Whey is a nutrient-rich byproduct of the cheese production process. And, although many people get confused, pure whey protein does NOT have casein – which has been associated with allergies. Widely known for its muscle-building capacity, the health benefits of whey protein go way beyond increased muscle strength.
In fact, a number of scientific studies clearly show that whey protein consumption is good for the kidneys, intestines, and liver – as it helps to easily nourish the body and assist in the elimination of unwanted waste products. Researchers have found that whey helps to reduce high blood pressure, protects against cancer cell growth and reduces the risks associated with inflammatory-related diseases.
6 benefits of whey protein include digestive and cardiovascular support
1. Lower blood pressure to healthy levels
A 2010 Washington State University study found that whey-based protein significantly reduces high blood pressure. Study leader Susan Fluegel praised whey protein’s absence of negative side effects and affordable cost.
In addition, other studies have found that blood pressure reductions like those seen by Fluegel can reduce the risk of heart disease and contribute to a 35 to 40% reduction in fatal strokes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 75 million Americans suffer from hypertension – but, in reality, simple changes to the diet could eliminate this threat forever.
2. Improve the cardiovascular system
Scientists suggest that whey protein works just like blood-pressure-lowering drugs, like ACE inhibitors, by inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). But, on the plus side, consuming whey protein will not produce negative side effects like pharmaceutical drugs.
Other proteins, in whey, have been shown to reduce the stickiness of blood platelets and the risk of thrombosis – which can trigger both heart attack and stroke. In addition, researchers have discovered that consuming whey protein will help to reduce excess levels of LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides – all of which is good for your cardiovascular profile.
3. Protect yourself from prostate cancer
A 2003 study conducted by Ohio State University food scientists found that human prostate cells treated with whey protein led to 64 percent higher levels of glutathione, an antioxidant known to suppress cancer-causing free radicals. And, of course, the higher your antioxidant levels – within the body – the lower your risk of inflammation and disease.
Remember, when you consume whey protein shakes or smoothies, you can avoid isolated casein – which is a cancer-causing protein found in conventional milk products.
4. Rebuild and improve your digestive system
Deficient in digestive enzymes and probiotics, the standard American diet (“SAD”) has created an enormous rise in the rates of irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, diarrhea, and constipation issues. Along with naturally-fermented foods, whey protein consumption inhibits harmful gut bacteria while supporting beneficial bacteria, regulating digestive function and reducing bloating and flatulence.
The lactic acid in whey helps to stimulate optimal intestinal function. While food fiber helps to do so “mechanically,” whey protein supports digestion and expulsion at the chemical level.
5. Improve bladder health
Whey protein stimulates urination and the release of wastes and toxins, especially if a person has been retaining water. This cleansing effect helps in healing as well as avoiding bladder infections.
According to the most recent data, urinary bladder cancer ranks tenth in worldwide cancer incidence. It is the fourth most common malignancy in men and much less in women. Naturally, to reduce your risk of cancer, a plant-based diet with whey protein (added) can help your body to eliminate harmful waste products that promote cancer cell growth.
6. Whey is a natural diuretic and supports healthy kidney function
Excess salt can cause body tissues to retain fluids – especially if it’s the denatured, processed form.
This excessive water can lead to edemas in the legs, ankles, hands, fingers, eyelids and even the organs. Whey protein is rich in potassium, which is one of salt’s natural enemies.
It can help to expel excess salt and water from the body without causing a mineral imbalance (as many chemical diuretics do.)
In addition, the kidneys are key in eliminating the body’s metabolic residues, filtering the blood and eliminating wastes via the urine. Without this process, issues such as gout can result, manifesting as acute arthritis and pain in the big toe.
Osteoarthritis, rheumatism, eczema and kidney issues can also occur from too much urea and other wastes in the body. Whey helps to transport and expel toxins via the kidneys by cleansing the renal filter and priming the whole system to work more efficiently.
A simple way to avoid chronic disease with proper nutrition
The free radical buildup in the body is connected with many chronic illnesses, from cancer to diabetes to heart disease. And, as we now know, whey protein contributes to higher levels of the antioxidant glutathione – which is known to help neutralize free radicals and reduce the chances of chronic disease.
The benefits of whey protein are augmented by the fact that it is affordable and has no harmful side effects. Whey protein is available in convenient powder form that can be easily added to smoothies or cereals.