I guess that most of us have been told about the value of drinking milk since our formative years. As a child growing up in the UK, we were often literally forced to drink it each morning but recent evidence suggests that cow’s milk is not what we were told it was. In fact, there is a growing amount of evidence that it is not very good for you at all.
In fact, a very large scale study published in the BMJ in 2014 actually suggests that milk may increase the risk of mortality and even increase the risk of bone fractures for women. Researchers did however temper their conclusions by stating they should be interpreted with caution. (1)
Because of the growing body of evidence that cow’s milk may not be as good as was once thought and concerns about farming practices, the search is well and truly underway for a healthier and more sustainable alternative.
The sale of almond milk has skyrocketed in recent times while soy and coconut milk are also popular. Although not quite as popular or well-known, hemp milk is another potential nutritious alternative with a great variety of health benefits which we will look at later.
What is Hemp Milk?
You may be familiar with a certain amount of controversy surrounding hemp seeds because they are often lumped together with marijuana. If this is a concern, you can rest assured that the hemp seeds from which the milk is made contain absolutely no THC which is the chemical in marijuana responsible for its psychoactive effects.
Hemp milk is an excellent choice for vegans and for those of you who suffer from lactose intolerance. It is made by simply combining hemp seeds with water. Another advantage is that unlike dairy milk which many people have difficulty digesting, hemp milk is digested far more easily.
Hemp Milk Nutritional Facts
Hemp seeds pack a very powerful nutritional punch. A single glass contains many of the essential nutrients your body needs including the following.
- 2800 mgs of Omega-6 fatty acid and 900 mgs of Omega-3 fatty acid both of which are vital for proper brain development and function.
- All ten of the essential amino acids making it a great source of proteins especially for vegans.
- Vitamins A, D, E and B 12
- A host of important minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, folic acid and thiamine.
- A whopping 45% of your recommended daily amount of calcium.
Hemp Milk Benefits
The above list of nutrients give hemp milk a wide variety of potent health benefits that you may not be aware of. Let us take a look at some of the most important.
- The fatty acids in hemp milk are a vital dietary component to ensure brain health. Drinking hemp milk can sharpen your cognitive abilities.
- Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that prevents cellular damage and protects against illness.
- Hemp milk is really god for the health of your skin, nails and hair.
- Hemp milk is considered to be excellent for the immune system. People who drink hemp milk say that it gives their immune system an effective boost which is vital to stave of illness.
- It is virtually fat free and devoid of any cholesterol making it a great choice for people looking to control their weight.
- Because it is so low in cholesterol, hemp milk is considered to be a healthy choice for the heart.
Hemp Milk vs Almond Milk
If you are looking for a nutritious alternative to cow’s milk, hemp milk is far from your only option. Almond milk is another great alternative and the choice for most people will probably come down to taste as well as other factors like cost and availability. If you are unsure about the nutritional differences, let’s take a look at almond milk in comparison to hemp milk.
Almond milk is made by soaking the nuts in water and then blending with water before draining the almond pieces. For many people it has a more pleasant taste than hemp milk. Both are perfectly suited for vegans and packed with nutrition.
Like hemp milk, almond milk is low calorie and low in fat. It contains selenium which is known to provide an immune system boost. Almond milk also contains magnesium and manganese which are essential for bone and teeth health.
There are however some potential problems with almond milk.
- It is not considered to be the best source of nutrition for infants and is not a suitable replacement for breast milk or infant formulas.
- When consumed in very large amounts, it may cause damage to the thyroid because of the presence of certain chemicals.
- Many commercial brands contain sugar.
- It may cause an allergic reaction in people with nut allergies.
Despite these cautions, both almond and hemp milk are full of goodness and provided you do not suffer from nut allergies, the choice is entirely up to you.
Hemp Milk for Babies
‘Is hemp milk safe for my baby?’. This is an often asked question and the answer seems to be ‘yes’ at least from the age of 7 or 8 months.
However, hemp milk should not be considered as a replacement for breast milk nor indeed infant formulas. Hemp milk is easily digested and very nutritious for young children. The omega fatty acids are essential for proper brain development and you need not worry about allergic reaction.
If you are considering giving hemp milk to your child, then the quality is important. It is best to go organic and ensure that it does not have any unnecessary additives.
Where to Buy Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is entirely legal and is available at many health food stores. As with all products, make sure that you read the labels well and do your research before choosing your product. Multiple brands are now available and you should be able to find the organic variety without much trouble.
It is available in plain, chocolate and vanilla flavors but you may like to add your own healthy ingredient like vanilla rather than relying on a ready-made product.
How to make your own Hemp Milk
If you are the adventurous type and you have enough time to do it yourself, then making your own hemp milk is not a difficult process.
Making your own hemp milk is cost effective and requires very few ingredients not too much effort.
- You need half a cup of organic, hemp seeds (shelled) and two cups of distilled water as well as a cheesecloth.
- Simply blend the hemp seeds with the water in a blender for 3 minutes or so or until the mixture is nicely blended.
- After that, strain your milk through a cheesecloth and voila…you are done.
- As with all milk, it will taste better when cold so chill it in the refrigerator, pour it into a glass and enjoy.
- You can store the milk in your refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Hemp milk is an excellent alternative to pasteurized cow’s milk. It is a low fat, low calorie healthy option for adults and children alike. It is suitable for vegans and provides everybody with the essential nutrients that they need to ensure good health.
Do you drink hemp milk? Do you prefer it to other dairy alternatives? Let us know how you use it and why you like it.