Getting fit takes more than just exercising regularly and sweating it out to lose unwanted pounds.
Food intake matters a great deal, too.
However, solid food takes time for the body digest. It also takes time for the body to benefit from its nutrients.
But then again, each person has a different need; what you eat can considerably affect your body depending on what it needs the most, and what you are targeting.
For individuals who want to build a lean muscle mass and pack on the energy throughout the day, protein is of utmost importance.
Protein Shakes for a Healthy Body
Arnarson (2017) listed down 10 nutritional benefits of protein and protein shakes. For ones, protein shakes are easily digestible and absorbed by the body.
As you age, your metabolism rate slows down and your capacity to build muscle mass also declines. Protein shakes promote muscle growth so you can build lean muscles as you work out.
Since protein shakes contain milk, numerous studies (1) have also linked dairy products – including protein shakes – in lowering blood pressure and risks of diabetes.
Due to extreme working out, you might just put a heavy toll on your muscles and do damage. Fortunately, protein shakes can help your muscles recover fast.
But the most essential function and feature of protein shakes is their contribution to fitness and weight loss.
As protein fights the antioxidants in the body, it also regularises your metabolism rate so you could burn fat and keep those hunger pangs at bay.
Protein shakes promote satiety even when you don’t eat much. Protein shakes are best for people who want to build their bodies, recover from workout injuries, and explore a vegan lifestyle.
Quality Protein Shakes
Alyssa Tyler (2016) (2), a contributor at clevelandclinic, enumerated the several types of protein:
Whey protein, which is ideal for daily use;
Soy protein, which reduces high cholesterol;
Pea protein, an economical and high digestible type;
Milk protein, which support muscle growth and promote a healthy and strong immune system;
Hemp protein, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids;
Egg protein, which can be taken any time of the day;
Rice protein, another plant-based protein that is perfect for vegans who don’t and can’t eat dairy products.
Picking the right protein powder, however, needs to be thought through, lest you end up buying something that doesn’t match your body type, health history, and lifestyle.
Nutritionist Robert Wildman (2017) suggests a more specific classification of protein powders and shakes.
Whey, by far, is the most popular among bodybuilders because it is quickly absorbed by the body.
It is ideally taken prior to or after a workout.
Twenty percent of its protein comes from cow’s milk, and its branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) content includes leucine, an essential factor in creating and activating pathways for protein molecules.
Milk protein, as expected, cannot be taken by people who are lactose intolerant.
Still, protein shakes are good sources of this bodybuilding protein because milk allows the fast and sustained release of amino acids, which account for muscle growth.
Meanwhile, people allergic to milk may try egg protein, which has 100 percent biological value and contains essential amino acids for the synthesis of protein.
Some experts proffer that that casein protein shakes may not be beneficial for immediate muscle recovery, but is ideally consumed before bedtime because it helps with your metabolic rate.
Rice protein, although plant-based, may be deficient in amino acids.
Nevertheless, rice protein is hypoallergenic and highly nutritious due to its complex carbohydrates, fiber, and B vitamin content.
And while soy protein isn’t considered complete protein, it is definitely fat-free and can optimize weight loss.
Robbie Clark, a sports nutritionist and dietitian from Australia, lays down what you should look for in a protein shake.
Quality can oftentimes be determined at the label and list of ingredients. Clark suggests to look for natural ingredients and avoid products with the following:
- Dextrins, a group of low-molecular-weight carbohydrates that is used to separate non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ;
- Artificial sweeteners, which includes Splenda, saccharin, xylitol, sucralose, aspartame, NutraSweet, and Equal;
- Vegetable fats and oils that contain trans fats, which raises your level of bad cholesterol and your risk of heart disease (3);
- Skim milk powders that cause bloating, constipation, stomach upset, and loose bowel movement;
- Fillers, additives used to bulk up protein (e.g. coconut flour); and
- Thickeners, which may give you gut problems.
Price is another clue to the quality of protein shakes.
Normally, cheap ones have subpar quality because the ingredients might be synthetic and full of fillers.
Still, it is not safe to assume that expensive protein shakes are healthy; the best indicator would be the products ingredients and certifications.
That said, organic protein shakes are your best bet, especially if they are certified by USDA.
Meanwhile, you may want to check if the product is certified by the National Science Foundation (Bede, 2018) (4) and look for banned substances.
You may also consider taking vegetable-based sources of protein that contain a proprietary blend of natural ingredients, such as quinoa, lentils, flaxseeds, millet, grains, and beans.
Are Plant-Based Protein Shakes Healthier than Animal-Based Ones?
The main difference between plant-based protein shakes and animal-based ones lies in their amino acid profiles and how these amino acids are absorbed in the body.
Animal-based proteins get a lot of attention in commercialized products because they are more readily available (Campbell, 2013). (5)
Despite the rising popularity of animal-based proteins, plant-based protein shakes are slowly taking over the stage.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (6), protein sourced from plants works the same way animal-based protein does in terms of muscle building.
Meat contains fats and residues that are harmful to your health – trans fat, cholesterol, endotoxins, and arsenic are some of the examples – and promote diseases.
Animal protein that comes from red meat is even more dangerous because it is found to increase the risk of diverticulitis to 58 percent.
In addition, animal-based protein contains low levels of antioxidants although they offer a concentrated amount of nutrients.
But then again, there is always a healthier alternative, and plant-based protein can provide almost the same amount of nutrients and vitamins without the “extra baggage”.
For one, plants contain phytochemicals that protect the body from carcinogens.
Phytochemicals also reduce, if not eradicate, the risks of heart disease. Plants are likewise a rich source of dietary fibre, which aids in digestion.
Two Great Tasting Shake Smoothies You Can Try at Home
Got no budget for pricey vegan protein shakes? Why not flex your muscles (pun intended!) and create your own smoothie?
Read on for two easy recipes for a delicious DIY protein shake:
i) Almond-Coconut Protein Shake
Although this shake is not wholly plant-based, milk is an excellent source of protein, and so are almonds.
½ cup of unsweetened dried coconut
20 pcs. of almonds
1 tbsp. of honey
2 ½ cups of water
1 tsp. of cinnamon powder
2 cups of milk
2 tbsp. of flaxseeds, ground
- Soak the coconut and almonds overnight in water. Blend the ingredients (minus the water) until they have transformed into coarse powder.
- Add milk to the mix and blend the ingredients until they become smooth.
- Sprinkle the flaxseed and cinnamon powder. Drizzle the honey on top of the smoothie. Serve in a tall glass.
ii) Oatmeal, Chia Seeds, and Blueberry Milkshake
This shake is loaded with 12.72 grams of protein, enough to get you through a simple workout.
1 tbsp. of chia seeds
1 cup of milk
½ cup of fresh blueberries
2 tbsp. of oatmeal
1 tbsp. of honey
- Blend all the ingredients until the shake becomes smooth and thick.
- Add crushed ice and blend for a couple of seconds. Serve in a glass.
Here are other healthy shakes you want to check out and complement your meals with. The overall protein content is written enclosed in parentheses.
- Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Shake (provides 43.54 g)
- Chocolate Protein Shake (23.6 g)
- Vegan Raspberry-Banana Protein Shake (7.81 g)
- Soy Milk-Strawberry Protein Shake (24.72 g)
- Vegan Pea Protein Meal Replacement (38.6 g)
- Oatmeal-Apple Shake (21.48 g)
- Roasted Gram Flour Low-Calorie Shake (16.65 g)
Do it Yourself (DIY) Shakes Vs Buying Top Brands
There really is no difference that should set your alarm bells ringing; the only issue here is a matter of price and quality.
If you make your own protein shakes, you can be sure of the ingredients that you use.
There is also joy in personalising your protein shakes – you know what works and what doesn’t work for your body.
You can also shop for cheaper ingredients that won’t compromise the quality of the shake (i.g. using organic honey in place of artificial sugars).
Moreover, DIY shakes give you the freedom to vary your ingredients and check their calorie count.
This is not to say that top brands of commercial protein shakes aren’t as healthy (the 3 brands below are examples of quality shakes).
In fact, many of them are vegan.
They are perfect for people who don’t have the time to make their own protein shakes. Simply scoop up protein shake powders – or drink them as soon as you’ve bought them – and you’re good to go.
If you are not too picky with the ingredients and you trust the brand, there shouldn’t be any reason for you not to try commercial shakes.
3 Great Tasting, Popular, and Very Healthy Shakes
We are happy to share with you, 3 really advanced healthy shakes.
These top of the breed brands currently have several thousands of reviews from women and men users on Amazon stores.
1. Premier Protein Shake (Order on AMAZON)
Premier Protein contains essential protein with just the right amount of fat and sugar.
The product is perfect for people on a diet as the shake curbs your hunger and gives you a sudden burst of energy to do your tasks and exercises.
The product mostly comes in carton tetra packs with resealable lids, perfect for on-the-go individuals.
Each pack has 30 grams of protein, calcium, minerals, and vitamins, all providing you 160 calories.
The premier protein shake comes in five delightful flavors: caramel, strawberries and cream, chocolate, bananas and cream, and vanilla.
This shake is good for anyone wanting an extra boost in strength and energy to work on numerous tasks.
2. FitMiss Delight Shake for Women (Order on AMAZON)
This plant-based product is specifically designed for women who want real results while getting a healthy supplement of protein, minerals, enzymes, and vitamins.
Generally, FitMiss can curb your hunger pangs for hours, preventing you from binge eating even when hunger strikes.
Whether you drink it along with your meal or snack, the shake won’t make you feel bloated – just the right kind of full.
Not only does it build and maintain healthy and lean muscle, but its Solathin technology makes you feel full faster.
It comes in four variants:
Ignite (to increase your energy and workout motivation)…
FM BCAA (to ease muscle breakdown)…
Burn (to suppress your appetite),
Z-Slim (to promote and support metabolism as you sleep).
Orgain Organic Shake is all about clean nutrition.
The product uses only organic grass-fed protein that contains the right amount of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids.
Vegetables such as blueberries, kale, acai, beets, and spinach
21 essential vitamins and minerals, some of which are Riboflavin, Vitamin C, Folate, and Zinc.
Organic is also soy free, gluten free, and made of non-GMO ingredients.
Each tetra pack will leave you feeling full and energized, which makes it ideal for anyone with an active lifestyle.
The 11-ounce ready-to-drink protein shake comes in vanilla bean, iced café mocha, and creamy chocolate fudge flavors.
Whether you want to build and repair muscle, or simply manage your weight to complement your workout routine, you should only remember one word regarding protein shakes: HEALTHY.
The use of organic and premiere ingredients cannot be discounted in building muscles.
The issue is not so much in how fast your body could absorb the protein and manifest results, but how healthy the protein shake is.
After all, what is a big and sculpted body when all it contains are artificial ingredients?
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