration process resulting in a flour-like texture. Yellow peas are easy to farm, sustainable, and grow well organically. Pea protein helps in weight management as it causes a feeling of satiety. Further, it contains all nine essential amino acids, which help speed up your recovery process after working out.

Hemp Protein

Hemp, a strain of the popular cannabis plant, has a fast maturity rate and is highly sustainable. Hemp is a hardy plant used for making everything from rope and clothing to CBD health products. Both hemp seeds and hemp protein powder are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are vital to maintaining cardiovascular health. Not only do omega fatty acids help protect your heart, but they also help with brain function and maintaining lean body mass. Hemp is easily digestible and also contains globular proteins, which help our body manufacture enzymes and hormones.

Brown Rice Protein

Brown rice protein is not a complete protein; however, it blends well with other plant protein sources due to its neutral flavour profile and smooth texture. It contains no allergens and is easy to digest. Brown rice also has unique peptides that can contribute to healthier skin and weight management.

Plant-Based Protein vs Whey Isolate

Protein powder containing pea, hemp, and brown rice protein is just as effective as whey protein when it comes to building lean muscle mass and repairing the surrounding body tissue. Plant-based supplements, such as Vegano’s vegan protein, are nutrient-dense and packed with vitamins and minerals. One scoop of pea protein powder contains nearly 20 percent of your daily iron requirement — while whey protein contains trace amounts of iron if any. Vegan protein powder is also a rich source of antioxidants that you can’t find in whey powder. These essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants also boost your immune system, help eliminate free radicals, and contribute to your overall health. 

It is estimated that up to 68 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. One of the main reasons people adopt plant-centric diets is for digestive health reasons. Plant protein is much easier to break down than animal-derived protein, and our body absorbs it more quickly as well. Transitioning from animal protein to plant protein also reduces your caloric intake, as plants naturally do not contain nearly as much fat as animal protein. Animal protein often contains pathogens and bacteria not found in plants, and by consuming animal protein, you run the risk of ingesting animal-based hormones and antibiotics. 

But how does it taste, you ask? Vegano’s protein powder comes in two delicious flavours and can be enjoyed mixed with water or plant-based milk. Its smooth texture allows for easy mixing so feel free to bring the flavour a notch by blending in your favourite frozen fruit for a refreshing smoothie. Need a bit of a pick-me up? Throw in some matcha powder, or blend it with cold brew coffee for a caffeinated kick. Add some spinach, nut butter, and chia seeds for an extra nutritional punch that will keep you fueled and ready to take on the day.

Another bonus that comes with choosing a plant-based nutritional supplement is its effect on the planet’s health. Producing plant-based protein powder requires fewer resources than animal-derived protein and creates less waste as well — in short, we all win when you choose vegan. So, whether your goal is athletic conditioning, weight management, or even just to lead a more plant-centric lifestyle, adding a vegan protein supplement to your daily routine is a game-changing way to level up your health and the health of the planet.

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