Despite being a variant of Cannabis sativa, hemp contains very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most important psychoactive component of the plant. For its part, it has positioned itself as one of the best proteins of plant origin. So much so that its seeds are ground to obtain the so-called hemp protein powder.
Now this is not the only thing it offers. It is also a source of 9 essential amino acids that the body is not able to produce, fiber, healthy fats and minerals. Find out everything you need to know about it.
Hemp protein powder overview
Hemp protein powder is obtained from the seeds of the plant of the same name. Many find its flavor pleasant, since it is similar to that of walnuts.
Likewise, it is common to add it to shakes to increase protein intake. According to research published in the medical journal Euphytica, hemp protein is similar to other high-quality proteins, such as those in egg whites.
In the same way, it is appreciated for containing the 9 essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. However, there is scientific evidence that its lysine levels are low, so it is not the best option to obtain this nutrient. However, 1/4 (or 30 grams) of hemp protein powder provides 120 calories and 15 grams of protein, an amount that is low compared to soy protein.
In addition, it is a source of essential fatty acids omega 3 and 6, including gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an omega 6 linked with benefits to improve the symptoms of arthritis and PMS.
Health Benefits of Hemp Protein Powder
Let’s see in detail what are the benefits that are linked to this protein powder.
1. It is easy to digest
In general, these plant-based proteins are easy to digest. So, it is not surprising that between 91% and 98% of hemp protein powder is digestible, which translates into components that the body can use for important functions.
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, hemp is easy to digest because it contains edestin and albumin. These proteins are broken down by the body quickly.
There is scientific evidence that the way seeds are processed can make digestion more difficult. In this sense, hemp protein powder whose seeds were cold pressed are preferred.
2. It is a source of fiber
It is shown that following a diet rich in fiber improves blood sugar levels, helps maintain a healthy intestinal flora and reduces the chances of developing bowel cancer. In addition, women and men should consume 25 and 38 grams daily, respectively.
Fortunately, powdered hemp is a source of fiber. However, their levels vary depending on how the seeds have been processed.
1/4 (or 30 grams) of hemp protein powder typically provides 7-8 grams of fiber, which is equal to 18-28% of the recommended daily intake (RDI).
3. It is rich in unsaturated fats
Although the process of making protein focuses on removing oils, it has been shown that it retains at least 10% of its fat content. In that sense, 1/4 (or 30 grams) of powdered hemp contains 3 grams of fat.
Likewise, the seeds of this plant are composed of a 3: 1 ratio of omega 6 and omega 3. This is relevant, since the diet is usually marked by an imbalance of these fats. However, hemp consumption is associated with the possibility of reversing that imbalance and contributing to heart health.
4. It is composed of minerals and antioxidants
According to a study published in the journal Food & Function, hemp seeds are a source of phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc and copper. Likewise, there are powdered proteins that ensure that one serving provides 80% of the RDI for magnesium and 52% for iron.
On the other hand, there is scientific evidence that the seeds contain lignanamides, compounds known for their antioxidant power, associated with a reduction in the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Contraindications and side effects
Despite being safe for most people, this protein has amounts of fiber that are considered high and can cause gas, bloating and even diarrhea if high amounts are ingested too often. The dosage for athletes to recover after exercise is between 5 and 7 tablespoons.
Also, if you meet any of the following characteristics, you should avoid powdered hemp:
- You’re alergic.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You have anemia or a compromised immune system.
How to use this protein powder?
Very easy! The most common way to use it is to add it to a smoothie. However, you can also add it to your favorite milk or yogurt, as well as baked goods.
Protein can replace up to 25% of flour in baked goods. You can prepare breads, pancakes or cakes that are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats.
Hemp protein: a healthy and vegan option
Many are those who are opting for this supplement, since it is less processed than other options on the market and it is a protein of plant origin. Likewise, its easily digestible benefits and the fact that it is composed of a significant amount of fiber, healthy fats and various minerals stand out.