Whey protein powder–a popular addition to many a health smoothie–is made from the remaining liquid after milk has been curdled and strained. If you’ve ever noticed the liquid at the top of yogurt, for example, this is whey. It’s highly sought after because it’s loaded with high quality protein and essential amino acids. While it doesn’t taste very good on its own, it can be added to smoothies and yogurt bowls to amp up the nutritional density.
What’s Undenatured Whey Protein Powder?
Undenatured whey protein is considered the healthiest protein powder on the market for a number of reasons. It’s an easily digestible form of protein, making it appealing to athletes and those looking to build muscle. It also contains a potent form of glutathione, an important antioxidant that’s great for preventing damage to the cells. (In fact, one of the reasons that breast milk is considered so healthy is because it contains a higher percentage of whey than cow’s milk, and as a result, it contains more glutathione.)
Undenatured whey protein isn’t heat-treated, so the fragile bonded cysteines that later form glutathione aren’t broken down in pasteurization. When you’re looking for a good undenatured whey protein powder, here’s what to look for:
- Organic (The whey shouldn’t be treated with hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics.)
- No added sugar.
- No unnecessary additives like artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, corn syrup, etc.
- At least 90 percent protein.
- No added fats or cholesterol.
- It must be cold-pressed.
More On How Glutathione Works
Made up of the amino acids cysteine, glutamate, and glycine, glutathione’s role is to protect the cells and mitochondria from cell damage. It’s also excellent for immune health. In fact, it’s been called the most powerful of all the antioxidants.
One study published in the Journal of the Society for Reproduction and Fertility found that it may improve male fertility. Another study published in the journal Oncogene and yet another published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that glutathione may have anti-cancer benefits.
Whey Protein Powder Recipes
Perfectly Balanced Meal Replacement Smoothie Made with Whey Protein Powder
Image of a berry smoothie via Shutterstock
2 Tbsp. whey protein powder of choice
1 cup spinach
1 handful frozen berries
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp. raw organic honey
Combine in a blender or food processor and serve immediately.
Healthy Chocolate Chip Pancakes
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2 Tbsp. protein powder
2 Tbsp. almond meal
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. sunflower oil
Combine all the ingredients until a thick batter forms. Heat oil up to medium heat in a nonstick skillet or griddle. Add a quarter cup of batter at a time. Flip each pancake when the batter begins to bubble a bit and cook a few more minutes on the second side.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
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3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup applesauce
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
1 cup raw honey
3 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup cacao chips
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Puree the oats in a food processor. This is an important step to ensure that the batter is smooth.Mix oats with the remaining ingredients.
Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a fork comes out clean. Once cooled, store in a sealed container.
Recipe adapted from Men’s Fitness.
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Image of cookies via Shutterstock
1 cup all-natural peanut butter (or almond butter or other nut butter)
1 cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup raw honey
1 cup chocolate protein powder of your choice
Combine all of the ingredients until the batter is smooth.
Roll into 20 individual balls, about one-inch each.
Flatten each slightly so it’s shaped like a cookie. The best part about these cookies is that they don’t need to be baked.
**Notes: These are great as a morning pick-me-up or a healthier dessert. For additional richness, add some chocolate chips. Make these for the week ahead. They make a great substitute for a breakfast or energy bar.
What’s your favorite whey protein powder? We want to know! Send us a message via Twitter @OrganicAuthorit
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Image of a chocolate and peanut butter smoothie via Shutterstock