Peas are usually thought of as a vegetable. However, peas are actually considered a legume and a great source of protein. Everyone seems to be trying many different ways to get more protein in their diets. Whether it is to preserve lean muscle mass, boost energy levels or help with exercise recovery, extra protein is necessary for every diet and every lifestyle.
With the recent popularity of veganism and the concerns about egg and soy allergies, consumers are now searching more than ever for protein that is not derived from animals or soybeans. Pea protein is now being used in place of eggs and dairy products in foods such as pasta, salad dressing, cereal and even brownies.
The protein used in pea protein does not come from the familiar green pea that grows in a pod. Pea protein is actually derived from the field pea. Field peas can be either green or yellow and are not grown to be eaten fresh. They are grown for drying and are often sold as "split peas". When making pea protein, the pea is dried and ground up into powder. In order to create a complete protein, pea powder is sometimes added to rice protein.
Amino acids are organic compounds that work together to produce proteins. Amino acids and proteins are often referred to as the building blocks of life. After proteins are digested, the amino acids remain in the body. The amino acids that are left are used by the body to break down the food we eat, heal body tissue and help the body grow. The body also uses amino acids to produce energy. The two types of amino acids are essential (cannot be made by the body) and non-essential (produced by the body). Pea protein supplies the body with many essential as well as non-essential amino acids. Pea protein is especially high in lysine which cannot be made by the body and must be supplied through foods or supplements.
Iron is a vital mineral, and low iron is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States. Iron helps to carry oxygen throughout all parts of the body and without enough, you will begin to feel tired and fatigued. One serving of pea protein provides thirty percent of what is required by the body daily. To boost iron absorption in the body, combine pea protein with orange juice or yogurt. Iron absorption may be hindered if pea protein is taken with tea, coffee or foods high in calcium.
Pea protein is a great source of protein for vegetarians, vegans and those who choose not to get their protein from animal sources. It is also a great choice for those who are allergic to milk, soy or egg products. It is a delicious alternative protein source for just about anyone and provides many benefits for health and fitness. It can be taken as a pill or mixed with other foods and shakes. If you need a little extra protein in your diet, consider trying protein derived from peas. It is high in iron and amino acids and contains none of the saturated fats found in animal proteins.
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