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As people become more aware of the effect food can have on their health and the need to support the environment, there has been a shift away from traditional protein products and towards plant-based protein. Here are five reasons why.

One – Faster Absorption

Getting sufficient protein in your diet is essential for healthy muscle growth and repair, and for optimal metabolic function. Eating adequate protein can also reduce your appetite and help you to shed fat without losing muscle. Your body’s protein needs increase significantly when you exercise, so plant-based proteins can be an excellent supplemental source if you are not getting enough protein in your regular diet. Plant-based proteins are bioavailable, meaning that they are easily assimilated into the bloodstream and can therefore go to work straight away. This rapid absorption is of particular benefit in supporting the body during post-training recovery.

Two – Better gut health

Do you have digestive problems? If so, whey protein could be involved. Whey is the liquid which remains after milk has been curdled and drained, and flatulence, diarrhoea, stomach pain, and bloating are sometimes seen as side effects in those consuming it. People who have struggled with tummy troubles for years while taking whey protein have often reported noticing the difference when they swapped to plant-based protein. As almost all plant sources contain no allergens, plant-based protein is gut-friendly and easily digested; plus, plant-based eating lowers chronic inflammation in the body, a factor which has been linked to many diseases.

Three – Lose the lactose

According to the National Institute of Health, around 65 per cent of the human population has difficulty digesting lactose from birth, which can have negative effects on health. Removing chemical ingredients, additives and irritants from the diet is the first step towards optimising health. Choosing plant-based protein eliminates the vast majority of these unnecessary ingredients, and also minimises the bloating, wind and inflammation which can result from consuming lactose. Plant-based protein is also far lower in cholesterol and sodium, which are common in animal-sourced protein.

Four – Promote greener living

Plant-based living is beneficial for your health and the welfare of animals, and also for the environment. Whey protein is a by-product of the dairy industry, which can take a toll on the environment, whereas plant-based protein powders use fewer natural resources and create fewer carbon emissions.

Joseph Poore, from the School of Geography and Environment, Oxford University, says: “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Planet Earth – not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

So, vegan is in! And it will stay in. It is not a passing fad; it is a selfless act of treating all living beings equally and with respect, which in turn has a positive effect on our planet. Even if you are not vegan, choosing plant-based protein will still benefit animals and the planet – so give yourself a pat on the back.

Five – Support conscious consumerism

What do you know about the brands you buy? It’s time we all know more about the businesses we support, and decide whether they align with our core values as a member of society. Consider your food and lifestyle choices, the businesses you support, and the values they stand for. Every dollar you spend is a vote for what you stand for, so choose reputable brands.

“Plant-based” is the latest hip buzzword, and this means big business has quickly focused on the fact that there is money to be made by jumping into this emerging market. It also means that you will see many more protein companies offering a vegan option alongside their whey products. Unfortunately, if a company is more interested in financial gain than ethical progression, their focus may be accompanied by a blurred moral compass. Research the companies behind the products you buy and look for brands with strong ethics and genuine intentions. One great company that is leading the way with their progressive plant-based products is Prana On – they are 100 per cent Vegan Certified and their focus is solely on being better for your health, the animals and the planet.