Why we avoid it:
Hemp is the same species as marijuana, a psychoactive plant that is illegal in many parts of the world. That association alone is enough to turn off the straight and narrow.
Why we should eat it:
Hemp is indeed a variety of cannabis, but the concentration of the psychoactive substance — tetrahydrocannabinol or THC — is extremely low. Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds ground and soaked in water, resulting in a creamy beverage with a slight nutty flavour. It’s an ideal alternative for the lactose intolerant and those who have an aversion to animal dairy products. It’s also surprisingly nutritious. Hempseed has a protein profile that is close to perfect compared to other sources, like meat, milk and eggs. It contains all 21 known amino acids, including the nine essential ones that we can only get from our diet. It also contains both essential fatty acids in a ratio that easily provides our daily requirements.
Almost half the weight of hempseeds is made up of edible oils, the majority of which is omega-6 (linoleic acid), omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and a little bit of hard-to-find gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is a type of omega-6 fat that has unique properties that are being researched as a cancer treatment. In addition, hemp milk is rich in magnesium, potassium and iron, minerals that might not be absorbed efficiently in other plant sources because of the presence of enzyme-inhibiting phytates. But hemp milk is devoid of phytates, making its nutrients more digestible.
With such a superior nutritional profile, it’s a wonder we don’t see hemp milk outside of health food stores and speciality shops. Seek it out!