If you’ve ever been in the market for protein powder, you would know that navigating your way through all the different types out there can be an absolute minefield.
Not only do you have to consider things like taste and texture, above all, ingredients and nutritional profile can also be an automatic deal-breaker. Those with dietary requirements such as dairy-free may steer clear from whey protein. Similarly, those who follow a low-FODMAP diet will opt against pea protein—and almost everyone nowadays is mindful of sugar content, all-natural ingredients and zero fillers.
So when we heard that hemp seed might be the non-dairy, gut-friendly, hormone-balancing protein powder we’ve all been waiting for, we wanted to know more. We sat down with Georgia Branch, co-founder of Australian hemp brand, Hemple to learn all about the health benefits of hemp seed protein powder and why it makes a great addition to your diet.
The health benefits of hemp protein powder:
“Hemp protein ticks all the boxes,” explains Georgia. “It’s more than just a protein powder. Not only is it a rare plant-based protein with a complete amino acid profile, it’s a good source of magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, selenium, B Vitamins, omega 3 essential fatty acids and fibre. Hemp protein is also the world’s best source of edestin protein—which is very easy to digest (90% digestibility profile) and allergy-friendly.”
“Hemp protein is often recommended by nutritionists as it’s very well tolerated by people with sensitive bellies,” Georgia goes on to say. “That’s not only because of its easy-to-digest edestin protein, but also because of what hemp doesn’t have. It’s free of oligosaccharides (the O in FODMAP), small amounts of which can be present in some pea proteins, and lactose, which is present in whey protein. Hemp is also free of phytates, found in other vegan protein sources like soy and brown rice, that can interfere with absorption of essential minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium.”
Georgia explains that because hemp seed is simply cold pressed, milled and sifted into a powder, there’s no need for chemical or acidic extraction processes which can leave residual toxins that may upset the gut.
Whey, on the other hand, is placed into an ion exchange tower and undergoes a chemical purification process using hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. Ion exchange is usually less
expensive than microfiltration, but it also denatures—in other words, causes damage to—some of the amino acids.
Pea protein, in comparison, is obtained by a process including dry and liquid phases. First, during a dry process, the outer shell of the pea (essentially consisting of insoluble fibres), is removed by mechanical action. After milling, a flour containing soluble fibres, starches and proteins is obtained. Being water soluble, pea proteins are therefore separated from fibre and starch by wet filtration and centrifugation.
Then they precipitate the protein to its isoelectric point, and then solubilizing the dry spray. It gets a white powder of purified protein that can be used in human nutrition. In terms of protein count, Georgia explains that “Without going through isolation processes, hemp seed protein powders can be up to ~65% protein. Most brands available in Australia are anywhere from 35% for high fibre hemp proteins, up to 65%. Whey proteins are usually around 85% and pea proteins are often around 72%.”
How hemp supports women’s health and hormones:
“Hemp seed protein is a great choice for women as it’s a good source of ALA omega 3 essential fatty acid,” says Georgia. “Omega 3s are known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-depressive, brain-boosting, anti-cancer (certain cancers like uterine and colon) benefits and could play a positive role in the prevention of menstrual syndrome and postmenopausal hot flushes.”
“Hemp protein is also a source of an anti-inflammatory omega 6, GLA. Best known for being present in evening primrose oil, GLA has long been used for women’s hormonal support.” To check out their extensive range of hemp products, visit www.hemple.com.