Hemp Protein: Health Benefits, Nutrition, and Uses
In this Article
In this Article
In this Article
- Health Benefits
- Amounts and Dosage
Hemp protein comes from the cannabis plant and is an excellent source of plant-based protein. It doesn’t contain any THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. It’s a very sustainable plant that can grow in a variety of climates, and the different parts of the plant can be used in many ways.
History shows that hemp seeds as a food source go back thousands of years. Documents show that hemp was an important source of protein, fiber, and medicine in the Mediterranean, Egypt, and Morocco many centuries B.C.
You can eat hemp seeds in two ways: with the shells removed or as a powder made from ground-up seeds. Both ways provide a great source of nutrition and many health benefits. Whether you already eat a plant-based diet or not, hemp protein can become a great staple in your diet.
There are several health benefits of hemp protein, which is why people have been eating it for thousands of years. Here are some of the top benefits of both hemp seeds and hemp protein powder:
Lean Source of Protein
Hemp seeds and powder are lean sources of plant-based protein, making them a great supplement to a plant-based diet. If you’re trying to lower your meat intake, you can try incorporating hemp products into your diet. About 25% of each hemp seed is protein, and the seeds are quite low in fat.
Eating lean proteins boosts metabolism, benefits digestion, and promotes lean body mass. Hemp protein doesn’t contain any cholesterol or saturated fats, unlike many sources of animal proteins. Three tablespoons of hemp protein powder contain around 90 calories and 3 grams of fat while packing in 15 grams of protein.
Rich in Amino Acids
The human body needs 22 amino acids to function properly. Amino acids are used by the brain to build protein. The body gets amino acids from food, typically from animal products like meat, milk, and eggs.
However, hemp products contain all of the amino acids needed to help repair muscle cells, regulate the nervous system, and regulate brain function. This makes them a great substitute for animal products, especially since your body cannot produce many of these acids by itself.
May Prevent Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer
Both hemp protein powder and hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids help to maintain good cardiovascular health. They protect the heart, help to maintain lean body mass, and maintain brain function.
Thanks to these essential fatty acids, one of the most important benefits of hemp protein is that it can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Hemp contains tocopherols, or compounds that naturally help to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The natural properties of hemp products help promote antioxidant activity in the body, too.
Hemp products also have high levels of polyunsaturated fats that support heart health. They do this by preventing artery blockage and lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Polyunsaturated fats can also benefit you after a cardiac event since they work to protect the heart.
Vitamins and Minerals
Another health benefit of hemp protein is that it’s a natural source of many important vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. In particular, hemp products are good sources of iron, magnesium, and manganese. These minerals help to keep several parts of your body working properly, in addition to preventing sickness and disease.
Hemp seeds and hemp protein powder also contain a healthy dose of potassium, which helps balance your body’s water and electrolytes. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain about 370 milligrams of potassium, which is twice what you’ll get from other sources like spinach and oranges.
Amounts and Dosage
There are many ways that you can incorporate hemp products into your diet. A standard serving of hemp seeds or hemp protein powder is about 3 tablespoons, or 30 grams. You can add the seeds to salad, casserole, cereal, baked goods, or smoothie bowls.
Hemp protein powder is a good choice if you’re a fan of smoothies. It blends in well, and it’s a great source of vegan protein if you’re looking for a boost before or after a workout. You can also blend the powder into yogurt or smoothie bowls.
Euphytica: “Hempseed as a nutritional source: An overview.”
Food Revolution Network: “All About Hemp Seeds — A Nutritionally Dense Superfood.”
Fundación CANNA: “Nutritional benefits of hemp seeds.”
Hemp Benefits: “Benefits of Hemp Protein for Health.”
Nutrition & Metabolism: “The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed.”
One Green Planet: “Why This Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan Protein Needs to Be Every Fitness Buff’s Best Friend.”
Discover all the health benefits of hemp protein powder and hemp seeds and why you should incorporate these plant-based proteins into your diet.
The 7 Best Hemp Protein Powders of 2021, According to a Dietitian
Power up with these plant-based picks
Eliza Savage, MS, RD is Senior Editor at Verywell Fit, a registered dietitian, and a published author.
Elaine Hinzey is a fact checker, writer, researcher, and registered dietitian.
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Hemp protein powder is an excellent source of vegan protein that contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and filling fiber. Hemp seed is technically a nut, so it’s no wonder the functional food is chock full of healthy fats and vitamins and minerals. It’s also a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Whether you’re looking for an allergy-friendly alternative to soy or whey protein, or just prefer the nutty taste of hemp seed, hemp protein is a versatile, mild-tasting powder that’s easy to digest. It blends well into smoothies and can be used in baking to give your favorite recipes a nutrition boost. Depending on what you’re looking for, there are many types of hemp protein powder, including 100 percent hemp protein or hemp mixed into a protein blend.
Here, the best hemp protein powders:
Best Overall: Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Hemp Seed Protein Powder
Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder earns our top ranking, thanks to its exceptional quality, purity, value, and versatility. Made from organic, non-GMO, and sustainably-grown hemp seeds, the powder is rich in amino acids, protein, and fiber. It’s also a great source of omega-3 fats and antioxidants. Plus, Nutiva’s all-natural cold press extraction process doesn’t use any harmful chemicals or heat.
Like other hemp protein powders, it has a distinct, nutty taste, but it blends well into smoothies and shakes. It can also be used as a flour replacement when making muffins, bread, or other baked goods. One three-tablespoon serving contains 90 calories and 15 grams of protein with 8 grams of fiber.
Best Budget: Just Hemp Foods Hemp Protein Powder Plus Fiber
An excellent option for those looking for a quality but inexpensive plant-based protein powder, this hemp powder from Just Hemp Foods is a great value. It’s perfect for those following a vegetarian or vegan eating plan or those who have had unpleasant side effects from dairy-based protein powders. It’s free of soy, lactose, and gluten, so it’s ideal for those with allergies to typical protein powder ingredients.
Hemp protein can have a grainy texture, so it’s best to blend it into a smoothie or mix it into other recipes. One serving of 4 tablespoons contains 130 calories, 0.6 grams omega-3s, 14 grams fiber, and 11 grams of protein.
Best Organic: Navitas Organics Hemp Powder
Choosing a USDA Organic protein powder ensures that your protein is made from high-quality ingredients. Sourced exclusively from a small family of organic farms in Canada, Navitas Organics Hemp Powder is free of fillers and additives. It is also an excellent source of all nine essential amino acids and fiber. This vegan, gluten-free powder is cold-pressed from the whole hemp seed to preserve its potent nutrients.
Hemp protein is an easy way to add more plant-based protein, iron, and magnesium to your vegan or vegetarian diet. One serving of this nutrient-dense Navitas Organics Hemp Powder provides 40 percent of your daily value of iron and 60 percent of your daily value for magnesium. Four tablespoons offer 120 calories, 7 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of protein.
Best Unsweetened: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Organic Max Protein Protein Powder
Some protein powders are filled with artificial flavors and sweeteners that may do more harm than good. Choosing an unsweetened protein powder is best for avoiding unnecessary ingredients, including colors, flavors, and sugar. Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Yeah! Organic Protein Powder is made with only one ingredient: organic hemp protein powder.
Whether you have it in your hot cereal at breakfast time or mix it into your yogurt for a mid-afternoon snack, this all-natural powder packs 13 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber per serving to keep you satisfied for hours. One 4-tablespoon serving contains 130 calories with no added sugar. You can also use it as a healthy substitute for flour when baking. If you prefer more flavor, the powder also comes in Chocolate and Vanilla, using organic coconut sugar as a sweetener and natural flavoring.
Best High Fiber: Nutiva Cold-Pressed Raw Hemp Seed Protein Powder
Many protein powders pack in the protein but skimp on fiber. Choosing fiber-rich foods can help you to feel fuller longer, improve digestion, and even reduce the risk of cancer. While most hemp proteins are naturally high in fiber, Nutiva’s Organic Hi Fiber Hemp Protein has an extra edge over most products on the market, offering 4 grams of fiber per tablespoon. One 3-tablespoon serving also provides 80 calories, 11 grams of protein, and 25 percent of the recommended daily amount of iron.
While choosing high-fiber foods is key for meeting the average daily recommended fiber intake of 25 grams, a quality supplement like Nutiva Organic Hi Fiber is ideal for those looking to boost protein and fiber from a whole foods-based product. The higher price tag is worth the extra money: the USDA Organic product is committed to quality and is also gluten-free and Certified Vegan.
Best Hemp Protein Blend: Sunwarrior Organic Vegan Protein Powder Warrior Blend
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend takes the top pick among hemp protein powder blends. The proprietary blend of organic pea protein, hemp protein, and goji berry contains 19 grams of plant-based protein per scoop. The USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Certified blend is allergy-friendly, as it is free of soy, gluten, and dairy.
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend is also free of added sugars and artificial sweeteners. It comes in five flavors, including berry, chocolate, mocha, vanilla, and natural. The natural flavor doesn’t taste overly sweet, so it won’t overpower your favorite beverage. With only four ingredients: pea protein, hemp protein, goji berry, and ground coconut, Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend Natural is a super clean choice. Note that the flavored versions contain additional ingredients, including the specific flavor and stevia.
One scoop provides 100 calories, 1 gram of fiber, 19 grams of protein, and no added sugar.
Best Hemp Protein Blend Runner-Up: ALOHA Organic Protein Powder
Aloha’s USDA-Organic plant-based protein mixes pea, brown rice, hemp, and pumpkin seed protein to provide 18 grams of plant-based protein per serving. The blend contains 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving from acacia fiber, a rich source of soluble fiber. Aloha’s powder uses coconut sugar and monk fruit to sweeten the powder instead of erythritol or stevia.
The vegan powder also contains medium-chain triglycerides from coconut oil. Aloha protein, made with simple whole-food ingredients, comes in three flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and banana. The vanilla flavor has a creamy coconut taste from coconut sugar and coconut oil that boosts the nutrition of your favorite smoothie, baked good, or oatmeal. One serving provides 120 calories.
If you’re looking for a high-quality USDA Organic hemp protein that’s rich in fiber and protein, Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder (view at Amazon) is a reasonably-priced hemp protein. If you’re looking for a hemp protein powder with a bit more flavor, a blend like Sunwarrior Protein Warrior Blend Vanilla (view at Amazon) is an excellent choice.
What to Look for in a Hemp Protein Powder
Many hemp protein powders contain only one ingredient: hemp protein. Aim to choose a hemp protein that contains only ingredients that you can read and as few ingredients as possible. Consider quality, and select USDA Organic, non-GMO Project Verified products when possible.
Hemp protein powder has a naturally nutty taste but comes in different flavor variations, including unflavored and typical chocolate, vanilla, and fruit flavors. If you prefer a relatively neutral protein that doesn’t overpower the smoothie or food you mix it into, then an unflavored hemp protein may be best for you. If you want a bit more flavor, consider a flavored hemp protein blend.
Fiber & Protein:
Consider your dietary fiber and protein needs when selecting a protein supplement. Hemp protein contains dietary fiber, which can help to keep you satisfied. Some hemp protein powders contain equal amounts of protein and fiber, while others contain less fiber. If you are looking for a higher fiber product, choose mostly or 100 percent hemp protein powder. If you’re looking for more protein and less fiber, choose a protein blend that integrates hemp protein.
What Experts Say
“Hemp protein is an excellent source of easily digested plant-based protein and fiber. Many people with allergies or intolerances to other plant proteins such as soy or nuts can use hemp as a safe and healthy alternative. Adding hemp protein to a smoothie or sprinkling hemp seeds onto a yogurt bowl or salad is a great way to pack in some extra protein, fiber, and healthy fats.”—Nathalie Rhone, MS, RD
Why Trust Verywell Fit?
A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements, including protein powders. I spent time reviewing the most current research on hemp protein and looking at multiple products and brands. I believe the hemp protein supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands that I would feel comfortable recommending to my clients, friends, and family. I have tried the majority of the hemp protein powders recommended, and use plant-based protein powder—including hemp— regularly in smoothies and baked goods.—Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN
How We Select Supplements
Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.
The best hemp protein powders are rich in omega-3s, fiber, and protein. Our nutritionist researched the best products so you can find the right one.