The hemp plant has long been misunderstood and unduly controversial, mainly it is often confused with marijuana, the largely illegal plant that is used for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Although hemp is also a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant, it is grown for agricultural and industrial purposes. Hemp only contains very small levels of THC, the cannabinoid in cannabis that brings the high feeling, so it is not nearly enough to provide psychoactive effects. Hemp is also legal in most jurisdictions, unlike marijuana.
The hemp plant was first grown for textile production, pottery decoration and making ropes and footwear. Hemp was also seen as a source of food . However, as more scientific studies were conducted, people realized that hemp had numerous benefits and its use became widespread. The uses for hemp keep growing today.
Numerous studies are now being conducted to see how effective cannabidiol (CBD) (another cannabinoid found in the hemp plant) may be in alleviating pain and inflammation associated with various diseases. As people begin to shake off their misconceptions about hemp, the use of hemp protein powder is on the rise.
Protein powders are often used as a nutritional supplement by bodybuilders, athletes, and those trying to increase their muscle mass or gain weight. While there are a wide variety of protein powders in the market, hemp protein powder is gaining in popularity because it is plant-based and 100% vegan. Pressed hemp seeds are ground into a fine powder to make hemp protein powder. The nutty, earthy taste makes hemp protein perfect for use as an additive in foods, protein shakes, or smoothies because it won’t outshine the original flavor of the food or drink.
Reasons to Incorporate Hemp Protein Powder in Your Diet
Following are just some of the reasons why hemp protein powder is very popular, and why you should consider including it in your diet:
Hemp protein can be easily digested
Generally, animal proteins are recommended over plant proteins because the digestive system can digest animal proteins easier. However, research has shown that up to 98% of hemp protein is digestible because it contains the proteins edestin and albumin, which the body finds quite easy to break down. Some non-hemp protein products also contain trypsin inhibitors, which hinder the digestion and absorption of proteins in the stomach and small intestines. Hemp protein does not contain trypsin inhibitors, which makes it a good choice for those with related digestive issues, or who just want to go vegan.
Hemp has very high protein content
Just 30 grams of hemp protein powder can provide 12-15 grams of protein, making it easier to consume a high amount of protein in a drink or a plate of food by using it as an additive. Furthermore, hemp protein contains all nine essential amino acids:
Even though hemp protein contains low levels of lysine and leucine, it makes up for it by having high levels of tyrosine. Tyrosine has been stated to help in improving cognition, especially in stressful situations. Hemp protein also contains arginine, which may boost blood flow.
Hemp protein contains high levels of healthy unsaturated fats
Hemp protein powder goes through a much simpler refinery process compared to other protein products, and contains more healthy fats, which makes it easier to incorporate heart-healthy fats into your diet.
For people who don’t enjoy fish, hemp protein powder is a good way to get Omega-3 fatty acids because the hemp plant has a high stearidonic acid content. Hemp protein powder also contains omega-6 fatty acids. The ratio of the omega-6 fatty acids to that of omega-3 fatty acids in a hemp protein powder is 3:1, which health experts consider ideal for a healthy heart.
Hemp is a source of both soluble and insoluble fibers
Nutritionists have suggested that people, on average, should consume about 25 grams of fiber each day. A single serving of hemp protein powder contains about 10 grams of fiber, or almost half of the daily recommended intake.
The fibers found in a hemp protein powder consists of both soluble and insoluble fibers. The insoluble fiber helps the intestinal tract to pass waste. Soluble fiber provides the digestive system with beneficial bacteria which also helps in regulating blood sugar.
Hemp protein powder is rich in minerals and antioxidants
The body needs protection against oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is linked to various chronic illnesses, including heart diseases and diabetes. Antioxidants provide the body with such protection. Lignanamides in hemp seeds are known to have strong antioxidant properties which are just what the body needs.
Hemp seeds are also rich in minerals, which include the following:
These minerals help fight free radicals and to prevent oxidative stress. According to nutritionists, you will receive about 52% and 80% of the recommended daily intake of iron and magnesium respectively when you consume one serving of hemp protein powder.
Hemp Seed Nutrition
Hemp seeds provide a similar nutritional boost to flaxseeds. Hemp seeds contain proper dietary fibers, minerals, chlorophyll, and antioxidants without any trace of sugar, saturated fats, cholesterol, or sodium. A single serving (about 30 grams) of hemp protein powder contains the following:
12-15 grams of protein
11 grams of carbohydrates
5 grams of both soluble and insoluble fibers
3 grams of unsaturated fats
260 milligrams of magnesium
60 milligrams of calcium
380 milligrams of potassium
6.3 milligrams of iron
If you are looking for a healthy source of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E, hemp seed nutrition is an excellent choice You can use a food processor or a mortar and pestle to remove the hard outer shells of the hemp seeds before grinding or splitting the seeds. Following are a few tips on how you can add hemp seeds into your diet:
Sprinkle ground hemp seeds on your yogurt or cereal.
Add hemp seeds to your smoothie when blending or stir into it after blending.
Sprinkle the seeds on a salad.
Grind hemp seeds and bake them into your cookies and other edibles.
Use whole seeds to make hemp milk.
Benefits of Hemp Protein Powder
Reduce skin irritation in people suffering from eczema
Eczema is a skin condition in which parts of the skin become inflamed, cracked, red, itchy, and rough with the occasional occurrence of blisters. While some people outgrow it, others carry it through adulthood. There is no known cure for eczema, and treatment is usually only intended to help manage the symptoms.
Research has been conducted to find how effective hemp protein may be in reducing the drying and cracking of the skin of people with eczema. It is believed that the fatty acids in the hemp proteins may help in moisturizing the skin and reduce dryness.
Increase and sustain your energy levels
Fatty acids are a better source of energy the carbohydrates, and you will receive all the essential fatty acids your body needs to generate energy from consuming hemp protein powders. Furthermore, proteins take longer to be broken down in the digestive system. Your body will, therefore, experience a slower and more consistent release of energy.
Hemp protein powder contains an ideal ratio of fatty acids and antioxidants, and is therefore believed to be a potential solution for inflammation. Researchers are exploring whether the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) protein found in the hemp plant could help in reducing arthritis symptoms. Results have been promising so far and indicate that GLA may help in reducing chronic inflammation by countering pro-inflammatory molecules in the body.
Help in muscle repair
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts regularly take protein powders in order to restore their lean muscle tissue because proteins help in building muscles. However, many people are allergic to ingredients found in some protein products such as gluten, soy, or egg-based protein products. An excellent alternative for people with such sensitivities is hemp protein powder.
Manage cravings and aid in weight loss
Hemp protein powder helps in regulating blood sugars and therefore minimizes cravings caused by fluctuations in blood sugars. Its fiber-rich content also helps make you feel full for an extended period of time and reduce instances of impulsive eating.
Promote good hair health
The omega fatty acids in hemp protein powder help promote healthy hair. The omega-3 fatty acids add sheen and luster to your hair and help minimize hair loss. The combination of the essential fatty acids and vitamin E found in hemp protein helps soothe an irritating dry or itchy scalp, and improves the overall health of the skin.
Reduce the chances of suffering from osteoporosis
As we grow older, our bones go through a process known as remodeling. Some bone cells go through resorption (the bone matrix starts to dissolve) while new bone cells undergo formation (depositing of osteoid). Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone resorption takes place faster than bone formation and the patient loses bones faster than the body replaces them. The bones become brittle, porous, and easily prone to fracture. The fractures mostly affect the spine, hips, and wrists.
People over the age of fifty, especially women, are at greater risk of suffering from osteoporosis. Most victims fail to diagnose the condition early enough and only realize they are suffering from it after breaking a bone. Although there are many factors that can lead to osteoporosis, health scientists pinpoint a deficit in essential fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and GLA as a major contributor. Hemp protein powder may help in correcting the deficit of the fatty acids in the body.
Improve the rate of metabolism
Nutritionists recommend consuming a certain amount of protein each day, as doing so helps improve the rate of metabolism. Higher metabolism helps in burning calories faster and therefore helps in weight management. Hemp protein powder contains omega and protein content that helps lower the glycemic index and, by extension, increases the rate of metabolism.
Regulate the levels of cholesterol
Hemp protein powder is not only cholesterol-free, but also enables the body to obtain healthy fats that it cannot produce on its own. The fatty acids found in hemp protein powder helps lower the levels of unhealthy fats found in the body. Additionally, they help arteries stay healthy by decreasing the build-up of plaque.
Side Effects of Hemp Protein Powders
Generally, hemp protein powder is safe for consumption by most people. However, some people experience side effects when they take hemp protein powders. Here are potential side effects you might experience when using hemp protein powders:
Hemp protein powders are very rich in fiber. When you consume too much hemp protein powder within a short period of time, you might experience bloating, stomach gas, or diarrhea.
People who are allergic to the hemp plant could experience allergic reactions when they consume hemp protein powder.
Studies are still being conducted to determine whether hemp proteins could be unsafe for anemia patients, as well as pregnant or lactating mothers.
The hemp plant contains very little THC: the compound in marijuana that brings the high feeling. However, there are fears that consuming hemp products before a drug test could result in users being red-flagged for THC being present in urine. Although further studies are being done to confirm whether this is a valid concern, initial studies show that this is very unlikely.
5 Factors to Consider When Buying Hemp Protein Powder
Hemp protein powder is gaining popularity, especially among vegans. Besides the protein intake, it offers other nutritional content that is beneficial to one’s well-being. If you are considering buying hemp protein powder, here are five factors to consider:
#1 Pay attention to the protein content
Different brands have varying levels of hemp protein content, which usually range from 10 gram to 20 grams per serving. Some hemp protein powders contain higher levels of fibers and therefore have lower levels of proteins. Flavored hemp protein powders also contain low levels of proteins. Always check the labeling and enquire when you are not sure.
#2 The type of flavoring you want
Unlike whey proteins, hemp protein powder offers a wide variety of flavors, including the original flavor without any additives. The original hemp protein powder has a nutty, earthy flavor. You may need some time to get used to the flavor, but other options are available if you need them.
#3 Always go for organic
The best hemp protein powders are natural and organic, and fortunately most brands are going this way. However, the remaining non-organic producers may still produce non-GMO, non-irradiated, chemical-free hemp protein powder without any artificial ingredients.
#4 Factor in the price
Expensive doesn’t always translate to a superior product. You may, however, still want to consider the pricing of the hemp protein powder you are considering. The price will depend on several factors such as the size of the package, the brand, the flavor, and the protein content.
#5 Don’t ignore reviews
Unless you are the very first buyer, it would be prudent to look at reviews from customers who have already tried the product. This is especially important for online shoppers. Online reviews, while not always being completely accurate and reliable, can give you an idea of what to expect of the product.
Hemp protein powder is considered a complete protein that contains minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and unsaturated fats that are healthy for the heart. If you are looking to go vegan while still maintaining your protein intake without any complications, you should consider hemp protein powder.