These are all great options for anyone sensitive or allergic to dairy, soy, or gluten.
With food allergies and intolerances on the rise, many people are seeking out foods that are free from triggering ingredients (think wheat, gluten, dairy, and soy). Enter pea protein, a plant-based powerhouse ingredient that's used in milks, yogurts, snack bars, faux meats, veggie burgers, and protein powder.
Pea protein comes from yellow split peas, which are part of the pulse family, along with beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas. In addition to being naturally gluten-free, pulses rarely trigger allergies—and they’re tied to a number of health perks, from weight loss to a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The results of research published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggest pulses can help reduce a person's belly fat in just one month. For the study, the authors tracked overweight women with high cholesterol for four weeks: Twice a day the women ate muffins containing either whole pea flour (equivalent to a half cup of pulse), fractionated pea flour (pea hulls only), or white wheat flour. At the end of the study period, the women who had been snacking on the whole pea flour muffins had the lowest waist-to-hip ratios.
Pea protein powder can also make a great addition to post-workout smoothies. According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, athletes who consumed pea protein powder experienced the same degree of muscle building as those who consumed whey protein powder.
So, where can you find pea protein? Here are six products I like that are made with this trending ingredient. Each one is also vegan; and soy-, wheat-, and gluten-free.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.