What Is Pea Protein And How Do You Use It?

There are plenty of protein powders out on the market that are derived from things like whey, dairy, soy, eggs, and peas. According to Onnit, there is a bit of a misconception that pea protein may not be as strong or beneficial as its animal-based protein cousins — which is totally wrong. 

Like animal-based proteins, pea protein definitely packs a punch when it comes to overall health benefits, with the added bonus that it is safe for those with allergies, as Women's Health notes. Registered Dietician Jessica Cording tells Women's Health that pea protein is much easier to digest, but suggests that you stay away from it if you are allergic to legumes, like peanuts

According to Healthline, pea protein contains the nine essential amino acids that your body needs to get from food sources. Pea protein also carries a great source of iron, though as the outlet notes, the iron in plant-based foods isn't as easily absorbable as the iron found in animal products. Healthline cites that a go-around for this is to consume your pea protein with either a vitamin C supplement or foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus, which helps increase the absorption of iron.

Pea protein can be added to anything

Pea protein is an incredibly versatile powder. According to Texas Health, pea protein can be used in all kinds of food. Sports nutritionist Kaylee Jacks, a sports nutritionist for Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine, says it can be added to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, and baked goods. Growing Naturals notes that you can add it to coffee, pancakes, soups, and casseroles, to name a few. 

Why is pea protein worth adding to all those things? Healthline reports that it all has to do with the amount of amino acids that can be found within the powder. Pea protein is a great source of branch-chain amino acids like arginine, which aids with healthy blood flow and heart health, as well as leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which all assist with overall muscle growth. 

Because pea protein is vegan and gluten-free, Healthline reports that it works well with all kinds of diets. Another added bonus is that it helps keep you fuller longer when compared to healthy carbs and fats. As Kaylee Jacks explains, "Pea protein is a good, lean protein source and protein slows digestion, which keeps you fuller longer." 

Because pea protein is high in fiber and a natural thickener, not only will it keep you feeling full, but it may aid in weight loss. As Jacks tells Texas Health, "[Pea protein] may support weight loss by preventing overeating by keeping you fuller longer."