Plant-based protein is having a moment. And rightly so in some ways, it is after all one of the key macronutrients we humans need to live. And with a rising interest in veganism, animal welfare, and sustainability, plant-based proteins are all the rage right now. Whey has had its moment in the spotlight, time for it to move aside.
Proteins are long chains of amino acids, twisted into highly complex 3D shapes that serve highly specific functions. Amino acids are the building blocks, like the beads on a chain that makes up the protein. There are 20 protein-forming amino acids encoded in the human genome. Of these 20, there are 9 essential amino acids that the body can’t synthesise. Every other amino acid can be created from other nutrients, but these 9 have to come from the diet. The essential amino acids are Phenylalanine, Valine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Methionine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Lysine, and Histidine.
Food sources that have all 9 of these amino acids in similar amounts to what our bodies need are known as complete protein sources. Most animal protein sources are complete proteins, whereas few plant sources are. By eating several different plant-based proteins throughout the day, you can ensure that your body gets everything it needs.
But it also has other functions. For example, some amino acids are precursors for neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Proteins act as messengers to help send signals within the cell and from cell to cell and proteins can act as enzymes that help you digest your food.
It’s definitely just as effective. While just one plant source of protein by itself doesn’t have the same complete amino acid profile in the way whey does. The combination of pea and hemp is ideal.
Pea protein has more protein per gram than hemp and has a higher protein digestibility. This means that it’s closer to the being a complete protein. However hemp protein is higher in amino acids that pea protein lacks, and also contains other nutrients such as magnesium, iron, and fibre.
If you have a long journey home after the gym or you know you won’t get the chance to have a meal within the next hour or two, then having a protein drink can be ideal to give your muscles exactly what they need.
Pixie Turner aka Pixie Nutrition
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