Nutritional shakes and protein powders are all the rage, but there’s a lot you should know before you buy.
Moreover, if you choose wisely, a nutritional shake can be a great way to:
- Recover from hard workouts
- Enhance sports performance
- Lose weight
- Control appetite
- Build muscle mass
- Improve overall wellness
Most are loaded with beneficial amino acids and other important nutrients, but some can be inflammatory.
Here’s what to look for in a nutritional shake:
What Is a Nutritional Shake?
A nutritional shake is any drinkable food product that can supplement meals.
It’s an easy way to get your protein requirements on-the-go.
Anti-inflammatory Nutritional Shake Powders
Most nutritional shake powders contain too much sugar and have too many inflammatory ingredients.
However, there are a couple of rock-solid options.
Here they are:
Collagen Protein Powder
Collagen is a type of protein that the body uses to repair soft tissues.
For example, collagen powder can stimulate muscle growth after exercise.
It’s especially important as you age.
For example, a 2015 study found that men over the age of 65 who take collagen experience less muscle loss. (1)
Plus, collagen gives structure and stability to the joints, muscles, ligaments, and the lining of the gut.
If you have digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), collagen can be a lifesaver.
Bone Broth Protein Powder
Bone broth powder is a nutritional shake supplement that offers all the benefits of bone broth in an easy-to-take supplement.
It’s known to boost immunity, improve digestion, and support skin and joint health.
Bone broth powder is made by slowly cooking chicken or beef bones, ligaments, and tendons.
However, beef-sourced bone broth powder, like our Clinical Paleo Protein, tends to be less inflammatory.
In addition to collagen, beef bone broth powder contains:
- Hyaluronic acid
According to recent studies, bone broth protein may help with weight loss by suppressing appetite. (2)
At the same time, chondroitin and glucosamine may reduce arthritis. (3)
Powdered Proteins to Avoid
If you can help it, avoid nutritional shake powders made from dairy and soy.
Overall, they tend to be pro-inflammatory and can contribute to hormone imbalances.
- Whey protein and casein are made from cow’s milk and may trigger inflammation in sensitive individuals.
- Soy protein is highly processed and can interfere with testosterone and estrogen levels.
- Pea protein can be inflammatory because it contains a compound called lectins that irritates the gut lining.
Finding the Right Nutritional Shake Powder for You
Whether you want to lose weight, control appetite, or build muscle, there’s a perfect nutritional shake powder out there for you.
As always, dietary restrictions can play a role.
Here are some basic guidelines for matching a nutritional shake powder to your needs:
- Weight loss: Do your best to avoid nutritional shake powders containing sugars and sweeteners. Watch out for ingredients like dextrins and maltodextrins.
- Build muscle: For muscle growth, choose a powder with the highest protein and BCAA content possible.
- Gut health issues: Got a sensitive tummy? Avoid powders containing lactose sugars, sweeteners, dextrins, and gluten.
- Diabetes: Individuals at risk for diabetes should avoid added sugar at all costs. Try to keep your intake below 5 grams per serving.
Although the ideal dose is different for everyone, aim for roughly 20 grams of protein per serving.
How to Take a Nutritional Shake for the Best Results
When is the best time to drink your nutritional shake?
The best time to take it is immediately after you exercise.
Right after a workout is when the muscles need amino acids to help repair and rebuild.
Your body will be less sore and you’ll bounce back faster.
Make Your Nutritional Shake Delicious
Now for the important part: making your nutritional shake delicious!
Each protein powder has a unique taste.
Some are tastier than others, but they can all get a flavor boost with the right ingredients.
Here are a few of the best nutritional shake ingredients:
- Raw honey
- Cocoa powder
- Vanilla extract
- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Almond butter
Coconut milk and almond butter contain healthy fats and add a creamy texture.
At the same time, a teaspoon or two of raw honey is great for immunity.
Plus, berries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants.
Risks of Nutritional Shakes
Beware of “nutritional shakes” that are actually junk food.
Some have very few nutrients and actually contain a ton of sugar and additives.
Sugar destroys good gut bacteria, promotes obesity, and contributes to a long list of health issues.
In a nutshell, if you can’t find a low-sugar option, avoid nutritional shakes altogether.
Check with your doctor if you have a history of digestive problems.
Certain protein powders can trigger inflammation, cramps, and bloating.
If you have any more questions about finding the best nutritional shake for you, feel free to contact us at Complete Care Health Centers.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.