With cannabis laws changing all across the world, the use of hemp related products in the health and fitness field has grown tremendously. Many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts are turning to hemp protein to boost energy, help build and repair lean muscle, strengthen metabolism, and regulate cholesterol levels. But—why hemp protein?
Even if you’re just looking to be more health-conscious about your nutrition, hemp protein can be a great choice over other animal- and soy-based proteins. Containing all nine essential amino acids needed in the human body, hemp protein can improve your overall health by offering a less processed alternative to other protein sources and benefitting your body in several ways. Let’s dig in:
1. High in fiber
Fiber is an important nutrient that Americans unfortunately do not get enough of. Studies on high-fiber diets have been shown to improve blood sugar, produce healthy gut bacteria, and reduce risk of bowel cancer.
Hemp protein powders can help you reach the 25 to 38 grams of daily fiber recommended for adult men and women. These powders contain 7 to 8 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup, reaching 18 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for men, and 28 percent for women.
High-fiber foods also have the benefit of making you feel fuller for longer, and curbing overeating and unhealthy snacking to help keep you on track. Choosing hemp protein is the perfect way to supplement your fiber intake while adding protein to your diet.
2. Easily digestible
In recent years, many people have been turning to plant-based diets in an effort to be more environmentally aware, or include more vegetables and necessary nutrients and vitamins to their diet. Unfortunately, most plant-based proteins are not nearly as digestible as animal proteins, making them less efficient in delivering protein to the body. The exception?
In ground hemp seeds, 91 to 98 percent of the protein has been found to be digestible, making it easy for your body to use all of the beneficial amino acids contained within the protein to repair and maintain muscle growth and function.
But, be careful: research has found that the digestibility of hemp protein can be damaged by heat processing. Look for hemp protein powders made from cold-pressed seeds to help your digestive system get the maximum benefits!
3. Rich in minerals and antioxidants
Hemp seeds are loaded with minerals and antioxidants that work together to create a stronger, healthier you. Although there is not currently research conducted on whether processing the seeds affects the levels of antioxidants, nutrition fact labels indicate that hemp protein powder can contain up to 80 percent of the recommended daily intake for magnesium and up to 52 percent for iron.
Magnesium is important for bone health and formation, calcium absorption, and heart health, and can even help lessen the side effects of PMS and relieve anxiety. Iron is another important nutrient, vital for maintaining energy and focus, regulating body temperature, and strengthening the immune system.
Hemp seeds also contain lignanamides, compounds which have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These carry enormous benefits for your immune system!
4. Tastes great, and comes in flavored options
Hemp protein powder has an earthier, nuttier taste than animal- and soy-based protein. While some may find the taste too strong, most people tend to enjoy the natural flavor of hemp seed oil and its subproducts. But, if this doesn’t sound like something you’d like, some companies also produce flavored hemp protein powders to make it easier to work with.
The taste of hemp protein powder also goes great with homemade vegetable and fruit juices, and is perfect for smoothies because of its tendency to create a thick, frothy texture. In thinner liquids, like water, it can have a gritty texture, but this can easily be adjusted by blending with ice, fruit, or other thickeners.
Finally, one of the top benefits to note is that hemp protein does not have the typical bad breath effect we experience from animal-based protein powders.
5. Packed with healthy, unsaturated fats
While the hemp seeds in hemp protein powder have been pressed to remove their oils, the finished powder will still contain about 10 percent of the original fat content, most of which is unsaturated fat.
These fats, combined with heart-healthy omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, have an exceptional effect on the body. Research on unsaturated fats has shown that consuming the RDI can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and build stronger cell membranes.
If you suffer from skin-related disorders, these essential fatty acids can benefit your skin, acting as an internal moisturizer to combat dry, cracked, and irritated skin. In fact, a study done in Finland by the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found remarkably reduced irritation and dryness in eczema patients taking hemp protein over a 20-week period.
In addition, the extra fat content in hemp seeds, usually not present in animal- and plant-based proteins, can help you feel fuller, longer. Just be aware of the extra calorie content—and always store your hemp protein powder in the fridge after opening its container.
Experience the natural benefits of hemp protein
Of course, what most people are looking for in a protein powder is exactly that: the muscle-building effect of a high-protein source. Hemp protein powder acts not only as a muscle builder by providing a complete amino acid profile, but also offers the effective muscle-building BCAA (branched chain amino acids). BCAAs prevents loss of muscle tissue while increasing protein synthesis, meaning that your body can double up by repairing and building muscle all at once.
As a protein-rich source that also contains a number of added health benefits, hemp protein should definitely be on your list of protein powders to try. By adding a good source of fiber and unsaturated fatty acids to your diet, you’ll easily curb cravings and stay fuller longer, while your body reaps the heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich benefits of hemp seeds.
You can find hemp protein powders online, as well as in some speciality or health food stores. Have you tried hemp protein? Tell us what you think in the comments below!