Because not everyone eats one gram of protein per pound of body weight

By Ea Francisco

If you’re a fitness enthusiast, then you probably know the benefits of protein. While it’s easy to prepare protein-rich foods, some people still have a hard time getting the proper amount they need. This is why protein shakes are ideal for some people. It’s a quick way to consume your needed protein without having to cook. Let’s have a look at some of the most basic ingredients found in protein shakes.

Whey Powder

Whey concentrate is the cheapest protein powder there is. It’s made from milk and obviously contains lactose. It’s the easiest to digest, except for those who are lactose intolerant, which is why this one is best consumed before or immediately after your workout. Whey helps build muscle, which is why it’s taken as a recovery drink.

Casein Powder

This protein also helps with recovery and is found in milk but unlike whey, it breaks down more slowly. Because of its slow absorption, it’s less effective than whey in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. That’s why it’s not advisable to take it during or after workouts because you need fast-absorbing protein at those times. It is, however, great for the rest of the day.

Soy Powder

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, then use soy powder. It’s plant-based and arguably just as, if not more, effective than whey. Soy can help lower cholesterol and, like other protein powders, build muscle. It’s not without its drawbacks too. Studies say that the isoflavones in soy—when taken in high amounts—increases risks of cancer, especially for breast cancer survivors.

Pump up Your Protein

Protein powder alone isn’t the only thing you can put in your shake. Most people add other ingredients to give it more flavor and nutrients. Let’s list the the most common add-ons people put in their shakes:

Chocolate Milk

By itself, chocolate milk is a great post-workout drink because it has a lot of carbohydrates and protein for muscle building and recovery. It’s also said to be better than some sports drinks when it comes to giving electrolytes for hydration. Adding chocolate milk makes for a tasty thickener, turning your protein shake into more of a milkshake.

Fruits

Protein powder alone can taste bland and grainy, so you can throw in fruits like bananas, berries, and apples for added flavor and nutrients—and create a protein-packed smoothie. According to Livestrong, adding watermelon helps your heart and muscles recover faster post-workout because of its amino acids. Bananas and oats is a popular combination that sustains blood sugar levels and prevents muscle cramps.

Nuts and Seeds

This combo is for extra crunch and texture. It’s also a nifty way to add healthy fats into your shake. For instance, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids and they transform your regular protein drink into a more natural and powder-free protein shake. Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds are the kinds with the most amount of proteins.

While you can customize your protein shakes however you want, it’s not a substitute for actual meals. Maybe once in a while, there’s nothing wrong with replacing your meal with a protein shake, but it’s not something you want to do all the time. You can’t always get the nutrients you need no matter what food you add to your shake, so keep in mind to take this with moderation.