With hemp protein powder rapidly becoming the preferred plant-based protein of athletes and other health seekers, it may mean they have finally found a plant derived protein that can rival the almighty whey.
Hemp is a specific member of the Cannabis sativa plant. You may be thinking “Wait a minute? Did he just say Cannabis…isn’t that marijuana?” Well yes, I did say cannabis but it’s not marijuana. Hemp does not really contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the psychoactive substance in marijuana which gives you the euphoric high feeling and makes you want to eat pizza, brownies, and ice cream all at the same time. Not that I know anything about that.
Hemp is an incredible plant and has been used by humans since ancient times to make numerous products such as clothing, rope, textiles, and as a source of nutrition. Nevertheless, some people still confuse hemp with marijuana because the US government banned hemp cultivation with the passing of the Controlled Substances Act. Governments in general tend to be not so intelligent, to be kind about it. And the US government is exceptional in this regard. Hemp will not get you high but it will improve your health.
Hemp protein powder contains 20 amino acids and all 9 essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are so named because the human body cannot produce them on its own. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and your body uses proteins to manufacture muscle. For this reason, and others, hemp is now considered the best plant-based protein source for a growing number of athletes.
The answer is going to surprise you. The two main proteins found in hemp are the globular proteins edistin and albumin. Globular proteins are highly regarded because they are quickly absorbed and utilized by the human body. Edistin protein is typically found in plants that is easily digestible and produces antibodies that improve the human immune system. Albumin is the same protein found in the almighty egg. Albumin is also quickly and efficiently utilized by the body to make new muscles and repair cells.
Many strength athletes have switched to hemp protein because it is so easy to digest. Whey protein is a fantastic protein powder but a small number of people experience digestive issues when they consume it. Digestive issues and unwanted side effects are also common with soy protein powder so hemp protein is now very popular with vegetarians and vegans.
Another interesting fact about hemp protein is the types of fats it contains. Gone are the days of fearing fat. Every nutrition and fitness expert now touts the importance of dietary fat and admits the low fat diet craze of the past was a mistake that probably did more harm than good. But we still need to eat certain fats and avoid others. Most everyone knows the benefits of essential fatty acids and the most important of these seem to be omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 and 6 have been scientifically shown to improve blood triglyceride levels, enhance immune system function, relieve arthritis and joint pain, improve cardiovascular health, and even alleviate depression. Hemp protein contains both of these essential fatty acids in a perfectly harmonized ratio. A balanced omega ratio is essential for optimal health and the ratio found in hemp protein is 1:3. The modern industrialized diet can have a damaging and unbalanced omega ratio as high as 1:50 and is responsible for a great number of modern afflictions. Using hemp protein is a small step toward a place of better balance.
Hemp protein is also environmentally friendly. Many people are becoming more and more concerned with man’s impact on the planet. Conventional farming practices like monocropping actually damage the ecosystem and rob the soil of precious nutrients. Hemp cultivation, on the other hand, actually revitalizes the soil. We are still cutting down forests and trees at an alarming rate in order to provide us with wood and paper. But hemp is strong enough to be used as a substitute for these products in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. One acre of properly grown hemp can provide as much paper as 4 acres of trees annually. Hemp products can be recycled and reused more easily than synthetic counterparts and are completely biodegradable. Making the switch to hemp products will not only improve your physical and mental health but also the health of the planet.
Hemp truly is an amazing plant with an impressive number of applications. Remember, it’s has no psychoactive components. You need to use other plants if you’re looking for that. But an ever increasing number of people are using hemp protein for all of its incredible health benefits.