Many people are touting hemp seeds for its rich nutritional profile, with some even considering it a superfood. What’s more, they are also one of the best sources of a plant-based protein.
Commonly used as a nutritional supplement, protein powders are popular among bodybuilders, athletes, and those looking to improve their muscle mass or gain weight.
Hemp protein powder, which is made by grinding hemp seeds, is one of the more known varieties. This supplement has been linked to tons of incredible health perks including increased energy levels, and improved digestion.
So, if you’re curious to find out whether or not you should include hemp protein to your diet, read on.
Find out how it can help protect your heart health, reduce inflammation, prevent cognitive decline, enhance skin conditions, and more in this article!
What is Hemp?
Hemp or industrial hemp is one of the varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant species. Specifically cultivated for its edible seeds and fiber, hemp is sometimes confused with cannabis as a drug, particularly marijuana and hashish.
While all three (hemp, marijuana, and hashish) contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal constituent responsible for most of marijuana’s psychoactive effects, hemp only has small amounts of THC.
Some countries permit the cultivation of hemp while others regulate its THC concentration and only allow hemp that is bred with low THC content.
Among the largest producers of hemp include China, Canada, and Europe. Globally, China is the largest exporter of hemp paper and textiles.
Hemp: Nutrition Facts
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database, hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein, and mineral-electrolytes phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, and folate.
It also contains fiber, calcium, zinc, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, and vitamin E, and are super dense in healthy fats.
Hemp also provides all nine essential amino acids. It is particularly rich in an amino acid known as arginine, which is beneficial for heart health.
What are the Health Benefits of Hemp Protein?
Hemp protein, which usually comes in powdered form, is made from hemp seeds, which are rich in essential fats, vitamins, and minerals that offer incredible health perks.
These amazing health benefits can favor just about anyone, but most especially athletes and those with an active lifestyle. Here are some of the health rewards of adding hemp protein to your regular nutrition:
It boosts your protein intake
Adding hemp protein to your diet can easily boost your overall protein intake, which is essential for the optimum functioning of your tissues, organs, muscles, and certain hormones.
Protein, an important nutrient for the body, also plays a crucial role in the development, growth, and maintenance of bones, skin, and hair.
It helps repair muscles
Protein powders are popular among athletes and bodybuilders because it also helps in muscle repair.
Not a lot of people know, though, that hemp is a complete protein source, packed with all essential amino acids that aid in muscle and tissue repair.
Even better, it supplies the body with sufficient protein without adversely affecting those with sensitivities to gluten, egg, dairy, and soy.
It improves your immunity
Incorporating hemp protein into your regular nutrition is also a simple yet effective way to boost your immunity.
Aside from vital nutrients, hemp seeds also have globular plant proteins edestin and albumin, which play a role in enzymatic functions, helping to support a healthy immune system.
It boosts energy levels
Feeling sluggish? It may be a good idea to swap your caffeine fix with hemp protein.
Hemp protein is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, which are crucial for energy production, and other important functions such as cell membrane synthesis.
Additionally, the body takes longer to break down protein, causing energy to be released at a much slower pace. This means that hemp protein not only gives your energy a boost but also helps sustain it throughout the day.
It reduces inflammation
Inflammation is a common cause of many chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, bowel and cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
To prevent your risk of developing these illnesses, it is essential to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Luckily, the hemp protein contains a healthy ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 that can help reduce inflammation.
Hemp protein is also a great source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid found to possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Some animal studies suggest that GLA can be an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Studies conducted on human subjects, however, found that GLA is not always effective.
Researchers claimed that the human processing of GLA is very complicated, and the “one size fits all” approach may no longer be ideal in preventing and treating complex human diseases with PUFA-based supplements.
It enhances digestion
One of the most effective ways to keep healthy digestion is to eat fiber-rich foods. Adding hemp protein to your daily meal plans may do just this as it is a good source of dietary fiber.
What’s more, it also boasts essential fatty acids, which the body needs for digestion.
And unlike other protein powders like whey that contain small amounts of lactose, hemp protein doesn’t contain lactose, dairy, soy, and other artificial flavors or coloring, making it allergen-free.
Because of this, hemp protein also prevents gas, bloating, and other internal distress related to lactose intolerance, and other sensitivities.
It conditions your scalp
If you’re battling dry, itchy scalp, hemp protein may also help as it helps condition it naturally. Thanks to its vitamin E content and rich essential fatty acids, hemp aids in soothing the scalp.
You can take hemp protein in its tablet or powder form to reap this favorable benefit.
It protects your heart
According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is the leading cause of death across the world.
A rich source of nutrients, fiber, and healthy fats, hemp protein helps to reduce your risk of heart diseases. It also contains significant amounts of arginine, an amino acid that has been linked to heart benefits.
Some evidence suggests that arginine may help blood flow in the coronary arteries, which may contribute to the improvement of symptoms of chest pain, clogged arteries, and coronary artery disease.
It helps build lean muscles
Not only can hemp protein assist in repairing muscles but building lean muscles, too. Aside from its impressive nutritional profile, hemp also has muscle-building amino acids like branched chain amino acids (BCAA).
BCAAs are a group of essential amino acids that stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is necessary for building muscles. BCAAs have also been found to help reduce muscle soreness, exercise fatigue, and muscle wasting.
It helps to suppress appetite
Fiber-rich sources like hemp also help reduce unnecessary food cravings and caloric intake. Fiber is an essential compound that promotes healthy digestion and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Because of its appetite suppressing powers, fiber has been linked to weight loss as well. Additionally, hemp’s fiber content is also thought to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
It makes your hair stronger
Hemp protein is chock-full of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids that all contribute to healthy hair growth.
What’s more, the omega-3 fatty acids contained in hemp also adds luster to the hair. It also helps open up hair follicles and promote hair growth, making up for the hair loss you experience every day.
How to Add Hemp Protein to Your Diet
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Experts, however, emphasized that this is just the minimum amount you need, and you have to consume more protein, especially if you’re an athlete.
Adding hemp protein to your diet is one of the easiest yet most effective ways of meeting your daily protein needs.
When choosing a hemp protein powder, though, pick the one that is made from only one ingredient, which is hemp. Avoid variants that contain dairy, lactose, hexane or other sweeteners.
You can use hemp protein powder just like you would any other protein powder, and blend it with your shakes and smoothies.
You can also add it to your protein bars, yogurt, granola, muffins, pancakes, bread, and cereals. Incorporating hemp protein powder into your foods can boost its fiber and nutrient content!
What are the Side Effects of Hemp Protein?
Side effects are possible after consuming hemp protein, which includes mild diarrhea. One of the best ways to avoid this is to start with one teaspoon of hemp protein powder, and slowly increase from there.
People with certain medical conditions and who are taking certain medications are advised to use hemp protein with caution.
People with herpes infections should be careful when it comes to taking hemp protein since it contains high amounts of arginine. This amino acid plays a crucial role in wound healing, immune function, and hormone production.
However, high levels of arginine may promote herpes infection since the amino acid is needed by the virus in the replication of viral proteins.
While hemp protein helps to boost immunity, it may have adverse effects on people with autoimmune conditions.
You may find hemp products overstimulating for your immune system if you are suffering from an autoimmune disorder, so it’s best to take precautions.
If you have any health condition or are taking medications, see your doctor first for proper guidance. Expert advice is necessary if you plan to change something in your diet and have such concerns.
Hemp protein is packed with nutrients, essential amino acids, and other beneficial compounds that are good for your health.
Adding it to your regular nutrition is also an effective way of meeting your daily protein requirement. Experts, however, believe that you can get the protein you need from a balanced diet.
Eating more lean protein such as fish, chicken breast, beef, beans, and soy products is still the recommended route when it comes to your nutrition.
If you find it necessary to take protein supplements, though, ask your doctor if hemp protein is the best choice for you.