Whey, casein, plant, soy – there are a lot of different types of protein. And today, it’s time to go over another type you may want to try: pea protein.
What are the benefits of pea protein?
There are a lot. We’re going to review pea protein benefits and provide insight into why this may be a good protein for you.
- 8 Pea Protein Benefits
- 1. Aids in Building Muscle Mass
- 2. Keeps You Satiated
- 3. Possible Reduction in Blood Pressure
- 4. Easy Digestion
- 5. Potentially Reduce Inflammation
- 6. Easy to Add Into Your Diet
- 7. May Promote Kidney Health
- 8. Works With Plant-Based Diets
- Pea Protein FAQS
- What Are The Benefits of Pea Protein Powder?
- Are There Any Pea Protein Benefits for Skin Health?
- Are There Any Pea Protein Benefits for Hair?
- Benefits Of Pea Protein Vs Whey
- Final Thoughts
8 Pea Protein Benefits
1. Aids in Building Muscle Mass
If you’re trying to add muscle mass and don’t consume enough protein, it will be an uphill battle. However, one of the benefits of taking pea protein is that it can help you build more lean muscle mass.
However, you do need to engage in resistance training to see results.
But don’t take my word for it.
A 12-week study was done on pea vs whey protein, and the following occurred:
- Participants all took 50 grams of pea protein or whey
- All participants were men
- Participants weight-lifted over the 12-week period, following a similar routine
At the end of the study, both groups added roughly the same amount of lean muscle mass whether they took whey or pea protein supplements.
Not sure where to get started with your workout routine? Read our article on Power vs. Endurance vs. Strength Workouts.
2. Keeps You Satiated
One of the top benefits of pea protein, or any type of protein, is that high-quality protein will keep you satiated. For example, if you eat a quarter pound of pasta, chances are you’ll be opening the refrigerator in a few hours looking for something to snack on.
Protein takes longer for your body to digest, so you’ll stay satiated for longer.
Complete proteins are a great addition to any diet, and you can be confident that there are a lot of types of protein powders that will fit into any diet you’re on.
However, don’t take my word for it.
The University of Washington School of Medicine conducted a study on high protein diets and found that higher protein intakes led to:
- Reduction in appetite
- Lower caloric intake
- Body weight decrease
- Fat mass loss
So, if you’re trying to find a way to keep yourself from overeating or snacking, add some protein to your diet.
3. Possible Reduction in Blood Pressure
Note: While discussing pea protein benefits, many of the following benefits are health-related. However, remember that you’ll want to discuss your options with your doctor and always follow their directions.
Pea protein hydrolysate (results may differ for isolates) was the focus of one study where participants added just three grams of this protein to their diet, and they lowered their systolic blood pressure by around six points.
Another study, this one conducted on rats, found that when the rats consumed hydrolysate pea protein, they reduced their blood pressure significantly in just three weeks.
More research is definitely needed on the benefits of pea protein for heart health and blood pressure, but the studies linked do show some promising results.
4. Easy Digestion
Are you lactose intolerant or have a hard time digesting most types of protein? A good option for people that have a hard time digesting whey or other types of protein is to try pea protein.
Pea protein is an excellent source of protein for anyone with dietary restrictions because it’s:
Additionally, if you choose a high-quality supplement or just choose to add high-protein beans to your diet, you’ll add in a bunch of fiber, which will help with digestion, too.
5. Potentially Reduce Inflammation
An interesting study from 2012 found that yellow field pea seeds, used for their protein content, showed promising benefits relating to:
Researchers suggest that pea proteins may be used as an alternative therapy for anyone at risk of inflammatory diseases.
6. Easy to Add Into Your Diet
Peas are easy to add into any diet, and if you don’t like eating natural peas, powders work well, too. Pea protein powder benefits include being able to add the powder into delicious treats. For example, you’ll find recipes for using protein powders in:
Or if you don’t mind the taste, you can mix up the protein powder and drink it.
7. May Promote Kidney Health
The National Kidney Foundation claims that researchers found that higher consumption of plant protein led to:
- Lower risk of chronic kidney disease death
- May help preserve kidney function
Additionally, if you have fat in your kidneys due to high cholesterol levels, pea protein may also help. One study suggests consuming pea protein powders may help with the absorption of cholesterol while also helping rats control fat production. However, since the study was done on rats and not humans, more research is needed to clarify if these benefits will transcend to humans, too.
8. Works With Plant-Based Diets
If you’re not a big meat eater, vegetarian and so on, peas supply excellent protein content and can help fill in some of the nutrients that may be difficult for you to get in your diet. Plant-based proteins adhere to plant-based diets and offer:
- Easy digestion
- Lactose-free supplement option
- Essential amino acids
One of the best pea protein benefits is that it allows you to avoid animal products and animal proteins while offering a good source of protein.
Pea Protein FAQS
What Are The Benefits of Pea Protein Powder?
Protein powder will offer the same benefits as listed above, but keep in mind that the powders are often designed to maximize their effects. For example, when looking at Sunwarrior’s protein, you’ll find that there are a few additions in the blend, including:
- Organic MCT
- Hemp Protein
- Goji Berry
Many manufacturers will further fortify their pea protein with additional BCAAs, such as Alanine, Cysine, Leucine, Proline and over a dozen others.
Are There Any Pea Protein Benefits for Skin Health?
You’ll find many resources claiming that pea protein skin benefits are unmatched. Some claim that this protein is the “guardian” for your skin, and these statements are a bit of hyperbole. However, there are a few studies that suggest this type of protein may help with:
- Atopic Dermatitis (study)
- Chronic skin inflammation
- Skin dryness and/or severe itching
Aside from these three benefits, there don’t seem to be many studies on skin health and specifically pea protein.
Are There Any Pea Protein Benefits for Hair?
Yes, but the hair benefits aren’t produced just by pea protein. Instead, any type of protein will help improve your hair health due to the rich amino acid profile they contain. Amino acids help your hair in a few ways:
- Protect hair strands
- Reduce risk of split hairs
- Protect hair from damage
- Hydrate hair strands
Benefits Of Pea Protein Vs Whey
Whey is the “gold standard” in the fitness world because it has a quick uptake, which means that after you exercise, you drink a whey protein shake and the protein is absorbed quickly into the body.
Why is this important?
Fitness taxes your muscles. When you break down muscle fibers, they’ll need to repair to be stronger. The quick absorption of whey feeds the muscles the nutrients they need to maximize growth and repair.
However, the health benefits of pea protein powder are also impressive. Interestingly, pea protein has a digestion rate that is very similar to whey protein, with a rate or 89.8% compared to whey protein’s 90%.
Note: Absorption rate is based on pea protein isolate.
BUT, the difference in absorption is about 3 – 4 hours. This means that the protein will absorb over a three-to-four-hour period versus the fast absorption of whey protein, which is 1 – 2.5 hours, depending on the type of protein.
Finally, one interesting study was conducted based on:
- 8-weeks of high-intensity functional training
- One group took 24g of whey protein
- One group took 24g of pea protein
And the results?
There was virtually no difference in the participants at the end of the study. Pea protein provided the same muscle growth as whey did.
Pea protein benefits are impressive. If you’re just supplementing with this protein for muscle gain, it will provide benefits that are near-identical to whey protein. However, there are so many positive effects of this protein that it’s worth taking for heart health, digestion issues and muscle growth, too.
If you plan on taking protein supplements for muscle growth, you may want to consider mixing pea protein and casein or whey and casein to maximize your results.
Mike’s an obsessive gnome, always worried about bettering himself, overcoming physical limitations and trying to grow his homestead. He’s a former computer programmer, turned researcher/writer with a focus on health and wellness.