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Hemp Milk: A Nutrient-Rich Dairy-Free Alternative

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Hemp milk - Dr. Axe

More and more people are reaching for dairy-free milk options when browsing through the grocery store. Some of the best options, like almond milk and coconut milk, provide important nutrients — including essential fatty acids and calcium. Hemp milk is no different. In fact, it serves as a nutrient-rich plant-based milk with a creamy texture and nutty flavor.

With the current prevalence of cow milk allergy and lactose intolerance, plant-based milk options are becoming more popular. Although milk from hemp seeds is fairly new to the market, it may be an even more nutrient-rich option than other dairy-free options.

What Is Hemp Milk?

Hemp milk comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. The seeds, or nuts, of the Cannabis sativa plant have a rich, nutty flavor, which transfers to hemp milk as well.

The milk is made by pulverizing hemp seeds so that they’re reduced to fine particles. Then blending them with water and straining the liquid to separate the solid residue.

The end product is a dairy-free milk that’s rich in healthy fats, plant protein, vitamins and minerals.

Although hemp seeds and hemp milk come from the cannabis plant, research shows that these products generally do not contain any more than trace amounts of cannabinoids, including THC.

When volunteers who consumed oils derived from hemp seed for a study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, researchers found that “all volunteers were below positive screen and confirmation cutoffs within 48 hours after cessation of ingestion.”

Nutrition

The essential fatty acids and amino acids in hemp milk make it a nutritious non-dairy milk option. Also, check the label for added sweeteners, salt and thickening agents.

The nutrition details of hemp milk will vary depending on the brand and ingredients. In general, you’ll want to choose an unsweetened product from a reputable company.

One cup of unsweetened hemp milk made by Pacific Foods includes:

  • 70 calories
  • 5 grams fat
  • 1 gram carbohydrate
  • 2 grams dietary fiber
  • zero grams sugar
  • 3 grams protein
  • 140 milligrams sodium
  • 35 percent DV phosphorus
  • 30 percent DV calcium
  • 30 percent DV riboflavin
  • 30 percent DV vitamin D
  • 25 percent DV vitamin B12
  • 15 percent DV magnesium
  • 10 percent DV vitamin A
  • 10 percent DV iron
  • 8 percent DV thiamin
  • 4 percent DV vitamin E
  • 3 percent DV potassium

Hemp milk nutrition also includes omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, promote heart health, reduce inflammation and support brain function.

Milk from hemp seeds also contains all essential amino acids. In fact, it’s one of the few plant-based complete proteins.

Benefits of Hemp Milk

1. Provides Plant-Based Protein

Did you know that milk from hemp seeds contains more plant-based protein than almond milk? Plus, it’s a complete protein, meaning that is contains all essential amino acids.

You may already know that amino acids are involved in almost every biological process, from energy production, to immune function and muscle growth. Getting a good variety of amino acids in your diet is necessary in maintaining health and balance.

Research published in 2017 suggests that people in western countries are beginning to consume less animal protein and increasing their intake of plant protein. Those who consumed plant protein from nuts, seeds and legumes had measured protein and amino acid levels that met dietary requirements, even when compared to those who consumed more animal proteins.

2. Contains Essential Fatty Acids

There are two types of essential fatty acids that the body can’t synthesize on its own — linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid, and alpha linolenic acid, which is an omega-3. You need to obtain these fatty acids through diet and milk from hemp seeds provides both of them.

The unsaturated fatty acids found in hemp seeds help to boost immunity, support brain health, reduce inflammation and promote cell signaling.

Research published in Nutrition & Metabolism also indicates that the fatty acids in hempseed have beneficial effects on our cardiovascular health.

3. Provides Calcium

Drinking a cup of milk made from hempseed provides about 30 percent of your daily recommended value for calcium. For people on a dairy-free diet, getting enough calcium can be difficult. You’ll need to bring other foods high in calcium into your diet.

Research indicates that drinking non-dairy milks can ensure that you are getting enough of the important nutrient, which supports your bone health, promotes cardiovascular health and even aids weight management.

Uses

There’s no recommended dosage for hempseed milk. You can use it in place of cow’s milk and in combination with other dairy-free milks.

It can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, baked goods and more. You can also heat the plant-based milk to make lattes or other soothing beverages.

Hemp milk has a nutty flavor and a rich, creamy texture. You’ll find that it’s versatile and works well in many smoothie or hot beverage recipes.

Recipe

You can find hempseed milk in most grocery stores, as it’s recently becoming more popular, but you can also try making it at home. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to help you along the way:

  1. Add about half cup of hemp seeds, 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a high-speed blender.
  2. If you want the milk to be sweeter, you can add a bit of maple syrup, vanilla extract or a pitted date, but these ingredients are optional.
  3. Blend until the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Cover a large pitcher with a nut milk bag or very thin towel.
  5. Strain the liquid so that you are left with a milky consistency and discard the pulp.
  6. Store the milk in the refrigerator for 5–7 days.

You can easily make a larger patch of hemp milk by increasing the amount of hemp hearts and water that you combine with this recipe.

Risks and Side Effects

Hemp milk is likely safe for people with a cow’s milk, lactose, gluten or soy allergy.

Because this type of dairy-free milk comes from hemp, you may be wondering if hemp milk is illegal. No — it’s completely legal because it contains zero (or only trace amounts) of cannabinoids, like THC.

Final Thoughts

  • Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. When the seeds are combined with water, and sometimes sweetening ingredients, it creates a rich, milky liquid.
  • Milk made from hemp seeds provides important nutrients, including essential fatty acids (omega-3s and omega-6s) and essential amino acids. It’s also rich in calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins and magnesium.
  • You can add hempseed milk to any smoothie, hot or cold cereal or baked good recipe. Like other dairy-free milks, it can be used in place of cow’s milk.
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