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What are protein shakes used for?

Enter any gym or nutrition store and you are likely to be confronted with a startling array of protein related supplements. Unmistakable amongst the array of protein bars parading as chocolate are the tubs of protein powders, the chief ingredient in the increasingly fashionable ‘Protein Shake' : What are shakes used for and what are their benefits?

The basics

Protein is essential for a healthy body. It enables us to resist disease by forming antibodies; it transports nutrients around the body and enables us to grow fresh tissue such as hair, nails and muscle. You can obtain sufficient protein by maintaining a healthy diet, but if you want to support additional growth, such as building muscle, then you need to consume more protein at the right times. The most effective way to achieve this is through the consumption of a protein shake.

The benefits

Regardless of your exercise discipline, protein shakes can be used to support your goals due to delivering the following benefits: - Building muscle mass / size (e.g: for body building) - Repairing damaged muscle / injuries sustained during exercise (body building / athletics) - An increased metabolic rate (increased fat burning) Bearing in mind that you are recommended to consume protein within an hour after exercise, the most expedient and practical way to do this is through a protein shake. The consumption of protein shakes is not limited to gym addicts however, with vegans and vegetarians using shakes to provide the protein missing from alternative diets.

Types of shakes

Protein shakes come in many different varieties, enabling consumers to pick the best protein type to support their aims. Three of the main protein powder types are: Whey: Absorbed quickly into the body, used best as a post-workout shake. Low in carbohydrates. Casein: Absorbed and expelled slowly, increases muscle retention. Better quality source of protein than soy. Soy: Plant-based, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, reduces cholesterol levels.

Getting the shakes

It's really very simple. In order to prepare a protein shake, all you need is 1. A shaker (available in a variety of colours and styles)
2. Protein powder
3. Milk or water to mix (milk promotes a slower release of protein into the body)
4. The ability to violently shake your container Shakers and powders can be obtained from health food stores, larger gyms or from the increasing number of online protein shops. Online stores often provide discount deals when buying bulk protein and regularly offer free delivery. Depending on your tastes, powders can be bought plain or flavoured (strawberry and chocolate are two of the most common available flavours). The added appeal of the protein shake is that it can be customised with fruit or nuts.

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