Protein smoothies are a great way to add more protein to your diet. Bodybuilder or not, these delicious drinks are what your body needs for healthy hair, skin, bones, and heart. Proteins are also what you need to start building blocks of muscle. Why not get that extra power from a protein treat and kick start your metabolism? This is not only beneficial to one’s goal of burning fat, but they are also vital for health.
Athletes are crazy about protein smoothies for a while now. The appeal of these products has also drawn attention from regular people. Because, vanity aside, these yummy drinks provide protein intake that is crucial to those who want to lead an active lifestyle. Let’s talk more about the benefits of them and share a few recipes.
The Benefits of Protein Smoothies
Why are protein smoothies so important? First of all, protein is what gets the production of muscles going. Additionally, they are also part of the process of building enzymes, nucleic acids, hormones, cellular messengers, and immune-system components.
Without protein, our bodies could not be able to construct the structures that form the cells, tissue, or organs, nor it could generate the substances that are needed for muscle contraction, growth, healing, and cardiovascular function.
Protein smoothies are the ideal drink to consume after a workout. Protein heals the micro tears, which are tiny tears in the tissue of the muscle caused by the contractions that happen during a workout. Liquid foods take less time to digest, which is why they are not a first choice. Smoothies break down the protein faster and send it to the muscles sooner than any other food. On an average, it takes about 30 minutes for the shake to reach the muscles after you have ingested it.
They are also used as a meal replacement. This way, they enable us to control fat and watch our calorie intake. This is why you can use protein smoothies for weight loss.
Are They Really Effective?
Yes, but it all lies in the timing. After completing your workout, you have two hours at your disposal to help your muscles recover from the exercise. This is why you must get your protein intake the first few hours after hitting the gym. Whether you are a morning kind of person or rather exercise in the evening, develop the habit of consuming proteins around the time of your workout. This will help you reap the fruits of your effort and also reduce muscle soreness.
Researchers have shown how all of these benefits are real. However, you must not neglect the need of carbohydrates in your post-workout food intake. Combine proteins with carbohydrates, and make sure you stay well hydrated.
Smoothies help us lose weight as we get all the nutrients we need in one glass without having to add other calories. Combining the right ingredients will create a mix of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and nutrients, that is both healthy and non-fattening. They will boost your metabolic rate and fill you up so that you won’t get the munchies too soon. And it’s not just us saying it, it’s pure biology.
Best Protein Powder for Smoothies
1. Whey protein
Whey protein is the most popular of all protein supplements available on the market. It is derived from cow’s milk, a complete protein that contains the 9 essential amino acids: isoleucine, phenylalanine, valine, threonine, lysine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, and histidine.
Whey is the most effect protein powder at building blocks of muscle. If that’s your goal, look no further. It’s also quite affordable compared to other types of protein supplements. However, do not consume it if you are allergic to lactose. It is also not vegan-friendly.
2. Soy protein
Soy protein, too, is considered to be a complete protein. It is the most effective protein derived from a plant for building muscle. It contains a great amount of amino acids which help support various body functions, such as digestion, and immune and brain function. Unlike whey protein, it’s vegan-friendly.
However, there’s a controversy surrounding the soy protein, as it raises the estrogen levels in the body. Furthermore, soybeans often come from GMO crops. If you are a woman with a history of estrogen-induced cancers or a man with low testosterone level, it may be best to choose another type of protein supplement.
3. Hemp protein
Hemp protein comes from raw hemp seeds and contains all 9 essential amino acids. It also packs a great amount of fiber and “good” fats. Its protein level is pretty low compared to whey and soy protein powders, but it’s an excellent source of nutrients when you don’t have considerable protein needs.
It’s great for protein smoothies, as it has a nice, natural nutty flavor. It’s also hypoallergenic and vegan-friendly. However, it costs more than other types of protein powders.
4. Egg white protein
As the name suggests, this protein source comes from dried and pasteurized egg whites. Also a complete protein, it’s rich in vitamins and minerals.
Egg white protein takes more to digest, and it is not recommended to those that are allergic to eggs. However, it does not contain lactose, which makes it a good option for lactose-intolerant individuals. Vegans should stay away from it, though.
5. Casein protein
Casein protein powder is usually mixed with whey for post-workout smoothies. Being the main protein in milk, casein is absorbed slower than other proteins, and it is not as efficient in bulking up. However, it has a good satiating effect on the body, and blending it with other supplements works wonders.
The great thing about casein powder is that it is made with organic dairy, free of hormones. However, it is not vegan or lactose friendly, so it may not be the best options for all individuals.
Pea protein is extracted from the yellow pea and it is considered to be the most digestible plant protein. It is perfect for anyone with a sensitive stomach, who doesn’t consume dairy, vegans, or those that do not want to use soy protein.
However, it is not a complete protein, and it is recommended you blend it with another plant-based protein to bring all amino acids together for a “complete” profile.
Protein Smoothie Recipes
This smoothie packs antioxidants from the berries, vitamin C from the orange, potassium from the banana and, of course, protein from the Greek yogurt. This thick drink that makes up for about 350 calories is also a great protein smoothie for breakfast.
- 1 banana.
- 1 orange.
- 6oz Greek yogurt.
- 1 cup mixed berries.
Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Apple and Great Grains Smoothie
If you’re a fan of pie, you’re going to love this shake that feels like you’re drinking apple pie. And here’s a tip: leave the skin of the apple on. It will provide extra phytonutrients.
- 12oz milk or yogurt.
- 1 apple.
- 2 tablespoons almonds.
- 2 scoops of vanilla-flavored protein.
- ¼ oats, uncooked.
- 1 cup spinach.
Blend all the ingredients well and add ice if want it to be more refreshing. Add a pinch of cinnamon to bring out that delicious taste of pie.
Strawberry Orange Smoothie
This gluten-free smoothie will boost your energy thanks to the vitamin C-containing strawberries and orange, and the proteins from the yogurt.
- 1 cup strawberries.
- 1 orange.
- ½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt.
- ½ cup coconut milk.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. At around 160 calories per serving, this shake is the perfect “snack” between meals.
This oatmeal smoothie is perfect as a meal replacement. It’s thick and satiating, one of the best smoothies to indulge in when you’re feeling hungry. It packs about 13 grams of protein and 12 grams of “good” fats, all without having to add pre-made protein powder.
- ½ cup whole oats.
- 1 cup almond milk.
- 1 banana.
- 2 tablespoons almonds.
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup.
Put all ingredients and a blender and process until creamy.
Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie
Mixing strawberries with banana makes for a tasty, creamy drink. The ground flax is a great addition as it provides fiber, omega-3 fats, and lignans.
- 12oz milk or yogurt.
- 1 cup frozen strawberries.
- 2 scoops of flavored protein powder.
- 1 cup spinach.
- 2 tablespoons ground flax.
Blend all the ingredients well and consider this satiating drink as a meal on its own.
Coconut Almond Smoothie
Who doesn’t like the smell and taste of coconut? This cup of heaven is full of protein and healthy fats.
- ¾ cup almonds.
- ¼ cup unsweetened dried coconut.
- 2 cups warm water.
- 2 cups cold water.
- 1 scoop vanilla-flavored protein powder.
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter.
- Salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, grated fresh ginger.
This is one recipe that requires more than most protein smoothies recipes. In the evening, place the almonds, the shredded coconut, and a teaspoon of Celtic sea salt in a bowl filled with two cups of warm water. The almonds must be completely covered with water, and you can add more if you need to.
This is an important step in activating the enzymes in the almonds, making them easier to digest.
In the morning, drain the solid ingredients and place them in a blender. Add two cups of cold water and the rest of the ingredients (the protein powder, coconut butter, vanilla extract, and cinnamon). Blend until smooth.