Whey protein is often used by body builders and other athletes as a supplemental source of a nutrient that is essential for good health. Athletes have high protein requirements due to the need to constantly enlarge and repair muscle tissue. A source of complete protein with no fat, whey protein can be prepared and eaten in a variety of ways, to provide all the benefits of dietary protein.
The Benefits of Protein
Protein is essential for a vast number of the body’s processes and functions. It’s important for maintaining muscles, for repairing the body’s tissues, and for keeping hair, skin, and nails in good health. Protein is an essential part of the immune system, and is involved in cell signaling, molecular transport, and in literally thousands of bodily reactions and processes. In short, it’s an absolutely vital nutrient.
Protein is essential in the diet. Not all sources of protein are created equal, however, and the various foods which contain protein are actually ranked by scientists according to how biologically available protein is when food is consumed. Whey protein is, surprisingly, top of the list, with more available protein than any other food.
What’s so Great about Whey Protein?
What is whey protein? Whey protein is a pure, natural, high quality protein isolated from whey, a liquid by-product of cheese-making. It is a rich source of all twenty of the essential amino acids needed on a daily basis by the body. In its purest form, as whey protein isolate, it contains little to no fat, lactose or cholesterol.
Whey protein is made up of water plus a list of proteins, including beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactoalbumin, bovine serum albumin, and immunoglobulins (antibodies).
This rich protein is really considered a protein gold standard by body builders and other athletes interested in building lean muscle mass. Why is this protein so beneficial?
- It’s a naturally complete protein, with all essential amino acids.
- Whey protein is soluble, easily digested, and quickly absorbed by the body.
- It is a good source of branched chain amino acids. In this form, amino acids can be metabolized straight into muscle tissue, making whey protein excellent for speedy repair of tired or damaged muscles.
- Whey protein is a very good source of leucine, an amino acid which is particularly important for athletes. Leucine is important in muscle growth and muscle cell synthesis.
- This form of protein is rich in glutathione, an antioxidant which helps boost the immune system.
Whey Protein isn’t Just for Body Builders
Whey protein has other uses, too. This type of protein may be useful for diabetics due to a unique property of the protein. According to the results of a recent study on this type of protein, whey supplements act to prevent blood sugar spikes after meals high in carbohydrates. Whey protein is also an ideal supplement for anyone with a suppressed immune system, or who simply needs an immune boost.
In short, whey protein can provide plenty of the protein needed for a healthy diet without adding extra fats and carbohydrates.