Whey is not some high-tech, glamorous product which was recently discovered. Whey is the translucent liquid which separates from the curd when milk coagulates in the process of cheese-making. Many years ago, whey was praised as an elixir.
However, more recently it has been discarded as waste. But savvy farmers knew it would benefit young animals and often utilized it in the feed. When researchers started to explore health benefits of consuming whey powder, they discovered that it is naturally high in protein. Before whey powder, the most popular sources of protein were lean cuts of meat, oats, legumes, fish and egg whites.
Some protein powders used egg whites, but it has been discovered that whey powder is far superior. Whey powder could be one of the best and the most effective methods of preserving your health. It is proven that it is one of the best supplements to help treat and prevent everything from diabetes to cancer. Here is our list of other health benefits of whey and why you should add it to your diet.
Antimicrobial and antiviral benefits
A few components of whey, such as glycomacropeptides, lactoperoxidase, sphingolipids, lactoferricin, lactoferrin, and immunoglobulins, can inhibit the growth of a wide range of fungi, yeast, bacteria, and protozoa. For example, lactoferrin has been shown to stop the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli, two pathogens commonly associated with food poisoning.
Immune system enhancement benefits
The level of glutathione in the body is a good indicator of overall health as well as the ability of the immune system to fight off disease and counter the effects of aging. Whey contains high amounts of sulfur-containing amino acids which are required for the biosynthesis of glutathione.
And many studies have been shown that a person can effectively raise the glutathione levels through the consumption of whey protein. Several components in whey protein work together in order to improve immunity. The regular consumption of whey protein can help keep body prepared to ward off everything from the cold to cancer.
Many studies have shown that a diet supplemented with whey protein provides protection against cancers of the colon, bladder, lung, breast, esophagus, and liver. However, these studies have been performed using laboratory animals. It appears that the earlier the whey protein is consumed, the greater the protective effects might be.
Whey protein addresses many of the problems which are associated with cardiovascular disease, and it is not associated with any side effects common to heart medications. Whey proteins inhibit the ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme). A combination of components in whey powder provides the vascular relaxation and this blood pressure lowering benefit, without the side effects of drugs.
Stress reduction benefits
In one study, researchers gave subjects the whey protein alpha-lactalbumin. As a result, the levels of cortisol were reduced. Cortisol is a hormone commonly associated with unresolved stress. Subjects also experienced less depression and an improved ability to deal with everyday activities.
The report of the study showed that whey protein increased the availability of tryptophan in the brain, which increases the brain’s synthesis of serotonin. The added serotonin promotes an ability to handle stress and a calmer mood.
Whey contains a protein called lactoferrin, in addition to minerals required for bone growth. This protein is associated with a wide range of benefits including wound healing, infection fighting, cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory action, and immune support. In addition, one study has shown that lactoferrin is able to increase the production of new bone, which could have a huge impact on the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.
Whey protein’s lactoferrin fraction binds with iron. This combination provides a stable method of iron transport. In addition, it lessens the amount of free iron in the system which may trigger oxidative reactions. This is important because excess free iron can accelerate heart disease and cause other problems.
Whey protein, in an indirect way, helps reduce the overall need for antioxidants in your body. Many immunoglobulins, enzymes, and other factors reduce the oxidative burden by destroying pathogens and reducing inflammation. As a result, the added protection helps your immune system maintain higher reserves which can be used when necessary.
Obesity and weight control benefits
Whey protein is unique and can help the underweight gain pounds in the form of lean muscle and can help the overweight lose excess fat. The people who drink a whey protein shake in the morning feel fuller during a day. Whey protein has the unique chain of 64 amino acids called glycomacropeptides which perform many functions, just one of which is to help regulate appetite.
Whey fits the bill as an excellent low-carb, low-fat source of nutritional protein. As a protein powder, whey can be added to a filling, satisfying meal replacement drink which is great for weight-loss and muscle enhancing programs.