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Hemp protein is derived from hemp seeds, which are thought to be put through rigorous mechanical processes to completely separate the protein from the oil.

Although, did you know, approximately 10% of the original oil content is still left in hemp protein (Pihlanto et al., 2017), and this oil provides us with the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids?

Of course, we could just supplement with hemp oil, although this would be more calorie-dense.

Hemp protein, on the other hand, provides us with a range of amazing health benefits, while also giving us a vegan source of essential fatty acids at a low-calorie trade-off.

Still lost on the ratio part? Not to worry, let’s break it down a little further.

 

The Importance of Essential Fatty Acids

Whether it be plant-based or animal-sourced, we need a healthy amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for things to work properly in the body, and hemp protein can deliver this.

You may be asking though, why are these so essential?

Well, to put it simply, our body lacks the enzymes to produce these fatty acids, so we must obtain them from our diet, and if we don’t, things don’t work too well.

Omega-3 is an unsaturated fat and is found in the form of ALA (Alpha Linoleic Acid) in plants (such as hemp), and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) in animal sources such as fatty fish. 

We need Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy nerve function, blood pressure, clotting, glucose metabolism, and to regulate various inflammatory processes throughout the body (Gammone et al., 2018).

Omega-6 is also an unsaturated fat, found in the form of LA (Linoleic acid) and GLA (Gamma linoleic) in plants (again, hemp) and ARA (Arachidonic Acid) and CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid) in animal sources such as red meat or dairy.

Similar to Omega-3, Omega-6 fatty acids play a critical role in nerve and brain function, blood clotting, gene expression, and work collectively with Omega-3 to regulate cell signaling, membrane structure, and inflammation (Calder, 2012).

On top of this, we must ensure we get adequate ratios of both, which is something hemp protein powder can deliver.


Hemp Protein’s Ideal Ratio

One of the biggest benefits to hemp protein powder compared to practically every other protein powder on the market is its fantastic vegan source of omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, more specifically, 3:1.

According to the literature, it’s believed that this balance of 3:1 is the ideal ratio we should be getting from our diet (Simopoulos, 2003), and hemp protein contains approximately this balance.

When our ratios are out, we experience low-grade inflammation, oxidative stress, poor immune and nervous system function, and practically the reverse effect of the critical roles we touched on previously.

This doesn’t sound like much, but over time, may drastically increase our risk of chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disorders (DiNicolantonio & O’Keefe, 2018).

Vegans can often be at the highest risk here, as most of their diet is made up of foods containing high levels of omega-6. These include copious amounts of nuts, seeds, and various processed vegetables including canola and soybean, which are often laden throughout various vegan alternative health products.

The end result of this sort of diet long-term leaves individuals with a staggeringly high imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3, which could be as high as 20:1! (Fokkema et al., 2000).

This makes incorporating hemp protein powder into the diet perfect for vegans, whilst also providing an extremely high protein content, something also critical in a vegan and/or plant-based diet.

The Takeaway

Hemp protein not only provides us with an amazing plant-based source of protein but also the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids that our body needs to function optimally.

Having an imbalanced ratio long-term can increase our risk of chronic disease, and vegans or individuals supplementing on a plant-based diet could be at the highest risk.

Luckily, Designer Physique provides the best quality 100% organic hemp protein powder, which is made up of 100% ground-up hemp seeds sourced from the best regions of Canada.

This makes our hemp protein powder perfect for any vegan, vegetarian or plant-based enthusiast looking to optimise their essential fatty acid intake, whilst also reaping the additional benefits of hemp.

If you have any stories on your use of hemp protein, or maybe some unique ways to incorporate it into your diet, why not leave us a comment below!

 

References

  • Calder, P. (2012). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammation. http://isrctn.org/>. https://doi.org/10.1186/isrctn96712688
  • DiNicolantonio, J. J., & O’Keefe, J. H. (2018). Importance of maintaining a low omega–6/omega–3 ratio for reducing inflammation. Open Heart, 5(2), e000946. https://doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2018-000946
  • Fokkema, M., Brouwer, D., Hasperhoven, M., Hettema, Y., Bemelmans, W., & Muskiet, F. (2000). Polyunsaturated fatty acid status of Dutch vegans and omnivores. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA), 63(5), 279-285. https://doi.org/10.1054/plef.2000.0215
  • Gammone, M., Riccioni, G., Parrinello, G., & D’Orazio, N. (2018). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: Benefits and endpoints in sport. Nutrients, 11(1), 46. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010046
  • Pihlanto, A., Mattila, P., Mäkinen, S., & Pajari, A. (2017). Bioactivities of alternative protein sources and their potential health benefits. Food & Function, 8(10), 3443-3458. https://doi.org/10.1039/c7fo00302a
  • Simopoulos, A. (2003). Importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids: Evolutionary aspects. World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics, 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1159/000073788, 56(8), 365-379. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00253-6

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