Hemp milk or hemp seed milk, is a drink made from hemp seeds that are soaked and ground into water, yielding a creamy nutty beverage. It is marketed in health and fitness publications as a "new health food darling".
Hemp seeds contain no or only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance found in the related varieties of the Cannabis plant. Hemp seeds contain a three-to-one ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids and other nutrients include magnesium, phytosterols, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin.
Hemp milk also contains 10 essential amino acids, making it a good vegan source of protein as hemp protein does not contain phytates, enzyme inhibitors found in some soy protein that can interfere with the absorption of essential minerals. Hemp protein may also be more digestible than soy protein because unlike soy, it does not contain oligosaccharides, complex sugars that can cause flatulence if not properly broken down during digestion.
Hemp seed may be a significant source of phytates as evidenced by studies by Russo and Reggiani, June 2013. They were studying animal feed and the potential of anti-nutrient disadvantages of hemp seed meal. The research showed that the French and Italian hemp varieties studied contained 6-7% phytate by dry weight. This also suggests that other varieties may be high, especially when the high phosphorus content is considered as a signal of possible phytate. They were concerned about the development of mineral deficiencies in animals consuming this meal and suggested that breeding plants that had a reduced phytate content, below 4.5% dry weight, would be advisable.
- Hemp milk? It's healthy and legal as hemp cereal, Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved on 15th of February 2010.
- High on Hemp Milk? drweil.com, retrieved on March 20, 2011.
- Roberto Russo, Remo Reggiani, Variability in Antinutritional Compounds in Hempseed Meal of Italian and French Varieties. Plant. Vol. 1, No. 2, 2013, pp. 25-29. doi: 10.11648/j.plant.20130102.13