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As is well known, protein is essential for the body as a nutrient. Sometimes proteins can be eaten in very different forms, which are no less versatile than the number of naturally occurring proteins themselves. Meat, fish, seafood, dairy products, eggs, protein shakes and even vegetable products such as grains or vegetables - the list of protein foods is long.
In the field of plant foods in particular, new and interesting protein sources are being discovered again and again. One of them is hemp (cannabis). Cultivated many times as a useful plant in ancient times, cannabis is primarily known as a supplier of raw materials in the craft sector, as a biomaterial for energy production and as a medicinal medicinal herb. It comes with a number of health complaints such as
- Autoimmune diseases,
- Chronic gastrointestinal disorders
- Eating disorder,
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Multiple sclerosis,
- Muscle discomfort,
- Nerve disorders,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder,
- Sleep disorders,
- Metabolic disorders,
- Indigestion used.
The medical talents of cannabis seem unmistakably diverse and they are of great interest, particularly in the area of mental and nerve-based health complaints. However, the function of cannabis leaves as a medicinal herb is not entirely uncontroversial, since hemp falls under the Narcotics Act due to its psychoactive active ingredients and, if used incorrectly, can have various side effects. In many countries, including Germany, cannabis can therefore not be sold without a prescription. The isolated hemp protein is much simpler here. It combines many healing effects that can already be found in the herb of the hemp plant, but without the side effects of its psychoactive ingredients. In addition to the medicinal aspects, it also has a number of health benefits as a nutrient.
The holy grail among vegetable proteins
The term "protein" for proteins is actually relatively misleading. On the one hand, he falsely suspects that this nutrient only occurs in the egg white, which is also known as protein, which is not the case, and on the other hand, there is not a specific protein, but many different proteins. Depending on the type, these are made up of different amino acids, which give each protein its own individual nature and function. These are as follows:
- Protective proteins: As building blocks of defense cells and antibodies, they are an important part of the immune system.
- Structural proteins: shape the structure of body tissues, including skin, hair, nails, bones, teeth and connective tissue. Muscles and nerves also contain proteins of this type for structural building.
- Transport and signal proteins: regulate the transmission of signals and nutrients within the organism, for example by passing on nerve signals, controlling hormones and enzymes, passing on genetic information from DNA or ensuring oxygen transport in the blood. They are the most diverse proteins in the body.
- Reserve proteins: Proteins that are not used directly by the body can be temporarily stored as reserve substances in liver, spleen and muscle tissue until they have to serve as energy suppliers when they are hungry. Protein forms a direct energy store for our organism.
Needless to say, proteins are responsible for the essential functions of our body and therefore have to be supplied in sufficient quantities every day. However, a distinction must now be made between two different forms of proteins, animal and vegetable proteins. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, whereby animal proteins can be better used by the body due to their amino acid profile, which is similar to that of human proteins. They have a higher bioavailability for our organism than vegetable proteins. At the same time, the metabolism of proteins from animal sources also means a great deal of extra work for digestive organs such as the liver or kidney, which can lead to diseases such as kidney stones or even kidney failure in the long term if animal foods are over-consumed.
When it comes to vegetable proteins, the whole thing is reversed. Although they are easier for the organism to digest, this is primarily due to the fact that their amino acid profile differs decisively from human body proteins and they can therefore only be used slightly by the metabolism. Their lower bioavailability therefore usually requires larger amounts of vegetable protein to meet the daily protein requirements. Especially for vegans who do not eat protein-containing animal products such as milk or cheese in addition to meat, this fact can be fatal and increase the risk of a protein deficiency in the long term.
Hemp protein is now a vegetable protein that is superior to conventional vegetable protein in many ways. It is obtained from the seeds of the hemp plant, which, like the human body, consist of 20 to 25 percent proteins. What is more, the proteins of the hemp seeds are so similar to those of the human body as is usually only the case with animal protein. Accordingly, it can also be integrated into the metabolism in a similarly efficient manner, which is particularly interesting for people who cover their daily protein requirements exclusively through plant-based foods. In addition, thanks to its special amino acid profile, hemp protein also has a special value for our health, which, like cannabis herb, is of medical importance.
More than just a plant protein
Thinking of a certain protein variant in the case of hemp protein is just as wrong as in the case of protein. In fact, there are two different hemp proteins. Around 65 percent of the protein edestin is found in hemp seeds. It belongs to the group of globulins and is used in the body to produce antibodies, hormones, enzymes and the red blood pigment hemoglobin. Edestin is a protective, transport and singal protein with multifunctional health effects in the area of
- Blood formation,
- Hormone regulation,
- Immune defense
- and metabolic activity.
The situation is quite similar for the second hemp protein albumin, which makes up the remaining 35 percent of the hemp protein. This also occurs naturally in the human body and is responsible, among other things, for maintaining the osmotic pressure in the bloodstream. In addition, the protein is now being used very specifically to treat Wilson's liver disease, which is based on a disturbed copper metabolism in the liver. Albumin binds excess copper residues to the liver and thus helps to clean the organ in the event of illness. Sulfur-containing globulin also plays an increasingly important role in cancer therapy. For example, it helps to identify tumors, since cancer cells increasingly use albumin-containing blood protein for their energy supply. Various cancer drugs are also aimed at preventing the albumin supply for cancer cells.
Hemp protein is made up of a total of 23 essential amino acids. Essential here means that they are used by the body every day to maintain important body functions and the structural integrity of body tissue and body materials. There are some particularly valuable amino acids in this regard
- Isoleucine - serves as a source of energy for muscle cells.
- Leucine - supports the maintenance and development of muscle and liver tissue.
- Lysine - is particularly important for strong connective tissue.
- Methionine - plays an important role in immune defense and urea metabolism.
- Threonine - a very versatile amino acid that is used in the body for, among other things, digestive processes, the production of antibodies by the immune system and the structural maintenance of connective tissue, skin and mucosal tissue.
- Tryptophan - an amino acid that is converted into the happiness hormone serotonin in the body and has a similar mood-lifting and calming effect.
- Valine - serves as a source of energy for the muscle tissue.
As if that weren't enough, hemp protein also has some extremely interesting compounds from the field of unsaturated fatty acids, again in an ideal mixing ratio for the human body. Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids can be found here in a ratio of 1: 3, which is very desirable in comparison to numerous foods that have a significantly higher omega-6 value and thus an excess of said fatty acid is.
Hemp protein also contains traces of important minerals. This is particularly important for the task of the protein as a structural protein. Above all, there are traces of magnesium and zinc in this connection that benefit the body's own tissue structures. Both minerals are for theirs
- skin and hair strengthening,
- bone strengthening,
- nail strengthening
- and tooth-protecting effect known.
In addition, the hemp protein also contains extracts of the iron that is essential for blood formation and digestion.
Hemp protein also contains vitamin E and vitamin B. They largely share the functions of the minerals mentioned and are also for theirs
- low cholesterol,
- muscle and nerve strengthening,
- metabolism stimulating,
- and cell protective properties known.
This proves once again the holistic effect of hemp protein on health, which is not solely due to its mere amino acid profile.
Special need groups for hemp protein
The multiple effects of hemp protein (s) is basically a significant enrichment for everyone when it comes to healthy nutrition. However, some groups of people are particularly predestined to take hemp protein.
Vegetarians and vegans
Anyone who mainly feeds on plant-based foods or, in the case of vegans, even exclusively on this food group, knows that meeting the daily protein requirements can be a tricky business. A protein deficiency is consequently a real danger for people who eat meat-free or free from animal products, which sometimes lead to deficiency symptoms such as
- Lack of blood,
- Liver enlargement (splenomegaly),
- Muscle weakness,
- Loss of pigment in the hair
- and can lead to growth disorders.
Hemp protein is therefore a welcome nutritional supplement in the vegetarian and vegan diet, because in terms of biological value it is in no way inferior to most animal proteins and is therefore the only full alternative to protein from animal foods.
By the way: Even in countries where food is scarce, hemp protein could be the answer to famine in the future. Because cannabis is a rapidly renewable raw material, the seeds can be harvested very profitably and thus an abundance of hemp protein can be obtained for the production of nutritional supplements.
Protein allergy is no longer an isolated case in modern times. As a result of ever new finished products that increasingly use animal protein in an unnatural combination and dosage, more and more people suffer from this form of food intolerance. However, those affected still have the same protein requirements as people without protein allergy. To cover it, alternative protein sources with high bioavailability are particularly important. Hemp protein can offer an interesting solution here. Since hemp seeds are also free from other typical food allergens such as gluten and lactose, their protein is also suitable for people with other allergy symptoms.
People with chronic indigestion
Hemp protein is considered to be particularly easy to digest because it is free of numerous ingredients that make digestion difficult. This applies, for example, to oligosaccharides, which are generally considered to cause flatulence and are also not tolerated by people with fructose intolerance (intolerance to fructose). Trypsin inhibitors are also not found in the hemp protein. These are plant substances that inhibit the release of the digestive enzyme trypsin and which are found in many other protein-rich plant foods, such as soybean. In addition, ingredients of hemp protein, such as unsaturated fatty acids, help with digestion and make it particularly easy to digest.
Alzheimer's and cardiac patients
Speaking of fatty acids. In a Korean study, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids showed exceptional abilities that play an important role in the treatment of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. For example, they reduced the oxidative stress within the blood vessels, which contributes to the prevention and successful treatment of vascular diseases such as high blood pressure or arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Hemp protein also appears to have a positive effect on degenerative processes in brain nerve cells, which is relevant in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.
Athletes and overweight people
Because hemp protein stimulates the metabolism, it can also help you lose weight and even support a healthy diet here, because it allows you to omit high-calorie foods such as cheese or certain types of meat, which are rich in animal proteins but are often very high in fat.
Hemp protein is also of great help during sporting activities, especially in the field of weight training. As already shown, it contains a particularly large number of amino acids, which serve to supply the muscles with nutrients, which can logically help with muscle building, but also with the regeneration of injured muscles (e.g. due to sports accidents or overtraining). For this reason, hemp protein is increasingly being used as a natural ingredient in fitness foods such as protein shakes.
Recipes for hemp protein
Hemp protein is usually sold as a finished powder and can therefore be prepared in a variety of ways. For example, smoothies, protein bars, spreads, desserts, breadings, pasta and pastries are conceivable. Finally, we have put together a few particularly interesting recipes for you.
Hemp protein smoothie
- 100 ml water,
- 50 ml coconut milk,
- 45 g hemp protein,
- 1 teaspoon (teaspoon) of chia seeds,
- 1 apple,
- 1 banana.
Simply fill the smoothie ingredients into a blender and puree them. The recipe can also be wonderfully converted into a protein shake by adding 300 ml milk and a little lean curd.
Hemp protein bars
- 5 cups of amaranth or quinoa,
- 1 cup of dates,
- 1 cup of hemp protein,
- 1 cup of ground hazelnuts,
- 1 cup of walnuts (chopped),
- 1 cup of sunflower seeds,
- 1 cup goji berries,
- 1 cup of raisins,
- ½ cup of chia seeds,
- ½ cup cranberries (dried),
- ½ cup of hemp seeds (peeled),
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup,
- ½ cup almond butter,
- ½ cup sesame (peeled),
- 1 pinch of salt,
- some vanilla.
1st step: Mix chia seeds, almond butter and honey or maple syrup with the mixer to a sauce and season with vanilla and salt.
Step 2: In a separate bowl, all remaining ingredients are mixed together and then poured over with the sauce. If necessary, the mixture can also be stretched with water or almond milk if it is too dry.
Step 3: In the last step, the dough is spread on baking paper and baked in a preheated oven at 45 ° C for about 20 minutes. Then they are cut into a rectangular bar shape and can be stored in the refrigerator (e.g. in a Tupperbox).
Whole grain spread with hemp protein
- 20 g green kernel meal,
- 20 g oatmeal,
- 20 g hemp seeds,
- 10 g hemp protein,
- 10 g yeast flakes,
- 1 clove of garlic,
- 1 small onion,
- 1 carrot,
- 1 tablespoon (tablespoon) of olive oil,
- 2 tsp paprika powder,
- 1½ tsp salt,
- 1 tsp vegetable broth,
- ½ tsp pepper.
1st step: First peel the onion, the garlic and the carrot. The onion is then cut into small cubes, the carrot finely grated and the clove of garlic is pressed.
Step 2: Put the green meal, oatmeal and hemp seeds in a mortar and grind the grain or the plant seeds roughly. When this is done, the olive oil is heated in a pan and the grist is roasted in it for a few minutes. Then add the vegetables and the spices and also fry them briefly before extinguishing the whole thing with water and boiling for about 10 to 15 minutes.
3rd step: Stir the cereal-vegetable mix from time to time until the remaining liquid has evaporated and the seared has thickened. The mass should have a pulpy consistency before finally adding the yeast flakes and the hemp protein. Once this has been done, you can take the warm spread from the stove and pour it into a mug or a Tupper jar. The spread can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one and a half weeks.
Whole grain bread with pumpkin seeds and hemp protein
- 500 ml water,
- 320 g spelled flour,
- 160 g pumpkin seeds,
- 130 g flaxseed meal,
- 80 g pumpkin seed flour,
- 50 g hemp protein,
- 1 packet of tartar baking powder,
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar,
- 1 tsp sea salt.
1st step: First put all dry ingredients, i.e. flour, flaxseed meal, pumpkin seeds, hemp protein, sea salt and baking powder, in a mixing bowl and mix the whole thing well.
Step 2: Next, mix in the water and apple cider vinegar until you get a tough dough. It is best to use a hand mixer or a food processor.
Step 3: Now spread out a box mold with oil and rub it with a little flour to prevent the bread from burning on the baking pan. Then fill in the bread dough and smooth it out. The bread has to bake for about 55 minutes at 180 ° C top and bottom heat before it is taken out of the oven and later turned out of the crate in a slightly cooled state.
Vegetable pancake with hemp protein
- 400 g zucchini,
- 200 g carrots,
- 150 g onions,
- 55 g hemp protein powder,
- 1 tbsp locust bean gum,
- 1 tbsp olive oil,
- 1 tsp salt,
- 1 tsp green curry paste,
- some cayenne pepper, curry powder and coriander.
1st step: Wash or peel the vegetables and then grate them roughly. The zucchini should also be dewatered after grating so that the dough for the vegetable buffers does not become too liquid.
Step 2: Now mix the grated vegetables with the hemp protein, the salt and the spices. The carob flour comes at the end before the mass has to rest for about ten minutes.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 200 ° C and put small portions of vegetable pancakes on baking paper. Then coat the buffers with oil so that they bake beautifully golden brown. The vegetable pancakes must then bake on the middle shelf for approx. 22 to 23 minutes before they are turned and baked in the oven for the same time. (ma)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Miriam Adam, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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