Protein powders are well-known supplements people use to meet their daily nutritional requirements and maintain muscles. As consumers move away from filtered and refined powders, hemp protein powder has taken center stage.
This article will cover everything you need to know about vegan-friendly and natural protein powder.
What is hemp?
Hemp is a variation of Cannabis Sativa, an herbaceous flowering plant.
Unlike other varieties, hemp contains only a trace (0.3% or less) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) when dry. This is the intoxicant in marijuana. Since THC is only present in a tiny quantity, it can’t make you high.
Hemp is abundant in essential amino acids, fiber, fats, minerals, and proteins that people need. However, research is still ongoing on the percentage composition of each amino acid.
When hemp seeds are ground into fine particles, you get hemp protein powder. Therefore, the nutritional composition of hemp seeds is identical to that of powders.
Health benefits of hemp protein powder
Here are the top seven benefits of this plant-based protein:
1) Complete protein
Hemp protein is a by-product of its oil extraction process and contains all nine amino acids that the body can’t produce itself. This makes it a complete protein.
The plant-based protein also doesn’t contain dairy, lactose, or allergens. So, vegans and lactose-intolerant people can take it as a nutritional supplement with their meals.
In general, 30 grams of hemp powder contains:
- 15 grams of protein
- 120 calories
Although these figures are less than that of soy powders, the nutritional composition of powders depends on the brand.
Generally, researchers agree on hemp powder’s protein abundance. However, no conclusive research has been done on the quality and composition of these amino acids.
For example, some studies indicate it has low compositions of amino acids, especially lysine. However, others tip it to contain a similar amino acid composition as soy, which is rich in protein (up to 90%).
2) Easily digestible
Another benefit of the product is that your body uses up most of its amino acids because it is highly digestible. According to researchers, plant proteins are generally harder to digest than animal ones.
However, studies show that your body can digest up to 98% of the powders’ protein. The reports that consider the digestibility and amino acid composition of hemp protein place the protein source at the same digestible level as lentils.
Furthermore, researchers attribute this high percentage mainly due to the presence of edestin and albumin in hemp protein.
These products break down quickly when you consume them. Therefore, processing hemp protein can reduce edestin and albumin content, causing the overall digestibility to drop by up to 10%.
Hemp powders are more soluble than other plant proteins. If you want the most digestible powder, consider brands that cold-press the powder after grinding the seeds.
3) Rich in fiber
Your body needs fiber for many reasons. It helps keep your blood sugar in check for starters and reduces your chance of getting bowel complications. It is also a top requirement for healthy digestion. However, according to research, only 5% of men and women meet take at least 25 grams of fiber daily.
Hemp protein powder is a natural source of fiber, and the amount of this carbohydrate in a spoon depends on:
- Its brand
- Whether it was gotten from hulled or whole hemp seeds (those from hull seeds contain more fiber)
In general, a 30-gram serving of hemp powder provides your body with 6 to 8 grams of fiber. This is far higher than what you get in other protein-rich sources like pea and egg whites.
Fiber satiety gives the feeling of being full and reduces cravings, which helps people lose weight.
4) It has a high unsaturated fat content
Unsaturated fats help to lower your cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart diseases, and are essential for a healthy diet.
Although hemp protein powder is a by-product of hemp oil extraction, it still retains about 10-11% of these fats. Therefore, your body gets 3 to 4 grams of fat in each 30-gram cup of powder. As you would expect, this slightly pushes its calorie content.
Studies show that this plant-based protein source contains three omega-6 fatty acids for every omega-3 fatty acid. This is unlike other diets that can cause heart conditions, where the ratio is 15 to 1.
Protein powders contain more fat than other plant-based powders and should be stored in a cool place.
5) A unique earthy taste
Unlike other protein powders that have funny tastes, this plant-based protein has a nutty or earthy taste. Its color is a mixture of brown and green and feels slightly gritty when not completely refined.
Many consumers like this powder’s characteristic taste.
6) Packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants
Asides from its high protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat content, hemp protein powder contain a variety of essential minerals and antioxidants. For example, studies show that it includes calcium, manganese, zinc, magnesium, copper. It also comes packed with Vitamins D3, vitamin B, and lignanamides (an antioxidant).
At the moment, no study correlates how processing hemp seeds affects these nutrients. However, researchers are confident that minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants are present in both hulled and whole seeds used to make hemp powders.
Minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants are all vital in protecting your body from ailments and diseases.
7) Helps to fight inflammation and other skin conditions
Skin conditions like acne and eczema are challenging to treat.
Hemp is rich in gamma-linolenic acid, which helps to fight inflammation. Asides from this compound, unrefined hemp protein powders contain other CB2 activators that help to prevents inflammation like beta-caryophyllene.
What quantity of hemp protein powder should you take per day?
The amount of hemp protein powder you should take per day depends on your recommended nutritional daily intake.
According to studies, the recommended dietary allowance is 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. Therefore, a 13-year old teenager with a bodyweight of 100 pounds (45.3kg) should consume 36.24g of protein daily.
Despite this, athletes and bodybuilders require more protein to retain muscles and should consume such powders at most two hours after workouts. Therefore, the recommendation for regular exercisers is 0.64 to 0.9g of protein per pound.
On the other hand, resistance trainers are advised to take up to 1.4g of protein per day.
These numbers indicate that the recommended dosage of protein powder is five to eight spoons daily.
How to take hemp protein powder
As we mentioned earlier, hemp powder has a nutty taste. While some people mix it in a glass of water, others need more creative ways to take it.
Here are some common ways to use hemp protein powder:
- Add it to your shakes and smoothies.
- Use it to make brownies, cupcakes chocolate cookies.
- Add it to your pancake-making ingredients.
- Use it to make protein bars.
- Mix a few tablespoons of it with your spread.
- Add it to your pizza ingredients.
Are there side effects?
Despite its health benefits, it is also essential to consider the safety and side effects of these powders. Simply put, hemp protein powder is safe for virtually everyone.
Since it contains a small THC quantity, you can safely take up to 0.67 pounds of the powder and still pass a urine test or any other drug test. However, like other supplements, this plant-based protein is not without potential side effects.
Firstly, some people may experience diarrhea or bloating. This occurs when the individual takes too much protein powder quickly, forgetting that it is rich in fiber. Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. Therefore, nutritionists recommend that you only slowly increase your intake of the substance.
Reports show that hemp doesn’t contain allergens that affect people. However, your safe bet is to avoid hemp powder if you suspect you are allergic to hemp or other Cannabis Sativa varieties.
Other reports show that the powder could be harmful to pregnant animals and those with low immunity. However, the results of these studies have not entirely been conclusive.
The benefits of hemp protein outweigh its risks and side effects.
Hemp is a sustainable crop to grow in Australia. While researchers and nutritionists continue to uncover its numerous applications daily, an excellent way to use its seeds is to make protein powders.
Hemp powder is a complete protein that’s rich in minerals, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats. It is a safe source for vegans and lactose-intolerant individuals, and you can use it in many ways.
People who need a nutrient-packed supplement will find it useful.