The Hemp plant is simply quite extraordinary. It provides us with thousands of practical uses from food, shelter, medicine, fuel and so much more.
Most people will be familiar with its flowers whose resinous glands give us medicinal cannabinoids such as CBD and THC but not so much with its seeds which provide essential omega-rich oil as well as being a superior source of high-quality protein.
Protein is essential for repairing and building muscles which is why gym lovers are often seen scoffing protein bars, shakes, or a plate full of chicken breasts straight after their workout!
Proteins are complex molecules essential for more than just building muscles though; they are literally the building blocks of every cell in your body. They create hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals that make our body function like clockwork. Its uses are numerous including:
- Growth & Maintenance
- Muscle Repair and Growth
- Acts as a Messenger
- Transports & Stores Nutrients
- Used to Make Organs, Tissues, Skin Etc
- Boosts Immune Health
In the Western world, our main source of protein comes from animal sources but all ethical debates aside, there are several reasons why this is unsustainable.
Why Animal Protein Is Not the Way
Our planet's growing population means farmers must rear more animals to meet demands. We have seen this quite recently with the fires in the Amazon where farmers are destroying the lungs of the Earth in order to make way for more land for grazing animals.
Rearing animals also results in an excess of methane which contributes to an estimated 50% of emitted greenhouse gases. Last but certainly not least is that these animals are often kept in close quarters resulting in a greater chance of disease. They are then pumped with antibiotics which we then ultimately consume leading to a major increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria from the farm to your table.
Is Hemp Protein a Suitable Alternative?
Yes. The quality of hemp seed protein is high and is comparable to high-protein sources such as egg white and soybean according to researchers at the National Resources Institute in Finland.
After cold pressing hemp seeds for its omega-rich oil, we are left with ‘hemp meal’ that is rich in protein and dietary fibre. How it is processed will determine its protein content. See below.
|Hemp Seed Product||Crude Protein Concentration|
|Fresh Whole Hemp Seed Products||21%-27% Protein|
|Dehulled Hemp Seeds||30% - 38% Protein|
|Hemp Seed Meal||31% - 53% Protein|
|Hemp Seed Flour||35 - 38% Protein|
The protein is mainly in the inner parts of the seeds with the shells containing around 13%.
Hemp protein contains mainly globulin and albumin which are easily digested in the stomach. It is also rich in essential amino acids, dietary fibre carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
Hemp Protein Nutritional Value
- Rich in protein 21% – 53%
- Rich in Carbohydrates 27% – 42%
- Rich source of Insoluble Fibre
- Rich in essential fatty acids
- Vitamin E (90mg per 100g)
- Thiamin & Riboflavin (B Vitamins)
Hemp Seeds have bioactive peptides which have been shown in vitro to have numerous medicinal benefits including being anti-hypertensive which may reduce blood pressure, antioxidant properties to lower the possibility of dangerous pathogens, and serum glucose-lowering properties which can lower blood sugar levels naturally.
How Much Protein Do We Need?
The recommended daily intake of protein varies dramatically from one organisation to the next. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) is 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight. This works out at around 60g for the average man and 45g for the average woman.
Studies have shown this is could be TOO LOW and it is suggested that we increase our protein intake considerably to provide optimum health benefits. It all depends on our age, height, weight, level of activity and more as to how much we require.
The American College of Sports recommends 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight.
It is astonishing, to say the least, that the hemp plant can provide food, clothing, shelter, and fuel for humans and in terms of dietary needs, it outshines all other plants with its high protein content together with fibre, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
By eating hemp seeds our body can break down the protein into its base particles and then use these essential amino acids to build up our own proteins in the body which will optimise our own health.
Choose hemp protein over animal protein and step by step we can make the world a better place to live and our bodies a better place to be in.