As a vegan, you’ll no doubt be aware of the importance of getting enough protein in your diet. But, do you pay much attention to how balanced your diet is in terms of other nutrients? Processed vegan meat alternatives, for example, may be high in protein but lacking in vitamins and other key nutrients found in unprocessed whole foods.
In fact, most plant foods contain protein, and as long as your diet contains a wide variety of foods and is relatively healthy and balanced throughout the day, you’re unlikely to suffer from too severe a protein deficiency.
So why should you consider supplementing your diet with a vegan protein powder if you are already getting some plant protein? One big advantage of consuming protein as a powder supplement is that if you choose a good protein powder (made from a quality source of vegan protein), it's an easy way to boost your intake of nutrients vital for health – including the all-important prebiotics.
What are Prebiotics?
Probiotics have been a popular supplement for many years now, so you probably understand what they are and their importance – live “friendly” bacteria that are produced during the process of fermentation. They have a number of health benefits including reducing gut inflammation and symptoms of digestive issues such as IBS and food intolerances, boosting the immune system, and there’s even evidence that certain types of bacteria can reduce your risk of developing cancer.
The main problem with probiotics is that they must be stored carefully to avoid killing off the live bacteria. Probiotic supplements that have been exposed to heat or stored for too long will be ineffective.
This is where prebiotics can be very helpful. They don’t contain live bacteria so you don’t have to be as careful about storage conditions and they have a longer shelf-life than probiotics.
Prebiotics were first discovered and named in 1995. They are a special form of dietary fibre that act as a fuel source for the friendly bacteria in your gut. Consuming prebiotics helps to increase the number of beneficial bacteria that occur naturally in your digestive system and can also make probiotics more effective.
Advantages of Supplementing with Vegan Protein Powder
Using a protein powder in smoothies is an easy way to make sure you’re getting a concentrated source of protein in regular doses, which can help to fill in any gaps in your diet.
One of the big advantages of consuming a high-quality vegan protein powder from Australia is that they often contain other added ingredients such as superfoods, vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, probiotics, and enzymes to provide additional health benefits.
With a busy lifestyle, sometimes it’s difficult to plan meals and snacks, so adding a vegan protein shake into your routine can be helpful. You may not have time to cook a fully balanced vegan protein meal, but it takes only a few minutes to throw some fruit and vegan protein powder in the blender for a smoothie and pack it in your bag so it’s ready to drink right after your gym workout or yoga class.
Your body absorbs the amino acids in protein more efficiently in the 30 minutes following a workout, so grabbing a shake or smoothie made with plant protein powder means that you don’t miss out on this valuable time.
Vegan protein powders can also be helpful if you’re very active and burning a lot of calories. If you’re working out most days, you might not be eating enough protein to provide what your body needs. In this case, protein powder can make up the shortfall.
Why You Should Choose a Vegan Protein with a Prebiotic
It can be a little confusing when you’re trying to choose the best tasting vegetarian protein powder that’s also the best for your health. Not only are they all made from different sources of protein but they also contain different added ingredients.
Just as you may want to avoid unhealthy additives such as artificial colours and sugar, and want to make sure you get the best quality European pea protein powder, you should try to choose a vegan protein powder that contains beneficial supplemental ingredients including a prebiotic.
As well as improving general gut health, studies have shown that prebiotics also offer a number of other health benefits:
Making sure to choose a protein powder that includes prebiotics means you can enjoy the health benefits of both protein and prebiotics from one easy and delicious source – whether it be a rich vegan chocolate protein powder or a scrumptious salted caramel vegan protein powder.
Additionally, some people experience gas and bloating when drinking protein shakes. Although this is more of a problem with non-vegan protein powders that are more likely to trigger food sensitivities, choosing a protein supplement that includes prebiotics can help to resolve this issue.
While, of course, you could buy an additional prebiotic supplement to take alongside your protein shake, it’s both more convenient and cost-effective to buy just one supplement that contains both – leaving you to spend that extra cash on a new yoga mat or a well-deserved spa treatment instead.