What is Hemp Powder?

Hemp powder, also known as hemp protein, is a nutritional powder made from hemp seeds. It is rich in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

What is Hemp Powder

Hemp powder provides a range of health benefits, which is why it has been used as a food source for thousands of years.

What is Hemp?

Hemp comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, the same plant that produces marijuana. However, hemp contains very low levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana responsible for the “high” feeling.

While marijuana and hemp are botanically related, they have been bred over thousands of years to be used for very different purposes. Hemp has been primarily bred for industrial uses like textiles, paper, clothing, biodegradable plastics, construction materials, and food.

Hemp Seeds and Hemp Hearts

Hemp seeds, sometimes called hemp hearts, are small, brown seeds from the hemp plant. They have a mild, nutty flavor and can be consumed raw, cooked, roasted, or ground into hemp powder.

Hemp hearts can be consumed whole, with the shell on, or with the shell removed. Removing the shell gives the hemp hearts a softer texture and slightly sweeter flavor.

About 25% of the calories in hemp hearts come from high-quality plant-based protein. Hemp hearts offer additional nutrition like healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Nutritional Profile of Hemp Powder

Hemp protein powder is made by pressing hemp seeds to remove the oils, then grinding the remaining seed cake into a fine powder.

Here is the nutrition in a standard 1/4 cup (30 gram) serving of hemp protein powder:

  • 120 calories
  • 15 grams protein - Contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source
  • 8 grams fiber - An excellent source, about 30% of the recommended daily intake
  • 3 grams fat - Mostly healthy unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6
  • Good source of iron, magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants

Hemp protein is more nutritious than other refined plant proteins like soy, rice, and pea. This is because the whole hemp seed is very gently processed to make the powder, retaining more of its nutritional value.

Key Takeaway: Hemp protein powder provides a healthy dose of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals in each serving.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Hemp Protein Powder

There are many excellent health benefits associated with consuming hemp powder:

1. Highly Digestible Protein

Hemp protein powder contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. It also has a protein digestibility score of 91-98%, meaning your body can easily break it down and utilize the amino acids.

The digestibility comes from the high amounts of edestin and albumin proteins found in hemp. Both your body and brain need amino acids to function optimally, so having a steady supply from your diet is important.

2. May Lower Heart Disease and Cancer Risk

Hemp protein is rich in arginine and glutamic acids, both of which have been associated with reducing heart disease risk factors. The omega-3, omega-6, and gamma-linolenic fatty acids in hemp also help lower inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

Chronic inflammation is a key driver of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and neurological decline. Therefore, getting anti-inflammatory compounds from your diet is extremely beneficial.

3. Gut-Friendly Fiber

With 8 grams of fiber per serving, hemp protein powder is an excellent way to increase your daily fiber intake. Fiber has many benefits, including:

  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced cholesterol
  • Stabilized blood sugar levels
  • Increased satiety after meals

Getting enough fiber is also vital for maintaining healthy gut flora. An imbalanced or unhealthy microbiome has been linked with digestive issues, autoimmune disease, obesity, and even depression.

4. Antioxidants Protect Cells

In addition to fiber, protein, and healthy fats, hemp seeds contain antioxidant compounds called lignanamides. Antioxidants prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, which reduces risk for chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

The antioxidants in hemp are one of the reasons it has cardiovascular and anti-cancer benefits.

5. Ideal Balance of Omega Fatty Acids

Hemp contains the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in an optimal 3:1 ratio. Most modern diets contain up to 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3, which can lead to chronic inflammation in the body.

Consuming more food sources of omega-3, like hemp seeds or powder, helps restore balance between these two important fatty acids.

6. Rich in Minerals

Hemp protein powder is high in minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. These minerals support many essential bodily processes related to energy, muscle function, nerve signaling, oxygen transport, enzyme reactions, and bone density.

Unlike many plant foods, the minerals in hemp protein powder have very high bioavailability, meaning your body can easily absorb and utilize them.

7. Sustainable & Environmentally-Friendly

Finally, hemp is environmentally friendly to produce compared to other crops. It requires less water, no pesticides, adds nutrients back into soil, and absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows.

Choosing sustainable foods like hemp protein powder over meat not only benefits your health but also reduces your environmental impact.

Key Takeaway: Consuming hemp protein powder regularly has science-backed benefits for heart health, cancer risk, digestion, inflammation, weight management, and more.

Using Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp protein powder is light brown/green in color and has an earthy, nutty taste. It can be used similarly to other health powders like soy, pea, rice, whey, or plant protein blends.

Add hemp protein powder to:

  • Smoothies - Blends extremely well and adds nutrition
  • Overnight oats - Mix it into your oats and chia pudding recipes
  • Baked goods like muffins, breads, cookies - Replace up to 25% of the flour
  • Yogurt bowls - Sprinkle it on top of yogurt with fruit and nuts
  • Pancakes and waffles - Substitute up to 50% of the regular flour
  • Energy bites and bars - Great binding ingredient that holds everything together

You can also use hemp protein to coat meats or fish before cooking, or blend it into dips, sauces, and dressings.

Start with 1-2 tablespoons (10-15 grams) per serving and adjust up or down from there. Too much at once may cause digestive upset.

Also, be sure to store your hemp protein powder in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer after opening. This prevents the healthy fats in it from oxidizing and going rancid.

Potential Side Effects of Hemp Protein

Hemp protein powder is generally well-tolerated with very few side effects. However, some things to be aware of:

  • May cause digestive upset if too much is consumed at once as the body adjusts to the fiber load
  • Allergic reactions are possible but rare
  • Not enough research on safe upper limits for pregnant/nursing women, people with anemia or compromised immunity

Also note that consuming normal amounts of hemp seeds or protein powder will not cause a positive drug test for THC. Only very high doses of over 300 grams of hemp may affect drug test results.


How does hemp protein taste?

Hemp protein powder has an earthy, nutty, botanical taste. The taste takes some getting used to for some people, but many people enjoy it, especially in smoothies or other mixed recipes.

Is hemp protein gluten-free?

Yes, hemp protein powder is naturally gluten-free. This makes it a good choice for anyone following a gluten-free, paleo, or keto diet.

What’s the difference between hemp protein and whey protein?

Whey protein comes from dairy while hemp protein is 100% plant-based. Hemp protein contains fiber and healthy fats that whey lacks. Whey may be absorbed by the body more quickly, but hemp protein provides a more balanced nutritional profile.

Is hemp protein powder safe during pregnancy?

There is not currently enough quality research on hemp protein powder to determine if it is definitely safe during pregnancy. Pregnant women should exercise caution and consult their doctor before adding hemp protein powder supplements.

Can hemp protein help you lose weight?

Yes, hemp protein powder can aid weight loss efforts in a few ways:

  • High protein intake helps increase satiety after meals
  • The fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer between meals
  • Essential fatty acids may increase fat burning and metabolism
  • Hemp is nutrient-dense without lots of calories

Replacing higher-calorie foods with hemp protein is an effective way to reduce daily calorie intake. Combining hemp protein shakes or smoothies with resistance exercise helps build or maintain muscle mass. More muscle mass means you burn more calories, even at rest.


Hemp protein powder is an extremely versatile and environmentally sustainable plant-based protein source perfect for smoothies, baking, supplements, and more. It provides a solid dose of nutrition, including high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

Research indicates consuming hemp protein and hemp seeds may lower inflammation and risk for chronic diseases. It also supports healthy digestion, heart functioning, weight management, and graceful aging.

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