Protein Supplements: Hemp Protein Powder
Protein supplements are very popular, and an entire book could be written on this topic alone. Protein powder is an excellent supplement that can help build strong healthy muscles and aid in weight loss. If you want to increase your intake of protein, you can choose between whey protein, casein protein, milk protein, soy protein, hemp protein, egg protein and others. But, nutritionally and taste-wise, animal proteins are superior to vegetable proteins and far more popular.
Supplements (powders) typically differ according to the protein’s primary source, its amino-acid profile, and the methods by which it was processed or isolated. All protein sources are unique in the various combinations and amounts of amino acids they contain.
What is Hemp?
The scientific name for hemp is Cannabis sativa, which is also familiarly known as marijuana. Hemp protein powder is made from the cannabis plant, which of course is notorious as the source of marijuana. But hemp protein powder is just a food, with a negligible amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the hallucinogenic component in cannabis). It’s completely legal, and the powder is totally natural.
Hemp seeds are the part of the plant mainly used for food, although hemp leaves are some of the most nutrient-dense greens known and are great in salads and juices. The seeds can be eaten whole, or ground down into a powder.
Hemp food is usually sold as hemp protein powder, shelled seeds, or hemp oil.
The protein powder is rich in fiber and protein, the shelled seeds are rich in protein and good oils, and the oil is cold-pressed from the seeds and rich in omega-3s.
The seeds are essential for overall health maintenance, as they contain a wide array of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. Hemp oil is a great-tasting food oil used like olive oil. It may contain anticarcinogenic cannabinoids such as CBD but is free of the psychoactive THC.
Hemp foods also have anti-inflammatory properties, key for speeding the repair of soft-tissue damage caused by physical activity. Hemp is also gluten free, making it suitable for anyone with celiac disease or wheat sensitivities.
Hemp Protein Digestibility
Hemp protein is very easily digested and assimilated (above-average digestibility), making it one of the finest sources of protein in the plant kingdom. The better a protein is digested, the more efficiently it can be used by the body.
Since hemp protein is raw, its naturally occurring digestive enzymes remain intact, allowing the body to utilize it with the greatest of ease, reducing digestive strain. Other vegan proteins such as soy may cause digestive distress in some athletes since soy is a common allergen.
Hemp Protein Powders
Hemp protein powder is made by pressing hemp seeds to expel the oil, leaving behind a dry “cake.” This cake is then sifted and milled at low temperatures. This process helps to remove some of the coarser plant fibre and produces a concentrated form of protein. At 30% protein content, hemp protein powder is the answer for anyone looking for a raw, vegan, and organic muscle builder and energy booster.
Hemp Protein Amino Acid Profile
Hemp protein contains all essential amino acids (it is a “complete” protein) for muscle repair, improved metabolic activity and overall wellbeing. But, although it contains all essential amino acids, some are in insufficient quantity to provide the bare minimum of essential human nutrition. The limiting amino acids in hemp appear to usually be lysine, with leucine and tryptophan being the second and third limiting amino acids. This makes it, from a complementary protein perspective, having comparable insufficiencies as grain products.
In contrast, it has a higher content of arginine, an amino acid, which boosts the production of nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels, and thus may help treat angina and other cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, almost two-thirds of hemp protein is comprised of edestin. Edestin is a type of plant protein that is similar to protein found in the human body, and thus is perfectly suited to aid in meeting the body’s cellular needs such as DNA repair. In addition, another one-third of hemp’s protein is albumin, another high quality globulin protein also found in egg whites.
Hemp protein powder is made from ground-up hemp seeds. Although not as high in protein as some of the other options, it’s a great choice for a real purist as it is usually the least processed of protein powders. As an added bonus, it also contains plenty of fiber and some healthy fats. Hemp protein is also an excellent source of protein for vegetarians, vegans or for anyone that suffers with a lactose or gluten intolerance. Nevertheless, hemp protein, in spite of the misleading marketing hype, is a poor quality protein when compared to soy, egg, and milk proteins (whey, casein). As is common with other vegetable proteins, except for soya protein, hemp protein contains a lower proportion of the essential amino acids. Dairy-based proteins like whey and casein are the best choices for their muscle-building benefits as well as their bio-available zinc and iron, if you’re not a vegan or suffer from dairy allergies.