What Is Hemp Protein Powder?
Hemp is a distinct variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, which can be grown to maximize the fibers in the stalk of the plant or seed production. Hemp has barely or even no measurable levels of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid most known for its psychoactive properties.
THC has been researched extensively, and science has shown us that when it’s not smoked, it has substantial health benefits with veritably no side effects. Hemp typically contains about 0.3 percent to 1.5 percent THC, whereas marijuana contains about 5 percent to 10 percent or more THC. So don’t worry — eating hemp certainly will not get you high. Hemp consumption is safe, healthy and legal.
Hemp protein powder and hemp seed oil are both made from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp protein powder is easy on the taste buds with a faintly nutty flavor.
Hemp seeds are a powerhouse when it comes to protein with at least 20 amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine). Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins, and together, amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of the human body.
Hemp protein provides the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 in a healthy 3:1 ratio. Hemp is also one of the few sources of the hard-to-get gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a healthy, plant-derived omega-6 metabolized differently than other less healthy omega-6s. GLA-rich foods like hemp seeds have been observed to help people with:
- Breast pain
- Diabetes and diabetic neuropathy
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Multiple sclerosis
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Skin allergies
Hemp Protein Powder Nutrition Profile
Hemp protein powder is made from hemp seeds, which provide a solid nutritional boost similar to flaxseeds. Hemp protein powder packs a health punch of dietary fiber, chlorophyll, minerals and antioxidants without any saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium or sugar.
A serving — about 4 tablespoons (30 grams) — of an organic, high-quality hemp protein powder contains about (2):
11 grams carbohydrates
12 grams protein
3 grams fat
5 grams fiber
260 milligrams magnesium (65 percent DV)
6.3 milligrams iron (35 percent DV)
380 milligrams potassium (11 percent DV)
60 milligrams calcium (6 percent DV)
6 Health Benefits of Hemp Protein Powder
Whether you’re a training athlete, a moderate exerciser or not currently very physically active, there is a wide range of hemp protein powder benefits making it a good choice for just about anyone, including the following.
1. Increases Protein Intake
First and foremost, by consuming hemp protein powder regularly you directly and easily increase your overall protein intake. Why is protein so important? In your body, proteins actually make up the vital organs, muscles, tissues and even some hormones. Proteins also develop, grow and maintain just about every part of you. In addition, they boost metabolism and increase your fat-burning potential. (3)
Without proper daily protein intake, it’s common to find yourself struggling to lose weight, fighting fatigue, suffering from mood swings and many other health issues. As a high-protein source, hemp protein powder helps prevent protein deficiency and get the protein you need.
2. Improves Heart Health
Hemp seeds have an ideal 3:1 balance of omega-3 fatty acids vs. omega-6 fatty acids, which promotes cardiovascular health. More specifically, hemp protein powder contains linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that some studies suggest helps prevent coronary heart disease. (4)
Hemp seeds are also heart-healthy, high-fiber foods. I recommend adding hemp protein powder to a morning smoothie to naturally lower blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol and improve triglycerides.
3. Decreases Osteoporosis Risk
Hemp is naturally high in the essential omega-6 fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Some studies suggest that people who do not get enough essential fatty acids — especially GLA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — are more likely to have bone loss than those with normal levels of these fatty acids.
In a study of women over 65 with osteoporosis, those who took GLA and EPA supplements had less bone loss over three years than those who took a placebo. Many of the women studied also experienced an increase in bone density. (5) That’s why you should add hemp protein powder to your osteoporosis diet.
4. Cleanses the Colon
Hemp protein powder is rich in soluble and unsoluble fiber. Both forms of fiber naturally cleanse the colon, reducing constipation and toxins in the body. Some studies even suggest that fiber protects against the development of colorectal cancer.
Adding fiber to your diet in the form of hemp protein powder can also lower your risk for hemorrhoids, diarrhea and diverticulosis. (6)
5. Reduces Sugar Cravings
The high nutrient content of hemp protein powder makes it a perfect ally in the fight against the craving for unhealthy sweets. Hemp seed food products offer a healthy dose of dietary fiber, which helps regulate blood glucose. When you keep your glucose levels steady, you’re much less likely to experience energy crashes and aren’t as likely to crave sugar to fill the void.
6. Boosts the Immune System
By consuming hemp protein powder, you can easily give your immune system a boost! Hemp seeds contain the globular plant proteins edestin (65 percent to 67 percent) and albumin (33 percent to 35 percent). These globular proteins are responsible for enzymatic functions in the blood plasma along with antibody formation, making them critical for strong immune function.
Edestin is considered the most easily digestible protein and is very similar to protein in the human body. Hemp contains the highest known levels of edestin in the plant kingdom, making it a superior source of protein. Albumin is another highly digestible, high-quality source of plant protein. Hemp seeds are also free of trypsin inhibitors and oligosaccharides, two things that negatively affect the absorption and digestibility of other plant sources of protein. (7)
Hemp Protein Powder Takeaways
- Hemp seeds are one of nature’s best sources for plant-based protein.
- Hemp protein powder has 20 amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids that your body is unable to produce on its own and must obtain from dietary sources.
- THC has substantial health benefits with veritably no side effects when not smoked.
- Hemp consumption is safe, healthy and legal — and it won’t get you high.
- Hemp protein powder increases protein intake, improves heart health, decreases osteoporosis risk, cleanses the colon, reduces sugar cravings and boosts the immune system.
How to Use Hemp Protein Powder
On average, a person needs about half of his or her body weight in protein each day. The ratio is even higher if you’re an athlete. By including hemp protein in your diet, you can easily meet your daily protein needs.
Look for a hemp protein powder that only has one ingredient: hemp protein. You don’t want any added hexane, dairy, lactose or sweeteners. The typical recommendation for hemp protein powder is one to four tablespoons per day.
You can use hemp protein just like you use any other protein powder. Add it to a smoothie or shake for breakfast or a pre- or post-workout protein boost. You can also simply blend hemp protein powder with your favorite milk.
You can also try adding hemp protein powder to hot cereal, yogurt, pancakes, granola bars, protein bars, muffins, brownies, cakes and breads. You can use hemp protein to replace up to 25 percent of the flour in baked goods, which adds protein, fiber, healthy fats and lots of nutrients to your finished product!