With the rise of health and fitness awareness, along with the consumer shift away from animal products,  the demand for plant-based products is booming. Vegan or not, everyone seems to be gravitating toward cleaner alternatives, especially when it comes to vegan protein powders. But with so many new products to choose from, it can be difficult to determine the most effective product.

To help you with those vegan gains, here are the five most optimal sources of vegan protein powder, straight from the experts.

Nutritionists Say These 5 Vegan Protein Powders are Optimal

1. Pea

Peas, especially pea protein, is ‘hot’ right now. Unlike the muddy green color one may imagine, pea protein is actually cream-colored, because it is derived from golden peas. Pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, which means there is no need to combine with another protein source to effectively build, repair and maintain muscle. New York-based nutritionist and exercise physiologist, Priya Khorana, says this is one of the “best plant-based forms of protein”.

Find Naked pea protein powder here.

2. Hemp

Hemp could be considered one of the largest growing industries in the plant-based market. Hemp powder, in particular, is derived from hemp seeds (also called hemp hearts). This protein powder is packed with omega 3-fatty acids and tons of fiber, making it a highly digestible food. Opt for hemp-based protein to fuel your next workout, advised Khorana, and you won’t run into stomach issues while exercising.

Find Nutiva hemp protein powder here.

3. Brown Rice

Brown rice protein powder is perfect for those looking to avoid common allergens, like whey and soy.   Brown rice has more nutrients and protein than white rice, and it is full of B vitamins which contribute to the muscles’ ability to convert fuel into muscle tissue. However, since brown rice does not contain all nine essential amino acids, Khorana advised to pair it with another protein source, such as quinoa or beans.

Find Source Naturals brown rice protein powder here.

4. Soy

While there is some miscommunication in regards to the health effects of soy – this bean is a complete protein and packed with beneficial nutrients. Soy contains fiber, isoflavones, and essential amino acids that build, repair and maintain muscle. Additionally, soy is an excellent source of plant-based calcium, iron, omega 3-fatty acids, and potassium. Khorana says soy protein powder is “easily digestible and has a palate-pleasing smooth consistency when added to foods and shakes”. 

Find Bob’s Red Mill soy protein powder here.

5. Combination Blends

Blends consisting of multiple plant-based proteins are considered the most effective at building and maintaining muscle, because of their diversity in essential amino acids. The best blends should create a complete protein source. Further, a combination product allows consumers to find a blend that works best for their bodies, taste buds and athletic goals.

Find Vega all-in-one protein powder blend here.