The hemp plant has been cultivated for a variety of different industrial uses over the centuries. However, it’s only just recently risen to the main stage in association in the health and nutrition world.
Hemp is now being recognised as a green superfood because of its remarkable nutritional content.
Hemp powder may just be the next go-to supplement in the long line of many, but what is the best hemp protein powder brand out there right now?
I wanted to find out more and understand if this one is a five minute wonder or whether hemp is here to stay for centuries to come. Read on to find out more.
What is Hemp Protein Powder?
Hemp is a member of the controversial cannabis sativa plant family. Before you start to panic, consuming hemp will not give you the same effects as its close relative marijuana.
THC is the intoxicating compound in marijuana which makes you “high”. In comparison, hemp seeds only contain the tiniest amount.
A study evaluated the impact of hemp food consumption on workplace drug tests and the findings concluded the levels of THC were low enough that they did not produce a positive result. (source)
Just for the record, hemp is totally legal, harmless and in actual fact, very good for you.
Hemp seeds are jam-packed full of goodness, with high levels of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. They’re also an excellent source of easy digestible plant-based protein, dietary fiber and healthy fatty acids. (sources 1, 2)
Hemp protein powder is processed by grinding down the seeds (also known as hearts) of the hemp plant. Most supplements contain only raw milled seed, making it one of the cleanest forms of nutrition out there.
Hemp powder is pretty versatile and can be consumed in a number of ways. Don’t just automatically think smoothies or shakes.
It could add a boost of wholesome nutritional value when incorporated into foods such as yoghurt, oatmeal and my personal favourite is chocolate brownies.
If you want to know more about the benefits of hemp protein powder then check out the clip below:
What are the Benefits of Hemp Protein Powder?
Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Hemp is a rich source of both alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6) fatty acids.
These are the polyunsaturated or “good” fats that your body needs but doesn’t produce. They’re deemed “essential”, meaning you need to obtain them through your diet.
It’s also extremely important to get the right balance of these fatty acids for normal function of the immune system. However the dietary trend seems to be more focused on omega-6 instead of both. (source)
Hemp has the ratio of 2:1 and 3:1 which research suggests is the ideal proportionate level to maintain a healthy diet. (source)
Gamma linoleic acid is an important member of the omega-6 family and uniquely found in hemp. Research suggests this fatty acid has anti-inflammatory properties, therefore could inhibit many diseases. (sources 1, 2)
The beneficial association between polyunsaturated fats and prevention of cardiovascular illnesses has been well documented. (source)
Studies report that including hemp in your diet could help lower or regulate blood pressure. (source) It has also been suggested hemp could lower cholesterol.
In one study, six different combinations of a controlled diet plus the following were provided:
- Coconut oil
- Partially depleted hempseed
After a period of eight weeks, bloods were taken and levels of fatty acids, cholesterol and triglycerides were measured.
The results indicated that when hemp seed was added to the “cholesterol enriched diet” group, it reduced balances back to original levels. Scientists believe this could be partly related to the presence of the healthy fat gamma linolenic acid (GLA). (source)
When you review all the evidence, it soon becomes apparent hemp protein powder could be a very healthy way to obtain the fats you need for a strong heart.
Provides All-Round Protein Support
Protein is of fundamental importance for your body. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of dietary protein for an adult is 0.8 grams per kilo of bodyweight. (source)
If you don’t consume enough, you could find yourself with symptoms like fatigue, muscle loss and a multitude of other health issues.
Hemp protein powder is an excellent source of protein because it contains the full spectrum of amino acids. This includes those considered “essential” which you need to consume through diet.
Complete protein sources are very limited in plant form.
The major protein components in hemp are called edestin and albumin. Edestin alone accounts for 60 to 80% of the total protein content. (source)
Edestin is a globular protein which is more digestible and therefore more easily absorbed by the body in comparison to regular animal-based protein sources.
Even when evaluated against other nuts, grains and pulses hemp showed a better digestive efficiency. (source)
The great thing about hemp is that it doesn’t have to go through any extraction processes like soy. It’s higher in amino acids too.
People familiar with exercise have probably heard about branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs. Hemp contains isoleucine, leucine and lysine, making it a great plant-based alternative for a post-workout shake.
Promotes Healthy Digestion
Dietary fiber is one of the most important factors to maintain a healthy gut. (source)
However, research indicates that fiber intake in the population are lower than the government recommendation of 25 to 38 grams per day. (source)
Hemp protein powder provides a dense source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, aiding digestion in a number of ways.
Soluble fiber works by breaking down in the gut and supplying nutrition to the “friendly bacteria”, helping to keep the immune system working.
Increased intake of soluble fiber benefits a number of gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation and ulcers. It also plays a big role in keeping cholesterol and glucose levels under control. (source)
Insoluble fiber provides the bulk and gets everything moving, so to speak. It ensures that your intestinal tract is kept clear, cleansed and in regular motion.
Hemp protein powder is a great tool to increase your fiber intake and keep your digestive system healthy.
Weight Loss Aid
Hemp has many useful properties which can assist those of us trying to keep a close eye on the scales.
As hemp is mainly protein, it would seem a natural suggestion that it could play a key role in weight management.
Protein can help increase metabolism, for starters. Your body also uses more energy processing protein than any other nutrient, therefore promoting faster weight loss.
Fiber is another friend of the weight loss crew due to the fact that it increases satiety levels. It’s a simple fact that if you don’t feel hungry, you are less likely to be vulnerable to cravings and give into that temptation to snack.
Hemp powder is also a great source of nutrition. When trying to cut back on your calorie intake, it’s easy to neglect certain food groups and end up with a deficiency. Hemp will help you ensure that you’ore giving your body the goodness it needs.
Hemp Could be Your Alternative Gym Buddy
It’s well documented, the protein requirements of an athlete is most likely to be above the recommended levels for an average person for the simple reason that the more active you are the more protein you need to consume. (source)
For example, a body builder’s main goal is to promote muscle and increase bulk. Therefore, protein supplements are probably their best friend.
Protein powders are a convenient way to increase protein intake without adding unhealthy calories to reach your high goals.
Hemp powder is a complete protein source which can help build muscle, reduce recovery times and promote lean muscle, which for any athlete is good news.
Whey protein has been a long standing go-to product for achieving ambitious fitness targets. The reason why is totally understandable as the results speak for themselves, however hemp, as a relative newcomer, also offers some great benefits:
- Hemp powder is easily digested
- Less side effects
- Hemp is natural
- Nutritional extras
Who Could Benefit From Hemp Protein Powder?
Vegetarians and Vegans
Vegetarians and vegans often struggle to get enough protein into their diet for the simple reason the majority of protein rich sources are animal based foods.
For this reason, consuming a hemp protein powder supplement may help to fill in the nutritional gaps in vegan and vegetarian diets and ensure adequate protein intake levels.
Lactose intolerance is a condition in which those affected cannot digest a type of sugar (lactose) found in milk and other dairy products.
This means it may be a struggle to consume enough protein. Don’t forget, many of the most common varieties of protein powders are derived from dairy products, making them out of bounds too.
Hemp protein is a safe, non-dairy option, making it a great alternative supplement for lactose intolerant athletes or those simply looking to increase their protein consumption.
Protein plays an important role in activity and fitness. Whipping up a hemp smoothie could prove to be an efficient way to get a healthy plant-based protein fix.
For those watching the scales and counting calories, a hemp protein powder could offer a helping hand.
Hemp protein could help curb your appetite with high satiety levels from both fiber and protein. Hemp proteins are usually low in fat and calories too which makes it a great tool in the battle to lose weight.
What is the Best Hemp Protein Powder Brand?
When searching for the most suitable hemp protein, you soon become aware that are quite a number of options out there. It can prove to be somewhat of a struggle to decide which brand is the best quality. Do you go with a pure and simple hemp protein powder or something with added extras?
To make things a little easier, I’ve picked five top contenders for the best hemp protein powder and listed their main pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. At the end I’ll reveal my overall favorite.
Our Pick For the Best Hemp Protein Powder
The best hemp protein powder, for me has to be Nutiva’s organic hemp protein powder. I am a firm believer in keeping things as natural as possible, therefore having a product which contains organic ingredients and is completely free from additives or fillers wins hands down.
You get a good serving of 15 g of protein along with 8 g of fiber and all for only 90 calories which makes it a versatile option for most goals.