Hemp protein comes from the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, and is an excellent source of plant-based protein. Hemp seed contains only a trace amount of THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. Hence, it does not produce a mind-altering effect, plus it is exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats, protein, and minerals. Hemp protein can become a great staple in your diet.
Since it's a very sustainable plant for cultivation and has enormous benefits, the demand for hemp-based products is constantly growing in India. Hemp protein powder is one of the most popular varieties of protein powders. It has an earthy, nutty taste and is often added to post-workout shakes or smoothies to boost protein intake.
There are several health benefits of hemp protein as compared to other plant-based proteins or whey protein. Protein from hemp seeds can be consumed in two ways: with the shells removed which can be eaten directly or as a powder made from ground-up seeds. Both these ways provide a great source of nutrition and are wholesome. Hemp powder is brownish-green in color and has an earthy taste that many people enjoy.
So, if you are someone who wants to add high-quality, vegan protein to your diet, read this article till the end.
Health Benefits of Hemp Protein
Here are the 6 incredible benefits of hemp protein powder. This will help you understand why is it different and on the healthier side as compared to other commercial protein supplements.
1. Hemp Protein is Easy to Digest
In general, animal proteins are more digestible compared to plant proteins, but research shows that 91-98% of the protein in hemp seed can be easily digested by all adults. Better digestion means better absorption of the amino acids present in the hemp protein. This enhances important bodily functions, such as repair and maintenance.
Hemp is easy to digest because it contains the edestin protein and albumin which our body can break down quickly.
However, some studies state that proteins should be rated based on both digestibility and amino acid content. In general, hemp protein stands to be of moderate quality. Research shows that heat processing can reduce the digestibility of hemp protein by about 10%. It is advisable to look for the highest quality hemp protein powders made from cold-pressed seeds.
2. Hemp Protein is a Complete Protein
Hemp protein powder is a high-quality plant-based protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids that are present in a normal diet. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. This is rare for a plant-based protein since most lack the amino acid lysine. It also helps boost metabolism and increases fat-burning. A 2004 study found the amino acid profile of hemp protein similar to egg whites and soy, which are both high-quality protein sources. Hence, hemp protein is a complete protein but more research is needed on its quality. A 1/4-cup (30-gram) serving of hemp protein powder contains around 120 calories and 15 g of protein, varying from brand to brand.
This amount of protein per serving is considered less compared to soy or pea protein powders, which are more highly refined and contain up to 90% protein. So those who prefer less processed protein sources, hemp can be a good choice.
3. Hemp Protein speeds up Muscle growth
In addition to being a complete protein, hemp protein also contains branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs. Hemp protein contains 6.8% leucine, 4.5% isoleucine, and 5.6% valine that make up the 3 BCAAs, in addition to the 9 essential amino acids. Research has shown BCAAs are effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis or muscle growth and speed up post-workout recovery by reducing muscle soreness.
4. Hemp controls Sugar level & is Good for Heart
Hemp seeds are an incredibly rich source of minerals. These minerals include phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, and copper. The nutrition fact labels on hemp protein products indicate that they contain up to nearly 80% of the RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) for magnesium and 52% for iron per serving.
Additionally, hemp protein powder is a good source of antioxidants. It contains compounds called liganamides which have strong antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage that leads to chronic illnesses including heart disease and diabetes.
5. It is Rich in Fiber
High-fiber diets have been linked to numerous health benefits, including improved blood sugar, healthier gut bacteria, and a reduced risk of bowel cancer. Both men and women should consume at least 38 g and 25 g of fiber respectively, on a daily basis. Fiber-rich foods such as hemp seeds can help bridge this gap.
Hemp protein is a great way to add both protein and fiber to your diet. In contrast, other plant-based protein powders such as soy and pea are highly refined and contain very little fiber.
Hemp protein powders contain different amounts of fiber depending on whether they were made from hulled or unhulled hemp. Most hemp protein powders contain 7 to 8 g of fiber per 30g serving. This provides 18-28% of the RDI of fiber for men and women respectively.
Moreover, fiber can help you regulate your blood glucose levels. This means that it will help you kill those sugar cravings and also prevent energy crashes.
6. Hemp Protein powder contains Unsaturated Fats
Hemp protein powder contains omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids in an ideal ratio of 3:1 that promotes a healthy heart. But it comes slightly higher in calories because of it. Hemp protein powder is made from hemp seeds that have been pressed to remove their oils. Hence, it contains roughly 10% of the original fat content.
A 30g serving has around 3 g of unsaturated fat, which is excellent for heart health. The reason lies in its making. Hemp protein powder is less refined than other plant-based proteins, thus containing more fat than most protein isolates.
It is recommended to store hemp protein powder in the refrigerator after opening to prevent the rancidity of fats.
Recommended dosages for Adults and Bodybuilders
Adults need at least 0.36 g of protein per pound (i.e., 0.8 g per kg) of body weight, every day. For a person who weighs 65kg, this equates to 52.8 g of protein per day.
However, people who work out need more protein to maintain their muscle mass. The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends that regular exercisers need 0.64 to 0.9 g per pound (1.4 to 2.0 g per kg) of body weight daily.
Athletes and weight lifters must consume protein within two hours post-exercise for maximum recovery. Doses of 5-7 tablespoons of hemp protein powder are most effective for muscle building and repair. While whole foods make up the bulk of the protein in your diet, supplementing with high-quality protein powder can be a good additional source of protein.
Precautions and Side effects you must know about
While hemp products are completely safe for most people, there can be potential side effects:
- Although hemp is safe for most people, it may cause digestive problems for some. Since hemp protein contains relatively high amounts of fiber, some people may experience gas, bloating, or diarrhea if they consume too much too quickly.
- It should be avoided by anyone with hemp allergies and has underlying medical conditions.
- This protein powder contains very little of the psychoactive compound THC. Research shows that eating up to 0.67 pounds or 300 grams of hulled hemp seeds per day does not interfere with urine drug tests.
- A few animal studies suggest that hemp may be unsafe for pregnant or nursing women, people with anemia, and those with poor immunity. But these can't be completely valid for humans. Until further studies reveal the standard effects for the same, consult your doctor if it does not suit you.
Sources to find Good quality Hemp protein powder in India
These links will direct you to brands that sell high-quality Hemp protein in India. Nutritional content and dosage for the product are listed in the product description.