Is Hemp Milk Good For You? 10 nutrition facts to know

Hemp milk 101

Browse the supermarket shelves for dairy products and you’ll see a lot more than just a cow’s stuff.

Not only are there enduring plant-based favorites like soy and almond milks, but new plant-based milks are also popping up all the time. One you may have never heard of: hemp milk.

It’s just another option in a range of non-dairy milks that includes coconut milk, oat milk, and rice milk. Like the others, it’s a good plant-based alternative to your coffee, tea, or cereal.

With nutty and earthy notes, hemp milk adds a burst of flavor to anything you drink or eat.

“Hemp milk tastes great in coffee, tea, hot chocolate, smoothies, and oatmeal,” says Michelle Routhenstein, a cardiology dietitian and owner of Entirely Nourished in New York City.

There are so many non-dairy milk options to choose from these days that it can be difficult to pick just one. To help you weigh your options, we reached out to nutritionists, who explain the health benefits of hemp milk and how to use it.

What is hemp milk?

Hemp milk is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, also known as: cannabis sativa. A mixture of water and seeds provides a creamy texture and consistency.

And we know what you’re thinking: Hey, doesn’t marijuana come from that plant? If you can get high from that, can hemp milk? The answer is no.

The hemp plant is a cousin of the cannabis sativa plant known as marijuana, and it can only be legally grown if it contains no more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that can get you high.

Although the leaves of the plant contain minuscule amounts of THC, the seeds naturally do not contain it at all. Drinking hemp milk will not cause or produce the effects that marijuana can have.

So no, people don’t drink hemp milk to get high. They drink it for its nutritional benefits.

“Hemp milk is nutritious and rich in plant proteins and healthy fats,” says registered dietitian Rachel Naar, a nutrition consultant in New York.

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Hemp milk nutrition

There are many reasons why people forgo cow’s milk and choose a plant-based alternative instead.

Vegans and vegetarians in particular rely on non-dairy alternatives. But even people who make a habit of drinking dairy can appreciate the nutritional profile of hemp milk.

“Hemp milk is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium,” says Danielle Gaffen, a registered dietitian in California.

Our bodies need magnesium for various biochemical reactions, such as energy production and membrane transport, explains Gaffen.

There are many vitamins and minerals in hemp milk, and some brands may fortify it with additional minerals, increasing the health factor.

Nutrition Facts

Here are the nutritional benefits and percentages of the recommended daily value (DV) for one cup (eight ounces) of hemp milk:

Calories: 60

Fat: 4.5 g (6 percent DV)

cholesterol: 0 mg (0 percent RDA)

Sodium: 110 mg (4 percent RDA)

Carbohydrate: 0 g (0 percent RDA)

Egg white: 3 g (6 percent RDI)

Calcium: 283 mg (20 percent RDA)

Iron: 1.99 mg (10 percent RDA)

Phosphorus: 317 mg (25 percent RDA)

Potassium: 101 mg (2 percent RDA)

Zinc: 1 mg (10 percent RDA)

Benefits of hemp milk

Hemp seeds are packed with nutritional benefits.

However, not many studies have been done on hemp milk, so it’s not clear whether the drink can actually improve your health.

“While these foods have properties that may contribute to healthy skin and/or heart, more research is needed before making definitive conclusions about hemp milk for these conditions,” says Gaffen.

The fatty acids help reduce inflammation

Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, play a critical role in the body, including in reducing inflammation.

The downside: the body doesn’t make them naturally, so we have to get them from food or supplements.

“Hemp milk contains a three-to-one ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids,” says Gaffen.

But its fatty acid profile isn’t the only reason hemp milk is considered an anti-inflammatory food.

Hemp seeds contain important amino acids, such as arginine, which Routhenstein says can help reduce inflammation in the body.

The fatty acids boost heart health

Hemp seeds and hemp milk can be beneficial for your ticker.

“Recent studies, mainly in animals, suggest that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seed may improve cardiovascular health,” says Naar.

Inflammation can cause problems for the heart, arteries and circulation.

“When a person has chronic inflammation in their arteries, it leads to a buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits in their arteries that cause narrowing of the arteries and increase the risk of heart attacks,” she says.

Anti-inflammatory properties in hemp seeds can help the heart. Adding therapeutic anti-inflammatory components to your diet, such as hemp seeds, can help keep your heart healthy, Routhenstein says.

But she’s quick to point out that including one type of food or drink in your diet isn’t a panacea.

“Hemp milk can be part of a heart-healthy diet, but it’s not a cure or a magic pill,” Routhenstein says.

Hemp seeds are a complete protein

Amino acids are known as the building blocks of proteins and are fundamental to the body.

Although there are 20 types of amino acids, nine are considered essential. Any food that contains all nine essential amino acids is considered a complete protein.

Most sources of complete protein come from animals, making it difficult to get enough complete protein for anyone following a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet.

That’s why it’s such good news that hemp can fill protein gaps.

“The protein in hemp is a complete protein, one of the few plant proteins that is complete,” says Gaffen.

It is a good choice for allergy sufferers

While other milks can pose problems for those with certain food allergies, just about anyone can enjoy hemp milk.

“Hemp milk is a great alternative for people with gluten, nut, and soy allergies,” says Gaffen.

It is an alternative for people who cannot have dairy

If you’re lactose intolerant, allergic to cow’s milk, or follow a diet that restricts animal products, hemp milk can be a great substitute.

The downside of hemp milk

While hemp milk is generally safe, there are some nutritional drawbacks to consider.

It contains less protein than milk

In direct comparison with cow’s milk, hemp milk falls short. Although it is a source of complete protein, it does not contain much of it.

“Hemp milk is great to add to your diet, but it doesn’t contain enough protein, so it shouldn’t be used as a comparable protein substitute to cow’s milk,” says Routhenstein.

Not only is it low in protein, but it is also low in minerals and vitamins that dairy milk has.

“Hemp milk lacks certain nutrients that other milks have, such as calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12,” says Gaffen. “However, it is becoming more and more common to find fortified hemp milk in stores.”

The bottom line: It’s a great alternative if you can’t drink cow’s milk but aren’t expecting the nutritional power. Check the label to see if it is fortified with the nutrients that are important to you.

It may contain additives

When choosing different brands of hemp milk, it’s also a good idea to read the label so you know what else you’re drinking.

Not all plant-based milks are created equal, and some may contain additional (and unwanted) ingredients, such as added sugar, thickeners, and preservatives.

“Some hemp milk contains phosphorus additives, such as disodium phosphate, and thickeners, such as carrageenan, which can promote inflammation,” Routhenstein says. “For versions that don’t contain these ingredients, opt for a heart-healthier version.”

How to use hemp milk?

It is a good idea to drink or pour hemp milk into beverages. Simply use it as milk in coffee, tea and smoothies.

If you want to go beyond drinks, you’re in luck. Hemp milk can be used in recipes as a cow’s milk substitute.

Thanks to its nutty taste, it goes well with a variety of meals.

“I recommend trying hemp milk in savory dishes, as the flavor may be too strong for desserts or sweet dishes,” says Gaffen.

Consider adding it to curries or as a soup topper for a creamy finish, Routhenstein says.

“I love adding hemp milk to rolled oats with a scoop of protein powder, bananas, blueberries, and ground walnuts for a nutty, creamy bowl of breakfast goodness,” she says.

Curious about the use of hemp milk? Try Gaffen’s delicious latte recipe with hemp milk below.

golden turmeric latte

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Golden hemp milk latte

Serves: 1

Time: 7 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup of hemp milk

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp ground turmeric

Pinch of black pepper

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Travel directions:

  • Bring the hemp milk to a boil and then let it simmer.
  • Add the maple syrup, spices and vanilla extract.
  • Beat until the spices are well incorporated.
  • Serve immediately.

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