What is Hemp Protein Powder?
Hemp is a type of plant that produces very useful fibers for textiles and clothes making, and contains very nutritious seeds. Yes, you can also get high by smoking the leaves of certain strains of this plant, but other strains have negligible amounts of the active ingredient (THC) that has brain altering affects. It is this low THC strain that is grown for its fibers and seeds. The seed itself contains no THC and this is the part that is used to create hemp protein powder.
To produce hemp protein powder oil is squeezed from the seed. The remaining seed is then milled into a flour, and the flour is sifted to produce a powder. Since hemp seeds are naturally high in fiber you now have a powder that is high in fiber with fair protein content. You will find some hemp protein products that are sold in this state, but some products contain a higher protein/lower fiber content as a result of additional sifting.
Hemp Protein Powder Benefits
Hemp powder is heralded as a very nutritious and health-promoting supplement. In fact it is not really a supplement, but a genuine healthy food! Some of the great benefits include:
- High fiber content to help promote bowel health, detoxification and regularity. Even the higher protein/lower fiber hemp protein powders are still a great source of healthy fiber.
- Hemp is one of the most environmentally-friendly of plants and grows easily without need of pesticides and herbicides. However, some farmers that grow hemp ‘en masse’ may use pesticides, so it is always good to double check where the hemp in your powder is sourced from.
- Hemp is one of the most nutritious and complete foods that we know of. In addition to its healthy fiber content, hemp powder also features essential fats, and a plethora of vitamins and minerals.
- Studies show that regular hemp intake can help protect us against a number of diseases, such as arthritis, several forms of cancer (most notably colon cancer), heart disease and atherosclerosis.
- Not just a good source of protein, hemp protein powder is also a complete source of protein. This means it contains all of the amino acids that the body needs everyday for cell/tissue grow and repair, including muscle tissue. This makes hemp powder the perfect choice for vegans that want to gain muscle. However it is great for any one who wants to build muscle! (although whey protein powder is better for this purpose).
There is no doubt about the amazing health benefits of hemp protein powder. It is a true complete food that will promote your overall health and wellness, providing a variety of nutrition that helps support joints, keeps arteries clear, keeps the bowel moving, supports cell growth and renewal, protects against disease, supports the endocrine system and has anti-inflammatory effects.
Beware of Hexane
Hemp protein powder benefits are great, however we cannot talk about them without talking about a possible negative side – a chemical called hexane. This chemical is often used in hemp protein powder production to separate oils from the protein and you should completely avoid it.
Hexane IS bad for your health!
- It is a neurotoxin (meaning it can harm you nervous system)
- It is a petroleum by-product, not good for you or environment
- It is listed as a dangerous air pollutant by the EPA
Hemp protein powders that are 100% organic are safe because organic processes are not allowed to use hexane. However, products that are made ‘using organic products’ can contain hexane, since some of the ingredients may not be organic. So it is always important to check.
Here is a list of hexane-free hemp protein powders:
‘Nutiva‘ Organic Hemp Protein Powder
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Hemp Protein Powder Side Effects
On the whole, hemp protein powder has less side effects and is more hypoallergenic than most other type of protein powders such as whey, casein and soy. Hemp contains no wheat, gluten, lactose or other substances known to cause digestive problems. Here are a few possible issues:
Anticoagulant Medications: Hemp protein contains high quantities of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These are essential fats that promote heart health, and help to keep blood thin. However, for those on anti-coagulant medication, this thinning may be too much and result in bleeding. So if you are using these meds check with your doctor before buying hemp protein powder.
Digestive Issues: Hemp helps to move the bowels effectively and this is 100% a good thing. However, this can interfere with, or exacerbate, some known bowel disorders. So it is important to check first with you doctor if have any bowel or digestive disorders.