The Best Protein to Reduce Inflammation
Let’s go over what are the best protein options for you to help reduce inflammation. If you’ve ever been to the health foods store and you’re going down the aisle, you obviously see that there are a lot of different protein options. You kind of leave there scratching your head on which is the best protein option, especially if you’re trying to figure out what the best protein option is to reduce inflammation. What I want to do is talk about some of the different proteins out there and talk about how they might be of benefit when it comes to reducing inflammation.
The Best Protein to Reduce Inflammation and Cause it
The first one that we’re going to start off with is going to be whey protein. Whey protein is a dairy-based protein. It’s one of the two proteins that you find in dairy. Interestingly enough, the whey protein concentrates are beneficial in terms of helping produce glutathione, which is a big antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in the body. Glutathione keeps inflammation under control. The higher the antioxidant status, the lower the inflammation is going to be. So whey protein is a good option. However, it’s not such a great option if you’re an individual who has concerns about dairy allergies or you have some type of dairy sensitivity.
The Second Best Protein Option to Reduce Inflammation
Another option that’s out in the marketplace that’s really good, and has some of the similar benefits of whey protein such as high branched-chain amino acid content to promote good muscle tissue development is beef protein. Most people, when they think about beef protein, scoff. “Oh my goodness, does that taste like a steak or a hamburger?” In short, the answer to that is no. It’s simply just going to have, for example, a chocolate or vanilla flavor. What is great about beef protein is that it’s going to have not just a high amount of branched-chain amino acids, it’s going to have higher nitrogen content. The higher nitrogen you have, the higher protein development, the higher muscle tissue development capacity you have and the regeneration capacity you have. Also, because most of these beef proteins don’t simply come from just the meat portion of beef, but also from the bone and cartilage, you’re also going to get the benefit in helping to regenerate some of the cartilaginous tissue in our body. That’s a great option as well and makes beef protein the second best option to reduce inflammation, and maybe number one if you are an athlete.
Right along that same thought process, there’s collagen protein. Collagen protein is just that — it’s just protein derived from collagen. This is great because it doesn’t have a very high allergen profile. You’re not going to show immune reactions to collagen per se. That’s not something you typically find in the standard American diet or in the diet of most individuals even if they’re eating a pretty good diet. We just don’t typically eat an excess amount of collagen so you’re not going to develop potential reactivity to it. That’s a good one, especially if you have joint pain or joint aches or looking to try to recover from joint injuries. Maybe you’re just out there and you got some wear and tear on your joints that you need to support. If so, collagen protein may be for you.
Plant Proteins to Reduce Inflammation
Now, I’ll start to move away from some of the animal-oriented proteins and get into some of the plant-oriented proteins. Probably the most common one in the marketplace now is going to be pea protein. I like pea protein for the fact that, as a plant protein, it’s going to have high amount of the branched-chain amino acids. Again, if you’re looking for good muscle tissue development, muscle tissue recovery, these branched-chain amino acids are important. Pea protein, ironically as a plant protein, can deliver on that especially if you’re eating North American non-GMO yellow peas. Those are a great source if you are interested in a pea protein. Therefore pea protein tops my list of plants sources for the best proteins to reduce inflammation.
Right along that same thought process, you’re going to find rice protein. It’s an option that some have moved away from but it makes a good protein option. It helps diversify the diet. One of the things that can be a little concerning with both of these is that rice protein can have a little bit of a gritty mouth feel, but it’s not bad. Most of the time, you don’t really notice it, especially if you throw it into a smoothie. In regards to pea protein, for some individuals, can be a little bit hard to digest. It’s not everybody that has this concern but it does pop up from time to time and is often easily corrected with digestive enzymes.
The other protein options out there that I recommend are hemp protein. Hemp protein is good. It’s going to have a high fiber content usually associated with it.
The last one and this is one of the ones that is far less common, but I do find good clinical use for, is going to be the pumpkin seed protein powder.
The Best Protein to Reduce Inflammation is NOT a Single Protein
If you’re looking at all of these proteins and again, we’re trying to answer the question “What is the best protein to reduce inflammation?”, while each one of these proteins might on its own be a great protein to reduce inflammation, the true answer behind that is going to be all of them. The more consistently you consume a protein, the more likely you are to react to that protein. The idea here when you’re choosing a protein supplement is not to choose and get latched into one particular product; the better idea would be to use multiple different proteins. For example, if you walk into my personal pantry, you’re going to see I don’t just have a whey protein. I don’t just have a beef protein or just a pea protein. I have a lot of proteins in there and I rotate through these based on what my demands are. At the end of the day, when I’m trying to keep my own inflammation low and I’m asking myself “What’s the best protein that I should choose for me today to reduce inflammation?”, it’s not the same protein that I chose yesterday.
So don’t get locked into a one-size-fits-all for the ideal protein. At the end of the day, guys, it’s really more about the combination of proteins, the variety in your diet, looking at diversity and how that diversity enhances your overall gut profile, reduces potential immune reaction and keeps your inflammation low.