What is Whey Protein?
Milk consists of approximately 20% whey (liquid part) and 80% casein protein (curdled component). The liquid part obtained undergoes several processes like ultra-microfiltration and spray drying to procure whey protein powder form.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that forms the component of our bones, muscles, brain, blood, enzymes, and hormones. Including whey protein in the diet is an excellent way to deliver a high-quality and nutrient-rich protein source to the body and boost overall well-being.
Whey Protein: Benefits & Uses
Due to its excellent and complete amino acid profile, whey protein is a boon for bodybuilders, gym-goers, endurance athletes like cyclists, runners, and all fitness lovers. It assists in enhancing the protein content furthermore includes a good-quality protein source in their diet.
Whey protein powder is readily available in supplements and can easily be included in the daily diet to reap the following health benefits.
1. Promote muscle building: Whey protein is a complete source of protein as it has all nine essential amino acids. Out of all, Leucine amino acid is present in abundance in whey protein. Leucine, fondly called an anabolic amino acid, significantly promotes muscle growth. Therefore, whey protein is an ideal choice if your fitness goal includes building strong, lean muscles and gaining strength.
2. Support muscle recovery: After an intense workout session, the body urgently needs protein to repair the damaged muscles and recover. A whey protein shake post-workout is convenient and practical to recover muscles due to amino acids like BCAA and glutamine.
3. Easy to Digest: Every protein source has its amino acid-releasing ability. Whey protein is a fast-release protein; it gets rapidly digested, quickly supplies all essential amino acids and other nutrients needed to meet body needs.
4. Promote Weight Loss: People aiming to lose fat and maintain a healthy weight can consume whey protein powder daily. Protein takes a longer time to metabolize as compared to carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, whey protein prevents untimely food cravings, keeps us full for a more extended period, and regulates appetite hormones. When combined with exercise, it also aids in improving overall body composition.
5. Immunity Building: Whey protein contains several components needed to form antibodies in our body. These antibodies fight against diseases, infections and stimulate the growth of immune cells. Also, whey protein increases the production of Glutathione – a powerful antioxidant, in our body. As a result, it helps recover and fight oxidative stress and inflammation after a strenuous workout session.
6. Boost Bone Health: For the workouts and training sessions to be efficient, one must have strong bones. Poor bone health increases the risk of injury and stress fractures. Whey protein supplements may also prove good for bone health as they stimulate the growth of bone cells by activating osteoblasts.
7. Other Health Benefits: Apart from improving overall athletic performance, whey protein helps manage blood cholesterol and sugar levels. Studies also revealed that it has anti-cancer properties and beneficial post surgeries to recover swiftly.
Types of Whey Protein:
1. Whey Protein Concentrate: The protein concentration ranges between 80-85%, along with fats, carbohydrates (in the form of lactose), and minerals.
2. Whey Protein Isolate: Further processing of whey concentrate gives whey isolate with reduced-fat and lactose content. Whey protein isolate has better bioavailability with 90% protein content. Lesser lactose content also makes it easily digestible and a safe option for a mildly-lactose intolerant person.
3. Whey Protein Hydrolyzed: Enzymatic hydrolysis of whey isolate yields hydrolyzed whey protein in which peptide chains get further broken down into individual amino acids, which means the body does not have to work much to digest them. This pre-digested form provides 90% rapidly-digesting pure whey protein.