Protein shakes aren’t just for bodybuilders. They help all active bodies create and develop lean muscles mass, so they go hand in hand with an excellent strength training routine. They also help encourage the loss of fat, improve your metabolism, deliver much-needed nutrients right when your body needs them most, and help your entire system feel satisfied.
Deciding to add protein shakes to your repertoire seems like an easy decision. Figuring out which types of protein powder is the right fit for you is a much harder matter. Here we’ll take a look at a few of the healthiest options and discuss the benefits of each type of powder.
1. Whey Protein
Whey protein is among the most popular powders and with good reason. Derived from cow’s milk, it’s actually a “complete” protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids your body needs. It also enters your blood stream a lot more quickly than some of the other options out there. Many fitness experts consider it to be the ideal protein to pick when it comes to building lean muscle mass.
Whey protein is a good choice for you if you’re interested in the highly effective way to increase your protein intake and get the most out of your workouts.
2. Casein Protein
Like whey protein, casein protein is also made from milk. However, it is absorbed by the body a lot more slowly. While this means it’s not quite as effective as whey protein when it comes to building muscle, it does tend to help you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer. Some people even choose to blend casein protein with whey protein as a way of reaping both benefits.
Casein protein is a good pick for you if you prefer to use protein shakes as meal replacements. It’s also a good choice if you’d rather consume your protein right before bed.
3. Egg White Protein
This type of protein is pretty much what it sounds like – egg white that has been dried and powdered. As far as how quickly your body processes it, it’s quicker than casein but slower than whey. It’s not as effective when it comes to generating muscle tissue, but it’s a very popular choice as either a replacement meal or a post-workout power-up.
Egg white protein is a good choice for those who are allergic to dairy or for people who prefer to avoid dairy for personal reasons. It’s definitely a comparable substitute for those looking for a high-quality protein.
4. Soy Protein
Soy protein is created from soybeans that have been defatted, dehulled, and ground into a fine powder. Like egg white protein, your body processes it at a medium rate. However, it contains higher amounts of the amino acids arginine and glutamine. There is some evidence that suggests this makes it a better option for supporting a healthy immune system, brain function, and digestive health. It’s most certainly the most effective plant-based protein powder out there on the market.
Soy protein is a good choice for you if you’re vegan but still want the best quality protein available when it comes to building muscle and promoting excellent health. Soy protein is equally good as a meal replacement or as a workout power-up.
5. Pea Protein
Pea protein is made from nutritious yellow peas. It is also the easiest of all the plant-based proteins for the body to digest. Even so, it’s important to realize that it’s not a complete protein. It’s actually low in two of the nine essential amino acids. For this reason, it’s best combined with another plant-based protein powder (like rice or hemp powder) to help round things out.
Pea protein is a good choice for people who don’t eat animal products for any reason. It’s also excellent for people with sensitive stomachs who don’t do well on dairy or soy alternatives.
In order to get the absolute most out of your protein shakes, consume them right after your workouts as part of your post-workout recovery routine, especially if you’ve been strength training. Your muscles are like sponges that really need instant access to good quality nutrition, so be sure to drink your protein within a half hour after your workout.
Make sure to also consume your shake even on rest days to make sure your muscles stay nourished throughout every stage of the muscle recovery process. You’ll be glad you did!