Did you know that there are at least 10,000 different proteins in your body that make you what you are and keep you that way? It's no secret that protein is an essential part of our diet, but the debate as to the best source and the amount seems to be never ending. One thing is certain, however, around the world, millions of people aren't getting enough protein. Vegans and people with certain allergies as well as seniors and athletes may fall into this category. The reason? Not all protein is alike. Protein is built from amino acids. While animal sources tend to deliver all of the amino acids our bodies require, other protein sources such as nuts, seeds and vegetables lack one or more of these essential amino acids.
This is where yellow pea protein can play a vital role in nutrition. Pea protein delivers large amounts of the essential branched-chain amino acids isoleucine, valine, arginine, and lysine. This is why you'll find it as an ingredient in Jon Barron's Nutribody Protein powder. And, its protein value isn't the only thing it's good for.
Pea protein is the concentrated natural protein fraction of yellow peas. The process used for concentrating pea protein is water based, making the end product very "natural." When it comes to perception, more people have a problem with the "idea" of pea protein than with rice protein. But in fact, pea protein has a very mild, pleasantly sweet taste. It's one of the better tasting proteins. And, this ingredient is a plus for vegans, those with soy or dairy allergies, or who are lactose intolerant since it is plant based. This means it contains absolutely no animal products or animal byproducts.
Yellow pea protein has enormous benefits as a protein source in combination with rice protein, as they are both hypoallergenic, easily absorbed by the body, easy to digest and cholesterol-free, and unlike other protein sources, don't lead to aminoacidemia or intestinal toxemia. And now, it turns out, yellow pea protein may have an additional benefit; it also may be anti-hypertensive and beneficial to the kidneys!
Research out of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, has uncovered a surprising natural treatment of yellow pea protein that may help control hypertension without incurring the high cost or potential danger of drugs. Plus, the treatment seems to prevent or at least moderate the impact of kidney disease, which typically leads to high blood pressure and cardiovascular complications. The treatment originates with the humble yellow garden pea, a key ingredient in Indian dal and other vegetarian favorites. The research team fed small amounts of pea protein hydrolysate extracted from yellow peas to rats for eight weeks, and by the end of that time, the rats showed a 20 percent drop in blood pressure compared to rats on a regular diet.
Since kidney disease usually leads to hypertension, and most people who have chronic kidney disease actually die from the resultant cardiovascular complications of high blood pressure, the scientists intentionally bred rats that had a severe type of kidney disease to see how the pea protein would impact them. And they discovered that not only did the pea protein lower their blood pressure, but it also increased urine output by 30 percent, indicating a significant improvement in kidney function since those with kidney damage often have impaired urine flow and so can't rid the body of toxins. It also increased the presence of a key protein in kidney tissues.
In addition to the kidney benefits, pea protein also has weight loss benefits. First, since pea protein is slowly digested it may also help you feel full. This can help control your calorie intake. In addition, high-protein diets may also contribute to weight loss. According to the authors of a 2008 article from Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity, "Controlled trials continue to show comparable, if not superior, effects of high-protein diets on weight loss, preservation of lean body mass, and improvement in cardiovascular risk factors."
While this is amazing news, it's important to note that eating peas for dinner won't do the trick. The protein needs to be isolated and activated with enzymes. Yellow peas by themselves are ineffective because their protein content is low and is bound to carbohydrates. The process for extracting and purifying concentrated protein from yellow peas incorporates water and enzymes. The net result is the concentrated protein hydrosylate that the researchers found to be:
- Highly bio-available
- Pleasant tasting
- Helps lower high blood pressure
- Moderates the impact of kidney dysfunction
What's not to love?
The most common way to take pea protein is in powder form added to juices, shakes or smoothies—although it can be added to baked goods too. It's a great way to start the day or to enjoy after a hard workout to help in restoring muscle mass.
Learn more about kidney detox methods.
Li H, Prairie N, Udenigwe CC, et al. "Blood pressure lowering effect of a pea protein hydrolysate in hypertensive rats and humans." J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Sep 28;59(18):9854-60. Epub 2011 Sep 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21854068
R.E. Aluko and Aukema, H.M. Effects of a novel pea protein hydrolysate on hypertension and chronic kidney disease
Lyn Patrick. ""Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Trial."Beta-Carotene: The Controversy Continues." AMR 2000 v5 n6. http://altmedrev.com/sobi2.html?sobi2Task=dd_download&fid=280
ACS: Pea Protein May Help Hypertension, Kidney Function