Protein is probably the most important macronutrient that our body needs to stay healthy. Besides healthy fats and carbohydrates, protein takes on a major role when it comes to helping our bodies develop, grow, and repair. The nutrient is found in many foods, and while it’s particularly high in meat products like chicken and beef, what happens if you follow a plant-based diet?
Lots of vegetables and veggie diet foods are high in protein, too, most notably broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. And as well as all the natural products on offer, you can also up the amount of protein you consume by looking into plant-based protein powders. Cue pea protein powder, one of the most popular vegan options out there. High in protein and a great source of iron, it contains all of the essential amino acids that your body struggles to create by itself.
So, what is pea protein powder, what are the benefits, and what are some of the best products on the market?
What actually is it?
Pea protein powder is a supplement that is made by extracting protein from yellow peas. Typically, it’s used to up the amount of protein in shakes and smoothies, and it’s perfect for any diet due to it being naturally vegan and hypoallergenic. All you gluten-free guys, you can rejoice! But it’s not just smoothies this protein powder can be used for – it can also be added to an array of tasty dishes, including pancakes, coffee, and even mashed potatoes. Yep, you heard that right the first time…
What are the benefits?
Now for the main benefits:
Rich in iron
We already know that pea protein powder is high in protein. It literally says it in the name. But it’s also good for other things, and one of those is being rich in iron.
Most of the powder products contain around 5-7.5 mg per serving. This is around 28-42% of the RDI (reference daily intake) for premenopausal women, and 62-95% of the RDI for postmenopausal women and men.
Combining pea protein powder with your current plant-based diet is also a great way to increase your protein intake, as sometimes, the iron in veggie products is less absorbable than what’s found in animal products. For example, combining your protein powder with vitamin C or vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus, you’ll be able to boost your iron absorption by up to 67%.
And if you have an iron deficiency, this is a sensible solution to increasing your iron intake as well as your protein.
Works with lots of different diets
Like we said earlier, pea protein powder is naturally vegan, and gluten-free. But it’s also dairy-free, too. This means it doesn’t contain any of the top eight food allergens, which are peanuts, tree nuts, fish, eggs, shellfish, wheat, soy, and cow’s milk. So, almost every diet will be absolutely fine adding the powder to it.
It also blends really well with water and has a less chalky or gritty texture than other plant-based protein powders, such as hemp. However, while for the majority of people it works wonders when added to their diet, if you have an allergy, are sensitive or intolerant to peas, you should avoid it.
What to look for when buying pea protein powder
So, before you head straight to your nearest health and wellness shop, make sure you do your research first. When purchasing pea protein powder, make sure you have ticked off the following…
- It’s made from high quality ingredients
- It doesn’t have any preservaitve, fillers, additives, or artificial flavours.
- The company adheres to premium manufacturing standards.
- The use of third-party testing for workout or sports products.
Now you’re aware of the non-negotiables that go into making a high-quality pea protein powder, here are some of the best products on the market…
The best pea protein powders right now
We’ve categorised each product into sections we think people would be the most interest in. From the best tasting to the best overall pea protein powder, (in our opinion, obvs) there’s something for everyone. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Best overall product – Naked Nutrition Pea Protein Powder
We thought we’d start with the one that we think encompasses everything you’d want in a protein powder. This Naked Nutrition product is only made with one ingredient – pea protein extract, which is why it’s up there with the ‘best overall’ label. The fact that it’s a pure yellow pea protein isolate product means that it will be able to effectively boost your daily protein intake. Plus, no chemicals were used during the processing to make the powder, and the organic yellow pea protein is grown on US and Canadian farms.
Some of the advantages of this plant protein product include:
- It’s made with yellow pea protein with zero additives and artificial sweeteners.
- It’s third-party lab tested for heavy metals.
- The pea protein supplement comes in 3 different flavours – plain, chocolate, and vanilla.
- It’s spy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and GMO-free.
- It can increase muscle recovery and thickness.
- It reduces cravings.
Best unflavored pea protein powder – Vega One All-In-One Shake
If you like things plain and simple, and most importantly unflavored, this is the natural plant based protein powder for you.
Made with no soy or dairy, you can get creative flavour-wise with this protein powder because it’s all down to you. This makes it a great choice if you want to get experimental with adding protein powder to different meals.
It’s made from organic yellow peas and protein isolate, and per serving, this product can provide you with about 15 grams of protein. Here’re some of its other benefits:
- It’s USDA certified organic pea protein.
- The pea protein supplements can be easily mixed and the texture will remain smooth.
- It doesn’t have any trans fat which makes it perfect for promoting weight loss.
However, if you want a good amount of other vitamins as well as protein in your diet, this may not be the best option, as it only contains protein and iron.
Best tasting pea protein powder – Orgain Organic Protein
Not only is this one of the best tasting pea protein powders (heads up, there are so many different flavours to choose from), but it’s also a perfect choice if you suffer from a sensitive stomach. The company who produces this product, Orgain, have been in the health and wellness industry since 2009, and they know a thing or two about protein powder.
And if you’re looking for the best flavours (which is why you’re reading this section), Orgain have a lot for you to choose from, including:
- Chocolate coconut
- Creamy chocolate fudge
- Peanut butter
- Chocolate peanut butter
- Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt
- Vanilla bean
- Iced coffee
- Natural unsweetened
Wow, we might just have to pick them all!
But if cooking up your own treats with pea protein powders is a little too out of your comfort zone, you can buy the Orgain Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough organic protein bar instead. Mmm!
Here are some of the other benefits of the protein powder:
- It comes with a complete amino acids profile.
- Not only is it gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, non-GMO, dairy-free, and lactose-free, it’s also Kosher-compliant, too.
- It helps to promote healthy weight loss.
The easiest to use – KOS Organic Plant Protein Powder
Don’t want to be fiddling about in the kitchen for hours? Want something quick and easy before you head to your workout? This best pea protein powder is the one for you, because all you have to do is scoop and shake. What could be simpler?!
There are some incredible (award-winning) flavours you can choose from, too, including:
- Himalayan salt
- Organic coconut milk
- Organic cacao
- Organic stevia
The product is also made with lots of healthy digestive enzymes, soluble fibres and the following organic blend:
- Pumpkin seed
- Chia seed
- Non-GMO pea
And if you’re after some serious sports nutrition pea protein powders, this make will provide you with around 20 grams of protein per serving. Nice! Want to hear about some of the other advantages you’ll get from choosing this pea protein powder?
- It’s USDA-certified organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free.
- It’s rich in minerals and vitamins.
- It contains high-quality protein and digestive enzymes.
Best for using daily – Ritual Essential Protein
OK, so if you’re going to be using pea protein powder daily, this is the perfect make. Helping to grow muscles healthily, this powder is best (and most popularly) used in a shake. According to Ritual, this product is a “re-imagined” plant based protein – it contains medium-chain triglycerides oil, sunflower seeds, and and amino acids including choline. The latter can help improve heart function, memory, and reduce body inflammation according to a study published in The Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease. And like the powder above, this one can also provide you with about 20 grams of protein per serving.
Here are some of its pros:
- The yellow peas are organic and grown on farms in the US.
- The powder has a complete amino avid profile, and everything is (of course) allergen and gluten-free.
- This yellow pea protein powder can support bone, satiety, and brain health.
- It’s third-party labs tested.