Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Nutritional Benefits of Hemp Milk

For many people, milk has been part of a standard daily diet their entire life. You may drink several glasses of milk a day, but some people don't handle milk well, and it can lead to a variety of digestive problems. If you drink commercial (pasteurized, homogenized) milk, you are drinking something with little to no nutritional value, and it may even contribute to health issues for some people. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to cow’s milk, you may want to consider hemp milk.*  It offers a variety of health benefits and it’s easy to make at home yourself.

Health Benefits of Hemp Milk

Hemp Bliss
Hemp Bliss (Photo credit: joshua m. neff)
Before we jump into the nutritional value of a glass of hemp milk there are some other health benefits to consider.

Hemp milk doesn’t contain many of the allergens milk from animals contains. Many people are lactose intolerant or allergic to either whey protein or casein. The allergies can cause anything from gastric distress to migraines and anaphylactic shock. All of these ingredients are found in cow’s milk, sheep’s milk and goat milk. Hemp milk is free from these common allergens.

Additionally, hemp milk contains wonderful omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids are excellent for improving immune function, organ function, better skin, nails, and better brain function as well. Lastly, most hemp grown in the US and Canada is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, which makes it a cleaner and healthier choice than conventionally sourced animal milk.

Nutritional Content of Hemp Milk

Your standard 8-Ounce glass of hemp milk contains the following nutrients:

•    900mg Omega-3 Fatty Acid
•    2800mg Omega-6 Fatty Acid
•    All 10 Essential Amino Acids
•    4 grams of Protein
•    46% of RDA of Calcium
•    0% Cholesterol
•    Potassium
•    Phosphorous
•    Riboflavin
•    Vitamin A
•    Vitamin E
•    Vitamin B12
•    Folic Acid
•    Vitamin D
•    Magnesium
•    Iron
•    Zinc

As you can see hemp milk is full of nutrients. It tastes much like almond, rice or soy milk. It is a bit watery so it may not work well as a straight replacement in baking; however, on cereal or as a beverage to drink, it is quite delicious.

English: Food shelled hemp seeds Česky: Potrav...
Food shelled hemp seeds. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
How to Make Your Own Hemp Milk

Making hemp milk is easy to do. However, finding hemp seeds may be a bit trickier. You can order them online, and some natural health food stores may carry both hemp milk and hemp seeds. (Be sure not to buy hemp seeds sourced from China, where they may be grown using chemicals.)

In a blender combine one cup of shelled hemp seeds with five to six cups of water. Blend for two to three minutes until smooth. For richer milk, use less water. For thinner milk you can add more water. You can sweeten the milk, great for coffee - just add honey or agave and vanilla extract. You can drink it as is or you can strain it through a cheese cloth or fine strainer to remove seed particles.

If you have cow’s milk sensitivities or are simply looking for a vegetarian alternative, hemp milk is extremely healthy. More supermarkets are beginning to carry it and you can make it yourself at home too. Give it a try; you might be surprised how tasty it is.

* Note: If you really want to drink cow's milk, be sure it is REAL milk!! See this blog post for how and why....
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