by Charles Weller April 19, 2017
In the search to find healthier plant-based protein sources, whether to use them as an alternative to animal-based protein sources or to improve the selection in a plant-based diet, the cranberry has been proven to be an excellent one. Extracted from cranberry seeds, the cranberry protein can be manufactured and processed for use in protein powders, health foods, and supplements. Using enzyme-free manufacturing processes that avoid extraction solvents and high heats helps retain the high level of nutrient value of the cranberry protein. This is especially important considering that even though the cranberry seed provides a much lower level of protein content than the typical source, it is one of the very few sources that can provide all 22 of the amino acids the our bodies require. In fact, it is the only plant-based source that we know of that provides all of them. Considering how important it is to choose from a wide array of sources in a plant-based protein diet to ensure adequate intake of the different amino acids, the cranberry seeds holds much promise in the future manufacturing of protein supplements.
At first glance, the cranberry protein powder might not seem to compete well against other choices when considering the amount of protein content. Soy protein and whey protein powders both typically have a fairly high percentage of protein content by weight at 90% and 80%, respectively. Even hemp protein powder contains about 50% protein. This is much higher than the cranberry protein powders which are not so rich; a serving of this supplement contains only about 25%. However, it is most often used in combination with other protein sources (hemp, rice, and pea protein being some of the healthier plant-based ones) to provide a desirable amount of healthy protein. There are many other benefits that come along with the cranberry seed protein that make it an excellent supplement.
The cranberry seed protein is especially beneficial when it comes to digestion. Unlike popular protein powders and health products that contain whey and soy protein, cranberry seed protein can help to increase the protein content with adding any of the allergenic dairy or genetically modified soy ingredients that cause digestive problems and many other undesirable side effects. The cranberry protein is high fiber, made up of as much as 20% soluble and and 40% insoluble dietary fiber. Most whey protein powders and supplements, contain very little fiber, 1 gram per serving in most cases.
One of the amazing benefits of the cranberry protein is that there is no need to take any branched chain amino acids supplements. It has a full amino acid profile, with a full serving of cranberry seed protein powder containing all 22, including the essential amino acids that our body cannot produce and must be “fed” from outside sources. While protein sources are important because they provide these amino acids, in the past only animal-based protein sources were considered complete because they provided all of the essential ones. The cranberry protein powder is one of the plant-based sources that can be considered complete as well. It is still important however, to include a wide array of protein sources to ensure intaking adequate mineral and nutrients that are provided among all different sources. Cranberry protein powders are often used in supplements derived from a combination of various protein sources, such as in Ground-Based Nutrition’s Superfood Protein, which includes healthy plant-based sources such as brown rice, pea, and sacha inchi.
These are just a few of the advantages from using a supplement that includes the cranberry seed protein powder. It also a healthy source of the essential fatty acids (EFA) and antioxidants. EFA’s, omega-3 and omega-6, are needed for normal bodily functions such as those associated with metabolism, cardiovascular health, brain development, hormone formation, and the nervous system. Typical cranberry seed protein powders can contain as much as 1% of omega-3 and 1% omega-6. These healthy fats are some of the nutrients along with its antioxidants and flavonoids that are not stripped in the typical manufacturing processes of the cranberry protein powder that do not use high heat or extraction solvents. Such flavonoids and antioxidants have been linked to the prevention and treatment of many diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
As one can see, that while the amount of protein supplied by the cranberry seed is not as high as many other common sources, it is definitely not one to be ignored. It provides many benefits that neither animal nor plant-based sources provide alone. Using the protein in combination with other healthy sources that exist can help to create a supplement that is high in protein, easy to digest, contains healthy fats, as well as disease fighting and vegan friendly.
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