Veganism is increasingly popular among body builders, though obviously that means they have to work extra hard to get their protein.
Many athletes are increasingly turning to veganism to help them get the levels of health and fitness they need to compete at the highest levels.
So what vegan protein powders are best?
Hemp protein powder is increasingly popular as it is affordable, environmentally friendly and packs a significant punch.
The nine essential amino acids found in hemp protein powder are:
But it isn’t just a protein powder, hemp powder is also a source of vegan omega fatty acids as well as phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc and copper. It also has a huge amount of fibre in it, making it help you feel fuller longer and contributing to gut health.
Some people find hemp powder more digestible and less problematic for sensitive stomachs than some other protein powders, so try this if you have IBS or any kind of food sensitives to minimise the risk of side effects.
Pea protein is one of the cheapest types of vegan protein powder and can be added not only to shakes but to other recipes. Use it to thicken soup and casseroles for a protein boost. It is relatively tasteless as you may have found out from trying pea protein pasta, or seen it used in sausages.
The fact it is used in food manufacturing lays testament to its safety and food enhancing properties, so consider adding this to more than just smoothies. It blends well with water and doesn’t contain any of the gritty or chalkiness you may get with hemp protein powder.
Pea protein has all of the benefits of legumes including a high iron and calcium quantity in them.
Pea protein is also backed by science with one 12 week study showing that weight lifting men gained as much muscle when consuming 50g of pea protein a day as those consuming the same amount of whey protein.
Pumpkin seed protein
Another option is pumpkin seed protein. It is more expensive than pea or hemp but like hemp has a good protein content, and is a vegan source of omega fatty acids. It is a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper as well as vitamin K. The fats in it are also good for you as it is a good source of plant sterols, the same ones Flora puts into its spread to make it ‘heart healthy’.
Sunflower seed powder
Sunflower seed powder is another example of a plant-based source of a complete protein as it contains the following amino acids.
This is a great option for people who are unable to eat nut powders but miss the nutty flavour. Sunflower seed powder has a great nutty flavour and as a result is frequently added to baking recipes, if you want a change from adding it to smoothies.