If you assumed that protein powders and supplements were only for muscle-men who were aiming for bigger biceps than Arnie, you thought wrong! Protein is essential for toning your body and increasing your metabolism, but it is also one of the most misunderstood health concepts around. To help clear things up, we spoke with Health Advocate, Dwayne Martens from Amazonia and got the low-down on how to pick your protein.
With so many options out there, from fat burners to WPIs, soy proteins to whey concentrates and everything in between, selecting the right protein for your body is not as easy as it’s cracked up to be. Make sure you follow our guidelines to get the best bang for your buck or better still, the best nutrition for your body.
TIP 1: Buy a vegetable protein with bio-fermented ingredients.
Although whey is the most common protein on the market, it definitely isn’t the smartest choice for everyone. Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making industry and although has a reasonable protein content, is hard to break down, resulting in malabsorption and symptoms of intolerance, such as diarrhoea, cramping, bloating and gas.
Instead, opt for a vegetable-based protein, ideally sprouted and bio-fermented, to ensure maximum bioavailability of nutrients. Sprouting and bio-fermentation not only increase the nutritional content, but help deliver the food in a means that can be absorbed by the body.
A combination of sprouted and bio-fermented Golden pea and Brown rice is our top choice for an alkaline, nutrient-dense protein.
TIP 2: Where possible, go RAW!
Where many proteins are heat-treated or require high temperatures as a means of manufacture, we suggest going raw. Not all ingredients require heat for processing, resulting in a higher retention of nutrients within the food, as nature intended. Raw proteins have no need to add artificial or manmade vitamins and minerals to their formulas, but instead rely on the wholefood approach to provide nutrition.
TIP 3: Look for Digestive enzymes.
Numbering in the thousands, enzymes are catalysts responsible for maintaining health within the body. Digestive enzymes are those that are secreted by the body that help in the digestion of food and on the other end of the spectrum, we have food enzymes, which are present in the food we eat. When our food lacks enzymes, it forces our body to utilise its own enzymes to break it down.
Any food that contains its own enzyme supply (think alkaline, raw, sprouted and bio-fermented foods), minimises the impact and degree to which your body has to break down food. The result? Reduced digestive stress, more energy and overall vitality.
TIP 4: Additives – Stay clear of them!
Do we even need to mention this? It would seem like common sense, however there are hoards of people out there consuming additive-ridden food. Don’t be one of them!
Additives are considered endocrine disruptors, mimimicing oestrogen within the body. They are implicated in attention deficit and mood + behavioural disorders, rear their head when it comes to respiratory and skin disorders and are also thought to cause considerable digestive upsets.
Our advice is to avoid buying protein powders with words on it you don’t understand. Usually, they don’t mean any good! Nature knows best and a wholefood approach really can be achieved, even in the world of protein powders.
We understand if you have been fooled to date!
TIP 5: Opt for natural flavours.
If you’re a lover of flavoured protein and can’t resist that chocolatey taste, simply ensure you buy a protein with natural flavourings. These days, cacao, coconut and vanilla flavours are easy to obtain in the world of protein powders, so there really is no excuse not to give them a try.
Artificial sweeteners in particular, wreak havoc on the body. With limited clinical testing, humans really are the guinea pigs for symptoms caused by a wide number of these sweeteners. Common side effects include headaches, vision changes, mood disorders and changes to heart rate. There are many recorded and far more serious repercussions to use of artificial sweeteners and when you can easily obtain protein powders without them, why wouldn’t you?
By nourishing your body with a raw, vegetable-based protein made from sprouted and bio-fermented ingredients, with the addition of digestive enzymes and the exclusion of artificial additives and flavourings, you really could be doing more than just giving it another protein – you might just be giving it the love it needs.
Here’s to happy, healthy bodies!