Hemp milk is a plant-based milk derived from hemp seeds.
It is produced by processing hemp seeds with water, which results in a milk flavored liquid. It is available in many different varieties such as sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, fortified, etc.
It is a good alternative for people with lactose-intolerance who cannot use cow milk. It is also a great choice for people with nut allergies (soy, almond, etc.) and vegans.
Hemp Milk- Preparation and Constituents
In the industrial setting, hemp milk is produced by grounding and rubbing the hemp seed with water for 5-12 hours at low temperatures.
The milk is then separated from the hemp seed solids.
The liquid is then processed and provided to the consumers. Market-bought hemp milk is usually costly, contain fillers/gums but free of bitter taste.
It can also be made at home using hemp seeds. Hemp seeds (half cup) can be mixed with water (4 cups) and added to a blender.
The mixture is then blended and sieved through a strainer. This might have a slightly bitter taste.
Homemade milk should be refrigerated and consumed within 2-3 days. It is cheaper and free of preservatives.
250 ml of typical hemp milk has nearly 100 calories (sweetened varieties) and 60 of those come from fat. It also contains 7 grams of total fat, which is nearly 11% of the daily value required by humans.
It has no trans fat and cholesterol. 5 grams of polyunsaturated and 1 gram of saturated fats make up the fatty acid profile.
250 ml hemp milk also offers 2 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbohydrate along with 110mg of sodium (5% of daily need). It contains other important minerals including phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron etc.
Health Benefits of Hemp Milk
Hemp milk has its unique nutrient profile and therefore exhibits some properties that are useful for the drinkers.
It is rich in healthy omega fats and minerals, which make it a good alternative to dairy/nut milk. It is also low in saturated, unhealthy fats.
1. Hemp milk is a rich source of calcium, phosphorous and magnesium
Hemp milk is full of minerals such as calcium and phosphorous. One serving (240ml) of hemp milk has approximately 300mg of calcium, which is nearly 40% of the daily calcium requirement. It has more calcium than cow’s milk.
Similarly, one serving of hemp milk fulfills nearly 45% of daily phosphorous requirement while cow’s milk and almond milk provides only 22% and 15% of daily phosphorus requirement respectively. No other variety of commonly available plant-based milk provides as much phosphorus as hemp milk.
Hemp milk also provides nearly 20% of daily magnesium requirement compared to cow’s milk, which provides only 6%.
Calcium is the fifth most abundant mineral in the human body. It has many skeletal and functional roles to play in the body.
It is important to maintain bone density, various signaling pathways, muscle contraction, etc. It is an essential element and it has to be obtained through diet.
Calcium supplements have been shown to reduce the risk of development of osteoporosis and bone loss in adults.
Calcium supplementation can improve bone mass in adults. Calcium is also involved in maintaining membrane functionality, blood coagulation, enzymatic activity, etc.
Calcium is necessary for nerve signal transmission, contraction of muscles (sarcoplasm), secretion of many hormones, etc. Meeting the optimum calcium requirement might also be helpful in preventing weight gain and obesity.
Calcium supplements have also been linked to a reduction in the risk of hypertension and colon cancer.
Phosphorus is another important element for the body. It is the second most abundant mineral in the human body. It maintains skeletal and organ health along with many other important functions.
Phosphorus makes up the energy currency of the body called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It is important for optimum metabolism and nutrient absorption and utilization.
It also helps improve cognitive function and regulates dental health. It is necessary for fetal growth and development.
Phosphorous deficiency can result in loss of bone, muscle aches, anxiety, weight changes, osteoporosis, tooth decay, numbness, lack of concentration, etc.
Magnesium is also important for enzymatic function as it acts as a co-factor. It also helps in regulating the blood glucose levels.
It is necessary for the production of various proteins and energy providing molecules. It also supports the cardiovascular and immune system. It also allows absorption of calcium.
Hemp milk is a great source of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. These minerals are required for maintaining skeletal and organ health. They also play an important role in cell signaling, growth, metabolism, etc.
2. Hemp milk is a source of various vitamins
Vitamins are essential for maintaining optimal bodily functions and their deficiency can result in various diseases.
It is important to obtain these vitamins through diet. Hemp milk is a good source of various vitamins including vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, etc.
Vitamin D is necessary to maintain bone health by allowing optimum absorption and utilization of calcium in the body.
Hemp is rich in both calcium and vitamin D, which makes it a great choice to ensure sufficient calcium absorption in the body. Combining vitamin D with calcium supplements is usually found to be more effective.
It also reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases, cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc. Vitamin D also helps prevent osteomalacia, osteoporosis, and rickets.
It improves physical and cognitive performance. Its deficiency can result in depression and sleep apnea. Vitamin D also regulates cardiovascular function and reduces hypertension.
Hemp milk provides 10% and 8% of total daily vitamin A and vitamin E requirement respectively. Vitamin A is important for good vision, skeletal health, skin, etc. It also helps with optimum immune function.
Vitamin E is important for reducing oxidative damage to the body, as it is an anti-oxidant. It also helps maintain vascular health. It helps with the red blood cell count as well.
Hemp milk is a good source of many vitamins. These vitamins are necessary for healthy bones, optimum metabolism, enzymatic functions, vision, prevention of diseases, etc.
3. Hemp milk is rich in healthy fats
Hemp milk has a great reserve of healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are known to promote cardiovascular health and prevent many heart disorders.
Hemp milk has linoleic acid, which is known to reduce cholesterol by 15%. Linoleic acid also reduces the risk of hypertension.
Omega fatty acids are also known to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (plaque formation) and promote vascular health.
They reduce inflammation of the arteries and reduce the risk of ischemic and coronary heart diseases.
Omega fatty acids are important for cognitive and brain health as well. They might reduce the risk of depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety.
They help reduce overall inflammation and thus reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases. They also play a role in maintaining healthy and young skin.
Hemp milk is rich in healthy omega fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to exhibit many beneficial properties such as promoting cardiovascular, brain and immune health.
4. Good Alternative for people with lactose intolerance and nut allergies
Lactose intolerance is becoming increasingly common around the world as more and more people are beginning to understand what its symptoms are.
It is characterized by the inability to digest the lactose present in milk. This leads to diarrhea, bloating and cramps on consumption of dairy.
People suffering from lactose intolerance cannot consume milk and dairy products like cheese, ice creams, etc. Therefore they end up missing out on important nutrients that milk has to offer.
Good alternative for such people is nut milk such as almond milk, soymilk, etc. to obtain the necessary nutrients.
Some people suffer from nut allergies and they cant use nut milk as well to salvage the necessary nutrients.
A great way for such people to get those necessary nutrients and enjoy the flavor of milk could be by using hemp seed milk.
It is suitable for people suffering from lactose intolerance and nut allergies. It is also a great alternative for vegans looking to try new flavors and switching from nut milk as hemp milk is plant-based.
The nutrient profile, calories, flavor, etc. of hemp milk is quite similar to dairy and nut milk. Hemp milk provides more protein and more healthy fats compared to almond milk.
It provides more calcium, iron, and magnesium than cow’s milk. Hemp milk also offers an adequate amount of vitamin D compared to almond and cow’s milk.
Hemp milk has half the sugar content compared to cow milk, which is good for people looking to cut down on carbohydrate consumption for weight loss, due to irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
Hemp seed milk offers similar nutrients and flavor compared to dairy and nut milk. Therefore it is a good alternative for people suffering from lactose intolerance and nut allergies.
250 ml of hemp milk can provide up to 50% of daily omega fatty acids required by the body. 250-500 ml of hemp milk can be consumed based on the individual’s calorie requirement.
t can be added to coffee, tea, cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, etc. One-cup hemp milk also provides half of the daily calcium requirement.
Excess hemp milk consumption can lead to obesity due to its high-fat content. Users should try to stay away from sweetened/flavored varieties, as they tend to contain extra sugar and calories, which can pose harm if consumed in excess.
Hemp milk is a natural product with few side effects if used properly. It is free of lactose, gluten, etc.
It is suitable for people with nut allergies as well. Some common side effects include abnormal digestive activity, stomachache, cramps, etc. There could be interaction with anticoagulants as well.
Hemp milk should not be given to babies and infants as a replacement for dairy/mother’s milk.
Hemp milk lacks certain important nutrients, which are required for optimum body growth and therefore it might interfere with the growth of the babies.
Some people might have a hemp allergy and face allergic response to hemp milk. An allergic reaction is characterized by itchiness, breathing problem, hives etc. In such cases, the use should be immediately stopped and medical help should be taken.
Excess hemp milk might lead to obesity and diabetes since it is rich in fats and sugars.
Market-bought hemp milk might have extra-added sugars which can make it unhealthy if consumed in excess. Pregnant women and lactating mother should consult the doctor before starting the use.
Consultation with dietician/ healthcare provider is recommended to prevent nutritional deficiencies if the user is swapping regular milk with hemp milk as they have a very different nutritional profile. This also helps in avoiding side effects arising due to drug interactions.
Hemp milk is produced from hemp seeds and possesses many beneficial properties.
It is full of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, etc. that are essential for optimum bodily function. Hemp milk is rich in healthy omega fats as well. They help promote cardiovascular health.
It is a great alternative to cow’s milk or nut milk for vegans, people suffering from nut allergies and lactose intolerance. It is easily available in the market and it can also be made at home with hemp seeds.
It is free of major side effects but hemp allergy might be present in some people. The dose should be kept in mind, as it is rich in fats and calories.
Consultation with a dietician/doctor is useful in order to avoid side effects occurring due to drug interactions and excess consumption.