What is hemp protein? Hemp is a superior muscle building food that is fast gaining popularity in the health and fitness industry as a plant based protein superstar. This post will explain just why it comes out on top as one of the best muscle building supplements compared to other popular proteins such as pea, soy and rice, and why you should consider its addition into your diet whether you are in training or not.
Hemp protein benefits
Hemp truly is a gift from nature, and as you’ve probably noticed, hemp products are everywhere right now Hemp, containing 20 amino acids (including 9 essential amino acids) is considered a complete protein. Essential amino acids need to be added into the diet as the body cannot produce its own (hence the reason they are essential), and all these are abundant in hemp.
Amino acids are the compounds that combine together to make protein, and both of these are the building blocks of the entire body. This explains why protein plays such a crucial role in human health, and also why it is such a buzz word in the fitness industry where it is used for tissue growth and repair as a result of vigorous exercise.
However, getting enough protein is also vital to us all, whatever our age and whether we are active or not, and not getting enough can lead to muscle wastage – a VERY bad thing in terms of your health because muscle mass not only helps regulate hormones, but is also vital to keep your body stable and your organs and bones protected.
Benefits of Lean Muscle Mass
1. FAT BURNING
Muscle is the engine of the fat burning process; and muscle, gram for gram burns more calories than fat even when at rest, all day, every day. And so it makes sense to build a good framework of muscle on your body for this reason alone.
You can do this more efficiently with certain weight bearing exercises, such as resistance training, HIIT (high intensity interval training), power walking, dancing, kettle bell training, or basically anything that uses controlled movements. These will all cause resistance in the muscles, thus making them stronger and more powerful over time.
Knowing the basics of how to burn fat and build muscle will not only help to keep you fit and healthy for life, but will also reduce your risk of disease. And of course you will look and feel amazing to boot too! Remember that you don’t need to use heavy weights, or even any weights at all to build muscle, and there are a lot of exercises that use your own body weight as resistance, such as power walking, dancing, and most HIIT exercises.
2. BONE DENSITY
Building more muscle will give you much stronger joints, ligaments, and bones that are less likely to break in any situation be it accidents or sports injuries. This will be especially beneficial as you age, which is when bone density naturally decreases and the recovery time after a break or a fall increases.
3. POTENTIALLY LOWER RISK OF DIABETES
Having more muscle mass on your frame makes it easier for your muscles to absorb sugars directly from the bloodstream. This is good news as it means those excess sugars rather than being stored as fat, will be stored as glycogen in the muscles ready to be used directly for energy.
Respected studies show, this is an especially a good thing in terms of diabetes, which is an inability for the body to clear excess sugars from the blood efficiently.
4. INCREASED ENERGY
As your body adapts to the higher demands put upon it through strength training, it builds up a reserve of energy which then makes ALL other smaller tasks seem like a piece of cake. Have you ever noticed how energetic you feel after a run, or any other exercise that gets your heart rate up? All of a sudden you’re bursting with energy and ready to go. That’s how great exercise is for your body.
I have noticed this major benefit in myself since I started regularly doing resistance training and building up my muscle mass, plus eating a diet high in plant foods in general. I always feel like I’m ready to do anything, and never have that ‘can’t be bothered’ or ‘I’m too tired’ feeling that I used to get whilst trying to psyche myself up for physical activity.
5. CUT YOUR RISK OF INJURY
The more muscle mass you have on your body, the less likely you are to injure or break bones. Think about it like this: having plenty of muscle around your stomach or back will help protect your internal organs and spine from injury in certain situations, such as being hit by a car, falling off a ladder, or even minor accidents such as tripping on a paving slab.
6. LOWERING OF BLOOD PRESSURE
Strength training not only is the best drug free option to lower high blood pressure, but it also strengthens your heart (which in itself is a muscle), making it easier for it to do its job of pumping blood around the body.
Exercise also lowers blood pressure naturally. Even 5 minutes of running up and down the stairs 3 x daily will get your blood pressure down, so there’s no excuses on this one. Just get moving as much as possible and you will be repaid in dividends by your body.
7. MAY HELP RELIEVE DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
Weight bearing exercise (along with a low GI diet) played a huge role in helping ease my depression, and these two things combined can really work well to boost your mood. This is because a cascade of feel good hormones and endorphins are released when you exercise, which in turn makes you feel stronger both physically AND mentally.
Exercise is way more effective with depression when combined with a low GI diet, high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, and a good B vitamin complex. Low GI eating keeps your blood sugar more stable, and this in itself can help ease anxiety and depression. It cannot be stressed enough that all these things work in harmony, and should be done together to feel the greatest benefits.
It must be stressed that if you are suffering from any mental illness it is crucial to consult with your doctor before you take any further steps. This way you can work alongside any other treatments that may be recommended.
8. STRESS RELIEVER
Stress may actually play a part in many modern diseases (including the above two).
When you’re stressed, your body believes there to be a potential threat. This then throws you into fight or flight mode which triggers the release of the hormone cortisol into your system, thus triggering a big hit of sugar into the bloodstream. It does this to give you the immediate energy to either run away, or fight the real, or usually imagined, threat (hence the term fight or flight).
This over reaction is a throwback from our caveman DNA, but because of the continual stresses in modern life is something that is being triggered for many of us, all day, every day. This gives you some concept of how easy it is to mess your whole body up over time, and not even know it’s happening until sickness or disease takes hold.
How to Burn excess sugar off
The reality of the situation is that usually there is no actual threat that you would need this extreme burst of adrenaline for, and therefore you never do burn off those extra sugars from your bloodstream like your system was designed to do. This can cause them to be laid down as fat, and were talking specifically dangerous belly fat here which is the worst kind.
Not only does exercise help burn off these sugars before they turn into fat, but it also releases opiates into your system. These are the body’s own natural painkillers that act as powerful anti stress messengers to make you feel relaxed and chilled.
9. GREAT BODY
Finally (and probably one of the best side effects), resistance training will get you buff, and there’s NOTHING more satisfying than looking in the mirror and seeing a fit, healthy body – nothing! Not just for aesthetic reasons, but because you know that in having a lean body, and well defined muscles, you are helping to protect yourself from many diseases, and adding quality years to your life in the process.
Who is hemp protein good for?
Hemp protein is good for those in training of some kind, or even to help build you up if you are sick and cannot keep much down. It’s literally like a meal in itself because it is so nutritious, and also a great supplement for for those following plant based and vegan diets where meeting protein needs can be more difficult, especially if you don’t understand the importance of correct food combining.
We all need protein, just some more than others; and usually a person who does no exercise and eats animal products will be obtaining more than their daily requirements, therefore in this case there will be no need to supplement.
If you’re in recovery from an operation or illness then your requirements may also be greater. Or, if you eat lots of junk food, then a low GI protein powder like hemp may help stabilise your blood sugars, plus it will fill you up and stops you snacking – ONLY works if you use it instead of unhealthy foods and not as well as!
Benefits of supplementing Hemp Protein
- It provides the perfect 3:1 ratio of the fatty acids omega 3 and 6; and also contains the healthful GLA (Glamma Linolenic Acid) which is very hard to find in other plant products.
- It contains NO sugar or saturated fats.
- Hemp helps to cleanse the colon due to its high amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber. These will help push toxins out of your body, and would be more effective still when combined with other foods that help to detoxify your system.
- It is highly nutritious and contains high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, chlorophyl and minerals.
- Hemp protein can also help regulate blood sugar, making it perfect for anybody who may suffer with intense sugar/carbohydrate cravings – this is due to it being high fiber with a low GI value. Low GI foods regulate blood sugar levels to help keep them more stable, and you full up! Find out more about low GI foods and try to eat them daily instead of junk foods.
- Immune system boost – hemp protein contains the globular proteins albumin and edestin, both of which help with anti-body formation thus making them vital for a healthy immune system.
- Hemp, being a plant protein, is superior to animal as it does not contribute to inflammation in the body like many animal products do – in fact, it may lower inflammation.
- Hemp is a perfect addition for those on a plant based, or vegan diet plan.
- Chronic inflammation is also caused by stress, and this stress induced type of inflammation may also promote disease. This is why I recommend veering towards a more plant based way of eating altogether for increased protection.
Hemp protein powder tastes better than some of the other plant protein powders out there, but still, you will probably want to whiz it up with some nut milk and a banana (or some other sweetener) to not only make it a lot tastier, but add extra nutrients and make it more filling.
Eating it like this will also make it a complete snack, or even a whole meal substitute for those wishing to lose weight or are in recovery. As it might take some getting used to you can build up the dosage incrementally to see what your gut tolerance to it is like.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
The average person needs about 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight per day, but this may also be dependent on individual needs. It’s important to remember that the body can only assimilate about 30 grams of protein at a time, so consuming more than this may very well be useless, and could even go down as fat instead if not burnt off. Leave at least 2 hour periods in between high protein powder supplements and other meals.
If you feel you need some extra plant based amino acids in your life, then supplementing with an organic hemp protein powder would be a great choice. I would advise to always buy organic not just for for superior quality, but also to cut your chances of the over consumption of any pesticides and fertilizers that may be lurking in there.
Hemp Protein Powder Side Effects
When you first start experimenting with ANY protein powders, then possible side effects can occur as your body gets used to them. Remember, protein powders contain just the isolated protein from the plant, so therefore the ‘whole food’ has be fractured in some way which can make it more unnatural for the body to digest.
In terms of a protein powder extraction of protein has to be done, otherwise you would find it hard to eat enough of the whole food to get the protein you require (or if you did you would end up consuming way too many calories).
Possible side effects include:-
- BLOATING AND DIARRHEA – This can be more prevalent in the beginning, but as your body becomes accustomed to protein powders you will more than likely find that it eases off. If it doesn’t, then you should consider changing to another protein powder, or ideally use a blend.
- POSSIBLE THC SENSITIVITY – Really rare, but some people have found that hemp can have side effects such as hallucinations or feeling of euphoria a bit like the drug itself. This however, is very unusual and ONLY if hemp is consumed in very high amounts, so it would probably never be an issue if you stick to the guidelines on the packaging.
Hemp Vs Whey
Both of these powders have a compete amino aid profile, but you may find more gastrointestinal problems can occur with whey (which is dairy based) for the simple fact that a lot of people are dairy intolerant, especially in the high doses that occur in an isolated protein powder.
Also, plant base proteins are ‘cleaner’, more anti inflammatory, and therefore less acid forming than animal products, which can also make a difference to your general health and recovery times after exercise.
Protein Powder Blends
Another great option that you could go for is a plant based protein blend, as it’s always good to shake things up and not stick to the same protein sources all the time. Doing this will be sure to give you an array of ALL the amino acids and nutrients vital to health. Blends are usually specially formulated to incorporate different protein sources in their perfect ratios for a complete amino acid profile.
There are some great protein powders available on the market right now, and many of them have added goodies such as green superfood powders, digestive enzymes, nutrients, probiotics, and so many other healthful additions all in one nutritious hit.
The best times to use a protein powder supplement is if you in heavy training, doing lots of exercise, are wishing to cut fat and build muscle faster, want to boost weight loss (along with a calorie controlled diet), if you are plant based or vegan and don’t obtain enough amino acids through foods (find out more here), or if you are sick and need to build yourself up in order to minimise muscle wastage.
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I’d love to know how you get on with your protein powders, how well they work for you, and also what your favorites are. It’s all great for my research, and helps me to deliver the best possible information to my readers. Your comments, or any questions you may have are always very appreciated and will be answered personally by me. Thanks for taking the time to stop by today!