I've been experimenting with different plant proteins in my smoothies and meals. At one stage I was recommending pea protein, and after much research, I realised that it was not the best protein for my body. My body preferred hemp, in all it's formats. My researched showed me that hemp is far more than just a great plant protein. Read on to to learn more about the wonderful benefits of adding hemp to your daily meals.
Omega 3: Hemp has a near perfect omega 3-6-9 ratio. 1.5 Tbsp of hemp protein (powder) contains 1245 g of omega 3. It is the only edible seed that contain gama linoleic acid (GLA). The seeds contain 25%-35% oil by weight. GLA is great for the skin, for arthritis, cholesterol, heart disease, chronic fatigue, and hay fever to mention just a few.
Amino acids: Hemp contains all 20 amino acids, both essential and non essential, including 66% bio active protein edestrin, a protein used to make antibodies. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are a source of energy, like fats and carbohydrates, but unlike fats and carbohydrates, amino acids produce tissues, organs, muscles, skin and hair. So good quality amino acids that are properly absorbed and utilised would mean healthier, stronger and younger looking bodies.
Metabolism: Protein requires more energy to digest than fats or carbohydrates, which means your body burns more calories just by consuming it. Yes please!
Fibre: depending on the brand, three tablespoons of hemp protein contains 8-15g of Fibre. Fibre helps regulate blood sugar, protect your heart, aid digestion and maintain healthy weight. Ideally, women need to take in 35g - 45g of fibre per day. This helps to reduce net carbs which means it reduces the effect of sugar and carbohydrates in our food.
Minerals: Hemp is full of iron, magnesium and zinc. Three tablespoons of hemp protein have more than 40% of your daily iron requirements, 65% of your daily magnesium requirements and 25% of your zinc requirements. Hemp is rich in potassium, so it balances electrolytes. Three tablespoons of hemp contains 370g potassium, more than twice as much as a cup of spinach. Hemp also aids water balance and helps to remove joint pain and muscle cramps.
Low carb: Because hemp protein powder is made from whole hemp seeds (husk and seed) it contains a lot of fibre, so again, the net carbs are low. How to measure net carbs: Net carbs = total carbs - fibre. How much should your net carbs per day be? Well, it depends what your outcome is. If you are looking to shed some weight, your net carbs ideally could be 20g - 49g, otherwise speak to your health practitioner to find out what your ideal net carb value should be. Many women not looking to shed weight thrive on 70g - 80g.
So now that we know a lot about the goodness of hemp seeds, let's understand the different types available.
Whole seeds: These are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and Fibre. Many of us are not used to eating the husks, and whole hemp seeds are excellent!
Shelled: Otherwise known as hemp hearts, these have a nutty taste and a texture similar to sesame seeds.
Oil: The whole seed is cold pressed to make hemp oil which is good for salads, dressings and other cold recipes. Not recommended for frying or high heat.
Protein Powder: After the whole seed has been crushed for oil, the remaining product (called a cake) is ground into powder. It still contains 25% protein and lots of Fibre.
So now you know how easy hemp is to digest and how nutrition is it, simply choose your preferred type and for enhanced health.
Resources: global hemp.com onegreenplanet.com hempseed.ca