Whey is a great source of minerals and digestive bacteria. It is great for fermenting vegetables and for recipes such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and beet kvass. You can also drink it when you have an upset stomach. Whey protein and products provide real benefits for people that are seeking muscle growth, fat loss and high quality nutrition. There are many bioactive components derived from whey that have specific health benefits. These compounds modulate adiposity (the activation of fat under the skin and the surrounding organs that provides energy), enhance immune function, and promote anti-oxidant activity.
Whey protein is a naturally complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids required in the daily diet. It is also a rich source of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), with the highest levels of any natural food source. BCAAs are important as, unlike other amino acids, they are metabolised directly into muscle tissue. Whey protein is also an excellent source of leucine, which is important as it plays a key role in promoting muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth. Whey protein is also a soluble, easy to digest protein and it is efficiently absorbed into the body. It also helps to maintain a healthy immune system as it increases the levels of glutathione in the body. Glutathione is an antioxidant required for a healthy immune system.
Adding whey protein to your diet can be a key element in a weight management program as the body needs more energy to digest protein than it does other foods, meaning that you burn more calories after a protein-based meal. In its pure form, whey protein contains little fat or carbohydrates. It slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and reduces hunger by lowering insulin levels, thus making it easier for the body to burn fat. Whey protein also contains bioactive components that help stimulate the release of certain appetite-suppressing hormones. Whey protein has a greater impact on satiety or “feeling full” than casein, the other protein in milk.
Type 2 diabetes is a growing health problem, largely because of the continuing rise in obesity levels. Healthy nutrition, however, can help to manage and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes. Whey protein is a good choice for those diabetics that need to carefully watch what they eat as it is a better choice than lower quality proteins that may be higher in fat and cholesterol. It also helps to control blood glucose levels and is good for weight management, both of which are important for type 2 diabetics.
A good diet along with adequate amounts of whey protein can help to maintain strong muscles throughout the ageing process, especially when combined with exercise and resistance training. Whey protein also helps to prevent bone loss.
When healing wounds, the body requires greater amounts of protein. Protein and its amino acids are the building blocks that begin the growth of new skin during the healing process. Inadequate or poor quality proteins can delay the healing process. Whey protein contains components that have protective antimicrobial properties, such as lactoferrin. There are now mouthwashes and oral care products that use these protective whey protein components, for use by diabetics and those that are sensitive to oral irritations.
Whey is a byproduct of cheese making and it contains protein, lactose, mineral, vitamins, and traces of milk fat. The composition of the whey product will vary according to the milk source, the type of cheese and the manufacturing process. The two types of whey are sweet whey and acid whey.
Fresh pasteurised liquid whey is rarely used for foods but it is concentrated by evaporation, reverse osmosis, or ultra-filtration to condensed products, or maximally concentrated by drying. Whey powder, whey protein concentrates, whey protein isolates, reduced-lactose whey, and demineralised whey are all produced.
You can find whey products in bars, ready to drink shakes, cakes, and in all good health food stores.