Flower Power

Sunflower protein powder supplies plenty of muscle-building amino acids.

May/June 2017

by Lisa James


Once upon a time, fitness enthusiasts who wanted to build muscle mass had limited options when it came to protein powders. Today, new plant-based sources offer discerning bodybuilders a wider variety of choices, including lifters who favor a vegetarian or vegan approach to eating and those who try to eat a low-glycemic diet, one meant to avoid sharp swings in blood sugar.

One of these new clean-and-green proteins is taken from sunflower seeds. It is particularly helpful for creating a sculpted look because it contains a trio of substances called branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

Making Muscle

Weight lifting doesn’t build muscles directly. Instead, it creates a state in which tissue suffers tiny areas of damage known as microtears. During the recovery period between training sessions, your body responds by fixing the microtears—and creating even more muscle tissue in the process.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, the stuff muscles are made of. The BCAAs are three amino acids—isoleucine, leucine and valine—that are particularly suitable for muscle building. In fact, among all the amino acids, leucine is the single biggest driver of protein synthesis.

BCAAs are even more important if you’re trying to get lean while adding mass. That’s because the leaner you become, the more your body will want to break down muscle for energy. And as you eat less, protein creation will slow down. BCAAs can counteract this effect, increasing the rate at which protein is created while reducing the rate of protein breakdown.

The need to generate mass isn’t limited to bodybuilders. Older people are subject to sarcopenia, or muscle loss that comes with the aging process; BCAAs can help retard sarcopenia.

In addition, these crucial amino acids have been found to help improve blood glucose levels (Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology 1/23/17). BCAAs also support nitric oxide production, which is crucial for cardiovascular, brain and reproductive health.

What’s more, everyone needs protein to support energy production and to build hormones, enzymes (which help your cells do just about everything) and chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters.

Organic Advantages

Just deciding to go with sunflower protein isn’t enough: You need to make sure the product you select is as clean as possible.

What you want is a protein that is certified USDA Organic, without synthetic pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and certified to be free of materials associated with genetically modified organisms. High-quality sunflower protein powders will be free of gluten and produced without any yeast or yeast byproducts. And your protein should be guaranteed to be free from all of the major allergens identified in the US Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.

One thing you do want in a protein powder is a blend of enzymes such as bromelain and papain. These enzymes help break down plant fiber and other constituents to ensure maximum bioavailability.

Even if you aren’t a bodybuilder, strong muscles can help you live a healthier, more mobile life. Sunflower protein can help you get there.

Search our articles:

ad

ad

adad

ad

ad
ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad

ad