Whey protein is the perfect food for building muscle, losing excess weight and supporting good health. It provides a more absorbable source of protein than any other sourceand is super-easy to digest. No wonder it is the #1 recommended source of protein for everyone, especially bodybuilders and those who are lactose-intolerant.
Whey Protein for Health and Strength
For athletes and body builders, there may be further good news. Natural antioxidants, such as those found in whey protein, provide protection against myoblastic toxicity and muscle damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) during heavy exercise. Recent studies reported by Green Med Info report that “whey protein improved the antioxidant capacity against acute oxidative stress …and may serve as an alternative source of antioxidants for prevention of athletic injuries caused by ROS”.
Where Does Whey Protein Come From?
Whey protein is the globular protein that is a by-product of cheese production. It is one of nature’s simplest foods yet one of the highest sources of protein. You can even make your own whey protein by setting a jar of raw milk on the counter at room temperature for a couple of days and let nature do the rest. The milk naturally changes into curds (which can be pressed to form cheese) and the liquid whey can be strained off.
Whey contains all the soluble ingredients found in milk, such as lactose, minerals and lactalbumin, but without most of the fat, which has been removed with the curds.
For convenience, whey protein is dried and sold in powder form. It is very easily reconstituted by adding water. Some drying processes apply high heat to the whey, similar to the pasteurizing process of milk. The whey is denatured to create a protein gel, but this process can destroy many of the whey minerals and vitamins and it can cause allergies. That’s why you should always opt for getting your whey from a source that does low temperature processing.
How Whey Protein Builds Muscle
Research shows that taking a supplement of whey protein along with resistance training helps build muscle compared to just exercise. Studies carried out by Laurentian University Ontario concluded “protein supplementation during resistance training, independent of source, increased lean tissue mass and strength over isocaloric placebo and resistance training”.Whey protein is the most efficient way to add protein to the diet without fat or high calories. Whey protein typically contains 80-90% protein compared to lean red meat (20%), chicken (20%), fish (20%), eggs (6-8%) or cheese (10-30%). It provides the body with what it needs to build muscle, strength and to recover quickly after a workout.
Whey protein is fast ingesting so the body can break it down and use it fast. The best way to take whey protein is just before and again just after a workout. After resistance exercise the body needs a quickly assimilated source of protein and uses it to build muscle and recover the energy expended.
How Whey Protein Anti-Oxidants Repair and Build Muscle
Whey protein is also a powerful antioxidant, boosting the immune system – another health advantage. It helps repair muscle fast and allows the body to promote muscle growth safely and naturally.Over time, whey protein increases lean muscle mass, decreases recovery time, makes faster repair to muscle, increases the metabolic rate and reduces any possible muscle breakdown after a workout.
Best Way to Take Whey Protein
Most people prefer whey concentrates in easy-to-mix powder form. They contain about 80% proteins and are the most economical source per gram of protein.Whey isolates are even higher than concentrates in protein content, about 90%, which makes them lower in carbs, fat and lactose. The reason this is not the best form to take whey protein is that it is slightly more expensive, has a cleaner taste but a more watery consistency. What’s more, whey protein isolates are devoid of alkalizing minerals, vitamins and lipids, which are all destroyed in the processing and can make the whey protein isolate overly acidic.
It is worth looking for a product that is organic and hormone free, cold-processed, water soluble and naturally sweetened. Whey protein powder made from unpasteurized milk is rich and creamy, highly digestible with fuller flavor. My favorite source of whey is cultured dairy like goat’s milk kefir or amasai.
Another excellent source of whey protein are liquid products such as SueroViv, which blends cultured whey with mountain spring water. This not only provides the protein, probiotics and anti-oxidants from whey but also hydrates the body. It is pleasant to drink, flavored with organic juices, honey and essential oils.