Hemp protein is the best vegan protein option if you are looking for vegan protein powder. In fact, hemp protein is the best protein powder you can get, regardless of whether you are just looking for a healthy, plant-based protein source or you are trying to substitute your whey protein to achieve greater muscle gains.
The most common vegan protein powders are rice protein, pea protein, and hemp protein. They differ in their amino acid profile as well as in their natural ingredients. Why hemp protein is superior to other protein powders will be explained in-depth this article.
It’s 2019, and many people still think that meat, eggs, fish or cheese are a better source of protein than vegan food options. In fact, many animal products can be classified as complete sources of protein while many plant sources of protein are incomplete. This means that many animal protein sources contain all nine essential amino acids while many vegan sources lack a few essential amino acids, making the protein profile incomplete.
However, hemp seeds are also a complete protein source, containing all of the nine essential amino acids in quantities that are adequate to meet the body’s needs. This alone makes hemp a fantastic source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
What’s more, hemp seeds, the source of hemp protein, do not only contain a complete amino acid profile, they are also made up of about 33 percent protein. Thus, 100g of hemp seeds deliver more protein than 100g of a chicken filet, beef filet or a salmon filet, which consist of somewhere between 19 to 23 percent protein.
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But not only that, hemp seeds contain the very important omega-3 acids, in a perfect 3:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3. Omega-3 is extremely important because you can’t find it in many foods and your body needs the right balance between polyunsaturated and saturated fats. Unfortunately, most people consume a lot of saturated fats and lack omega-3 (polyunsaturated fats), since you can only find it in salmon, walnuts, avocado, quinoa, hemp, chia, linseeds and a few other foods, none of which are eaten on a daily basis by the majority of people.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as hemp seeds not only contain the perfect 3:1 ratio but also a lot of fibres, iron, calcium, sodium, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, B6 and vitamin A. Consequently, consuming hemp seeds or hemp protein powder which is high in fibres can help people who are suffering from immune deficiency diseases while also greatly increasing their digestion’s functionality. Hemp seeds even have been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that decreases the body’s nutrient uptake.
As if this weren’t enough, hemp seeds are a rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants which can benefit you by protecting your immune system, cells, skin, bloodstream, tissues, mitochondria and organs.
In contrary to rice, which contains very little protein, the production of hemp protein is very earth friendly and feasible on a large scale. It not only grows tall and rapidly but its solid growth also eliminates weeds. Hence, the use of pesticides or herbicides can be fully ignored when cultivating hemp. Additionally, hemp products are 100 percent biodegradable and can be recycled and often reused. In comparison to other crops, hemp is cost effective and less harmful to the environment.
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If you think about how whey protein is processed, you might regret not having consumed hemp protein instead. Since whey protein is made of milk, it contains lactose which can cause digestive problems if you are lactose intolerant (which a lot of people are).
To digest lactose, your body needs the enzyme lactase but an insufficient occurrence of this enzyme in whey protein can lead to symptoms of abdominal pain, gas and diarrhoea.
To make matters worse, whey protein drinks contain fewer essential nutrients than many whole food sources of protein and often contain industrialized sugar. For instance, red lentils add iron to your diet, a beef steak contains zinc, salmon or hemp adds heart and brain healthy omega-3 fats and peas deliver you with a fair amount of fibers and antioxidants. A whey protein drink may offer none of these nutrients besides sugar and, in some cases, trans fats, which can cause severe diseases. Drinking the breast milk of an animal’s mother sounds like a weird idea anyway. Therefore, the fact that it causes several problems to your health seems very natural to me.
Unfortunately, dietary supplements do not undergo safety approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prior to being sold on the market, but luckily they are regulated as foods in the EU. As a consequence, if you are from the U.S., whey protein drinks might contain contaminants or impurities that harm your health. According to several studies, whey protein weakens your bones, disturbs kidney function and raises your cholesterol levels.
However, even hemp protein might come with a downside. A big issue here is that any food which contains a lot of oil (like soy or hemp) is usually processed with hexane to extract various components. Protein powders are purified, but hexane is a very harmful chemical and also leads to a decreased protein extraction compared to other solvents. The good news is, hexane is not permitted to be used in organic foods. So you will definitely be better off with buying organic hemp.
Last of all, hemp protein comes with a very unique and nutty taste, which is definitely not for everyone. Pea protein is the most taste neutral of all the plant-based proteins and rice protein tastes pretty good, at least in my opinion. This is due to the fact that rice protein tastes ‘lighter’ and less ‘aggressive’.
The bottom line
Finally, it is also very useful to mix hemp protein with rice and pea protein, because hemp protein lacks the amino acid tryptophan while rice protein is rich in it. Additionally, yellow peas have a very good amount of lysine, which is seldom found in other plants. Although hemp seeds have a complete amino acid profile, hemp protein lacks adequate quantities of tryptophan and lysine. That makes a combination of the three the very best option for your health and muscle growth.