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Hemp Protein Powder: Big Benefits and Best Products

hemp protein powder

Hemp protein powder has cultivated a reputation in the realm of plant-based protein as a nutritional powerhouse.

Derived from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant (but free from any psychoactive properties), hemp protein powder has gained traction for its complete amino acid profile, essential fatty acids, and fiber-rich, mineral-rich makeup. 

Often viewed as a worthy plant-based rival to whey protein powder, hemp packs a serious punch nutritionally. Explore the benefits of hemp-derived protein powder, along with what products I recommend as the best.

Nutritional Benefits of Hemp Protein Powder

hemp protein powder benefits

Widely used in today’s best protein powders, hemp provides a host of benefits sought by athletes, vegans, paleo, keto, diabetic, etc.

Hemp protein powder stands out because it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own. 

Hemp protein and amino acids

Amino acids–which are a protein’s building blocks–are an important topic in both the athletic performance world and the vegan world. Consuming essential amino acids, particularly branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), is critical for everyone, especially athletes.

Hemp protein powder is abundant in the amino acids glutamine, arginine, tyrosine, and phenylalanine, and contains moderate amounts of the BCAAs isoleucine, leucine, and valine.[1] 

Digestibility and bioavailability

hemp protein powder digestibility

The digestibility and availability of hemp protein are also considerably higher than other plant proteins, particularly protein powders derived from grains and legumes.[2]

The digestibility of hemp protein is particularly noteworthy, thanks to its edestin and albumin content which is readily broken down and absorbed by the body.[3] Combined with being high in fiber, hemp protein powder is preferred for its digestive-friendly benefits.

Nutrient-dense and omega-rich 

Hemp’s rich nutritional composition extends beyond proteins, offering vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids—which are vital in supporting overall health and wellness. 

Hemp protein is a good source of magnesium, potassium, and iron. Backed by a rich amino acid profile, ample fiber, and gut-friendly digestibility, it’s no wonder why hemp is often considered the perfect protein.

Sustainable protein source

The hemp plant is highly sustainable. It uses significantly less water and natural resources to cultivate, and the plant as a whole can be used entirely, from textiles and paper products to oils and personal hygiene products.

In the food industry, the use of hemp protein can be found in plant milk, protein powder, vegan meat alternatives, meal replacements, gluten-free breads, and so on. In short, hemp protein is anticipated to be a promising sustainable resource for the food industry.[4]

What’s the Best Hemp Protein Powder?

best hemp protein powder

I’ve tried several hemp protein powders–some being hemp-only products and others being protein powder blends containing hemp. Here are a few I recommend for their nutritional and ingredient quality, as well as how good they taste.

Best hemp-only protein powders

When searching for the best vegan hemp protein powders, you’ll want to look for products that are pure, minimally processed, and have a good amino acid profile. Here are some top picks:

Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein

Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein

This product is highly regarded due to its organic certification and absence of additives or sweeteners. Nutriva Hemp Protein is also cold-processed, which helps preserve the nutrients.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Protein Powder

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Yeah! Protein Powder

Known for its clean ingredient list and commitment to sustainability, Manitoba Harvest offers a high-quality powder that’s rich in protein and omega fatty acids. The Max Protein in unsweetened is the purest form it comes in, though there are flavors available from this awesome brand.

Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder

Bob's Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder

A trusted brand in natural foods, Bob’s Red Mill provides an unsweetened option with one ingredient only: hemp protein. Plus it’s lab-tested gluten-free which is great for those with sensitivities.

Each of these options stands out because they offer purity, and quality processing methods and come from reputable brands dedicated to environmental responsibility as well as consumer health.

Best Hemp-Containing Protein Powders

If you’re looking for flavored protein powders that contain hemp as a primary ingredient, here are three of my favorite products that I consume regularly:

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Protein

sunwarrior warrior blend protein powder review

This blend is popular for combining hemp with pea and goji berry proteins, creating a powerful amino acid profile. It’s also free from soy, gluten, and added sugars. Sunwarrior Warrior Blend is also one of the best keto-friendly protein powders.

Vega Protein and Greens

vega protein and greens review

Vega offers a multi-source protein and greens powder that includes hemp along with pea and brown rice proteins. The addition of greens like spinach and kale boosts its nutritional value, making it a valid meal replacement powder. See my review of Vega Protein and Greens.

Orgain Organic Protein Powder

Orgain Organic Unsweetened Unflavored Vegan Protein Powder

Orgain’s formula mixes organic hemp protein with chia seeds, brown rice, and peas to deliver an amino-rich protein powder with high-quality nutrition. It’s also non-GMO and free from artificial ingredients. Check out my full review on Orgain Organic Protein.

These products not only leverage the benefits of hemp but enhance them by pairing it with complementary plant proteins for broad-spectrum nutrition profiles suited to various dietary needs.

You might also like my post on the best-tasting vegan protein powders for more ideas.

How to Use Hemp Protein Powder

how to use hemp protein powder in chia pudding

Incorporating hemp protein powder into your diet is a breeze, thanks to its versatility and mild taste. But keep in mind all products have a distinct taste depending on how they’re flavored. 

An unflavored hemp protein powder will likely taste more earthy while a vanilla option will likely be more sweet. With this in mind, here are several of my favorite ideas for using hemp protein powder.

  • Smoothies: Blend a scoop of hemp protein powder into your favorite smoothie for an effortless nutrient kick. The powder pairs well with fruits and veggies without overpowering their flavors.
  • Homemade granola: Sprinkle over homemade granola before baking for added texture and nutrients, and a bit of earthiness to the taste.
  • Baking: Give baked goods a healthy upgrade by adding hemp protein. Substitute up to 25% of regular flour in recipes like muffins or pancakes for added benefits.
  • Chia pudding: For a twist on chia pudding, incorporate hemp protein which will not only thicken but also increase its satiety factor.
  • Protein shakes: Combine with milk or a dairy-free alternative, add some fruit if you like, and blend for a simple post-workout shake.
  • Oatmeal: Stir protein powder into oatmeal or overnight oats for a morning protein fix that will keep you full longer.
  • Energy bars: Homemade energy bars get an extra punch when you mix in some hemp protein. It binds ingredients together while boosting the nutritional profile.
  • Dips and spreads: Mix it into hummus, guacamole, or any other dip for added nutrients. It blends well without compromising flavor, making snacking healthier.
  • Yogurt parfait: Layer it into a yogurt parfait for an extra nutritious snack or dessert. The nutty flavor of hemp complements fruits and granola beautifully.
  • Pasta sauce: Weirdly enough, I will sometimes stir an unflavored hemp protein powder in pasta sauce for a protein boost. This works well with both creamy and tomato-based sauces.
  • Soups and stews: Mix into soups or stews as they simmer. Hemp protein can thicken the broth slightly while enriching your meal.
  • Veggie burgers: When making veggie burgers, mix hemp protein powder into the patty mixture to help bind ingredients together while adding nutritional value.
  • Salad dressings: Whisk it into dressings to drizzle over salads not only as a thickener but also as a way to up the ante on nutrition.

Whether you’re looking to boost your protein intake or enrich your meals with extra nutrients, these ideas show you how you can make the most of this plant-based powerhouse.

Does Hemp Protein Powder Have Side Effects?

hemp protein powder side effects

While hemp protein powder is generally safe and beneficial for many, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects that some individuals may experience. Here are a few to consider:

  • Digestive issues: Some people might find their digestive system reacts differently due to the high fiber content. Excessive intake can potentially trigger an upset stomach or irregular bowel movements.
  • Allergic reactions: Though rare, allergic reactions can occur in those sensitive to hemp seeds or cannabis-related products.

Being informed about these possible side effects ensures you can enjoy the benefits of hemp protein while listening closely to your body’s responses.

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About the Author

tyler tafelsky vegan protein powder review editor

This article was written by Tyler Tafelsky, the lead editor here at VeganProteinPowder.reviews. Tyler is an experienced writer in the health and athletic space who has tried hundreds of different plant-based nutritional products and writes about his favorites here on this blog. Learn more about Tyler by viewing his full author bio or by following him on social platforms like LinkedInTwitterFacebookPinterest, or Instagram. You can also visit his website at TylerTafelsky.com.

Scientific References:

  1. El-Sohaimy SA, Androsova NV, Toshev AD, El Enshasy HA. Nutritional Quality, Chemical, and Functional Characteristics of Hemp (Cannabis sativa ssp. sativa) Protein Isolate. Plants (Basel). 2022 Oct 24;11(21):2825. doi: 10.3390/plants11212825. PMID: 36365277; PMCID: PMC9656340.
  2. House JD, Neufeld J, Leson G. Evaluating the quality of protein from hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) products through the use of the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score method. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Nov 24;58(22):11801-7. doi: 10.1021/jf102636b. Epub 2010 Oct 26. PMID: 20977230.
  3. Cattaneo C, Givonetti A, Cavaletto M. Protein Mass Fingerprinting and Antioxidant Power of Hemp Seeds in Relation to Plant Cultivar and Environment. Plants (Basel). 2023 Feb 9;12(4):782. doi: 10.3390/plants12040782. PMID: 36840130; PMCID: PMC9966504.
  4. Yano H, Fu W. Hemp: A Sustainable Plant with High Industrial Value in Food Processing. Foods. 2023 Feb 2;12(3):651. doi: 10.3390/foods12030651. PMID: 36766179; PMCID: PMC9913960.

Eddie

Saturday 4th of May 2024

DIRECTED AT Tyler Tafelsky: You should check out MOCU hemp products. I know the founder/owner personally. They are based in Denver. The product is PREMIUM and unlike almst any other hemp pro, MUCU processes the domestic seeds in house. The pro is from the hulled seeds only, no stems, chaff, leaf. The result is a nearly white, very fine, complete protein that assays in the 74%+ range. Fully organic certified, actual, proper, no bs, verifiable, USA certifications.

This owner (Toby), top down does it right.

I fully trust MOCU and have been consuming his hemp oil, hemp pro, hemp kernels and black chia for years. QC, sourcing, production, packaging, freshness, fast shipping, excellent cost:value are second to none.

My previous sources were Nutiva and Manitoba exclusively. I place MOCU well above these massive suppliers, albeit excellent product. NOTE: you will find both sell green hemp pro. ( = husks, chaff, stem, leaf).

Also, you may want to dig a little deeper in your research. Orgain is not quite as advertized. Examine the published amino profiles, compare to other premium brands. You must do the arithmetic conversions in a spreadsheet, enter the comparitive data and run the analysis.

I can provide my XLS if you wish.

Orgain is significantly across the board lower than any of the best brands. Also the hoodwink of advertizing " new ...higher content" however, when reading the label closely, higher content means 2 scoops per "serving." The assay gram to gram is EXACTLY the same as the previous product. You just must eat twice the amount. I do not trust this company - neither the sources, quality control, levels of adulterants in their "grass fed" source, nor the marketing sneak game it seems to find acceptable.

I happen to be a mechanical engineer and high end athelete as well as been studying human nutrition for 30 years, yet one need not be a mathematics expert nor engineer to generate basic research & make these simple comparisons and conclusions for what to put in your body.

Cheers, Respectfully, Ed Mumford

Tyler Tafelsky

Sunday 5th of May 2024

Thanks for your comment, Ed. I will check out MOCU hemp products. I agree, Orgain is far superior to a lot of products on the market. Cheers

Susie Lewis

Wednesday 24th of April 2024

I am now a very sad consumer of Core Protein SHAKES. I love them for their taste and convenience and their ability to up my protein intake effortlessly. Your article leans towards Hemp Based products. If you had to guess....which products available offer both quality, the least amount of "bad ingredients" and taste? Any at all that are pre-made? Ty! Susie Lewis

Tyler Tafelsky

Thursday 25th of April 2024

Hi Susie, this page is all about hemp protein powder. For ready-to-drink protein shake recommendations, check out this post: https://veganproteinpowder.reviews/blog/healthiest-vegan-protein-shake/