Last Friday we received a really good question from Kate, who was wondering how many essential amino acids there are in Hemp Seeds and also whether they can help her to build muscle.
I wanted to address this today as we know she isn't our only community member that is enjoying a plant-based diet! So, let's dive into the answer..
What exactly are amino acids and why are they important?
Amino acids are the building blocks that make proteins, and proteins are super important for our health. The reason why is because proteins have are essential for growth, recovery, and repair (especially when it comes to working out!). Proteins also assist in breaking down food, the production of hormones, neurotransmitters and many other important functions in the body.
What are essential and non-essential amino acids?
There are 20 amino acids in the body and the body is capable of making 11 of those amino acids that are considered to be ‘non-essential’, while the other 9 amino acids can’t be made by the body and are required from the diet making them ‘essential’.
Essential amino acids include ‘histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine’. Complete protein sources are foods that contain all 20 amino acids, while this is common in animal-based proteins, it’s less common in plant-based proteins1.
If I’m a Vegetarian/Vegan should I be worried about getting complete protein sources?
It was once a popular belief that you needed to combine complete protein sources with every meal to get enough amino acids. While you may not need to consume complete proteins with every meal it recommended that you consume complete proteins through out the day to get adequate proteins overall.
However, another concern that is of interest is the potential for poor absorption of plant-based proteins in the gut. When you eat foods, the nutrients need to absorbed by the gut so that they can enter the blood and do their job! That’s why studies have indicated that is may be beneficial to consume 10-20% more protein than their animal eating counterparts2.
If I’m a vegetarian/vegan how much Hemp Protein should I be eating?
How much protein you need from your diet varies depending on your weight, gender, age and physical activity. Below is the current recommended daily intakes for protein in Australia.
The following table displays the protein RDI for Adults, based on their specific age bracket.
For example. If you’re a 51-70 year old vegan/vegetarian woman you would probably want to aim for 1gm/kg instead of 0.75g/kg as stated on the table.
Eg. 70 year old vegan/vegetarian woman who weighs 70kg = 70gm protein/day.
How do hemp seeds assist in a vegan/vegetarian diet?
What's cool about Hemp Seeds is that they contain all 9 essential amino acids. So this takes away the annoying task of having to count all the amino acids in all your protein foods as a vegetarian/vegan. Below is a table containing high protein foods with our 13 Seeds Hemp Protein Powder sitting at the top of the list!
*add hemp protein foods 50g of protein per 100g