1. Hemp Seed contains all nine essential amino acids:
Of the twenty amino acids we need, nine are classed as ‘essential’. These are the ones our bodies cannot synthesise from other amino acids and metabolic particles. This is why they must be consumed as part of our diet. Hemp seed contains significant amounts of all nine essential amino acids, making it the perfect way to ensure your body is getting the right nutrition on a daily basis.
2. Hemp Seed contains more useable protein per gram than almost all other foods:
Hemp Seed contains 25 grams of protein per 100 grams. This is higher than all other plant sources, and higher than or equivalent to almost all meat and fish. On paper, soy appears to out-perform hemp as a protein source in a few ways. Hemp seed is 25% protein, whereas soy is 32%. Soy also contains slightly higher levels of eight out of the nine essential amino acids. However, it is important to look at how much of this protein can actually be used by the body. Soy, unlike hemp seed, contains high levels of trypsin inhibitors (see below) which prevent all of its protein and essential amino acids being absorbed by the body.
3. Hemp Seed does not contain trypsin inhibitors:
Trypsin is a digestive enzyme which is secreted by the pancreas as trypsinogen. The essential function of trypsin is to break down proteins in the small intestine so that the body can use all the available amino acids and other nutrients it contains. Trypsin inhibitors block the function of this enzyme, so less protein is broken down and digested. Hemp Seed is rare among food protein sources in that it does not contain trypsin inhibitors, so all of the protein and essential amino acids it contains are available to the body. Meat, nuts, soy, lima beans and raw egg white all contain trypsin inhibitors.
4. Hemp Seed contains easily digestible protein:
Since it is dense, fibrous animal muscle, meat is hard to digest and requires more acid and enzyme secretion. Dairy products that are high in lactose are also difficult to digest and can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhoea. Nuts contain phytic acid, which is indigestible and can cause discomfort for some people; it also blocks the absorption of zinc and iron, which are also essential for good health (and found in hempseed!). Protein from eggs becomes difficult to digest if they are boiled. Beans, though good sources of protein, contain saponins which prevent protein digestion, and phytic acid. All in all, hemp seed-which contains edestin and albumin, two high-quality proteins – is unquestionably one of the easiest proteins to digest.
5. Hemp Seed contains the perfect 2.5:1 balance of essential fatty acids:
Hemp Seed and hemp seed oil are extremely generous sources of the essential fatty acids linoleic acid, commonly known as omega-6, and alpha-linoleic acid, also called omega-3. As with the essential amino acids mentioned above, they are classified as ‘essential’ because they are indispensable for heath, yet cannot be created by the human body and must be a part of our diet. Just as essential as these fatty acids themselves is the ratio in which they are consumed, since proper absorption and use of both depends on this. An excess of omega-6 can actually cause serious health problems. As recently as 1995, it was believed that the best balance of omega-6 to omega-3 was between 5:1 and 10:1. More recent research indicates that this is an unhealthily high ratio. It is now known that between 2:1 and 3:1 is the most beneficial balance. Interestingly, this is the balance usually found in traditional diets in Japan and the Mediterranean, both places with a historically low rate of heart disease. Hemp Seed has a ratio of around 2.5:1, making it the ideal balance. For comparison, soy has a 7:1 ratio.
6. Hemp Seed farming is beneficial to the environment:
Much has been written about the benefits of farming hemp: it requires less water, fertilizers and pesticides than other food crops, it improves the soil for the following crops instead of depleting it, and it can lock in large amounts of carbon both while growing and when used in products for the building and textile industry. The meat farming industry, on the other hand, is both environmentally destructive and causes extremely high carbon emissions. A study on the potential for agriculture to create carbon ‘sinks’ rather than carbon production calls for a radical change in farming practices, and hemp fits the need for a high-protein crop perfectly.