Yes, pregnant women are free to eat hemp protein and don’t have to worry about the adverse effects on their health. Hemp protein is made from hemp seeds, which contain a negligible 0.02 THC level, meaning they are nothing like cannabis plants that contain much more than this amount. Despite both being in the same species, hemp seeds are harmless and have an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients that every expectant mother needs.
Nutiva Organic, Cold-Processed Hemp Protein provides a high-quality plant protein with the branched-chain amino acids vital for good health. It also has all twenty amino acids with the added bonus of good-for-you essential fatty acids (2g per serving). Nutiva Hemp Protein also contains 66% edestin (a bioactive globulin protein that's easy to digest) more than any other plant.
A pregnant mother must be careful about anything she puts in her body. I had to worry about this every day while carrying my son for 9 months.
And it’s natural to be hesitant about anything so closely connected to the cannabis plant. However, while they are in the same family, hemp plants are mostly THC free and can’t make you high.
In this article, I’ll explain the health benefits of hemp seeds and the drawbacks to consider when deciding to eat them.
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Pros and Cons of Hemp Seeds for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
Below you will learn the advantages and drawbacks of consuming hemp seeds while expecting your baby to be born.
Pros of Eating Hemp Seeds While Pregnant or Breastfeeding
With a balanced diet, hemp seeds are a valuable food source packed with many nutrients for a mom and her baby. The key is not to over consume hemp hearts and figure out exactly how much of them you should be eating regularly.
Below are a few of the advantages you can expect from Hemp seeds.
- Helps body functions: Nutrients you can expect from hemp hearts are zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and omega -3 fatty acids. These nutrients are vital and are responsible for helping your body perform the necessary tasks for a normal pregnancy. The most valuable nutrient in this food is iron. You must ingest a generous amount of it to avoid iron deficiency anemia (IDA) while giving birth. This ailment causes your newborn to come into the world prematurely and have a below-average birth weight.
- Support Newborn Growth and maturation: Hemp seeds are a substantial source of plant protein for vegans. You are eating for two people when you are pregnant, so more protein is needed. In addition, the extra protein sustains fetal tissue development and breast tissue growth, which is essential for breastfeeding. The protein from hemp hearts also helps the blood flow supply in your body, and omega-3 fatty acids assist with the unborn’s brain development.
- Sustain Vigorous Digestive System: The rule of thumb is that pregnant women need 28 to 36 grams of fiber with every 1000 calories they consume if they are 19 to 30 years old. By ingesting 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds, you already have covered 1.2 grams of that requirement. Following this rule is a must if you want healthy bowel movements and never want to experience severe levels of constipation.
- Strengthen Heart Health: Omega-3s and omega-6s are two fatty acids that keep your heart strong, and hemp seeds have plenty of both. The magnesium in this family of fats assists in the movement of calcium throughout our cell membrane, which keeps your heart beating naturally.
Lastly, hemp hearts have certain bioactive compounds that support your immune system and keep you from getting sick.
Hemp Hearts are versatile seeds that will add nutrition and a rich nutty taste to any meal! Shelling the hemp seed produces the most nutritious and tender part of the seed, the heart. Hemp Hearts taste great, are easy to use, and nutritious too! There’s no need to grind or cook Hemp Hearts, they’re ready to eat straight from the bag and are simple to incorporate into your diet.
Potential Cons of Eating Hemp Seeds While Pregnant
Even the healthiest plant proteins must be consumed in moderation and can have side effects. Below are a few drawbacks you should know about before eating hemp hearts regularly.
- Gastrointestinal issues: Depending on your tolerance level, eating too many hemp seeds can provoke severe stomach aches and diarrhea for some women. If trying them for the first time, start with smaller servings to test how your body reacts to you eating them. Then, if there are no health problems, you can slowly increase your intake weekly.
- Allergy: Very few people will experience allergic reactions when eating hemp seeds, but it is possible. Symptoms you must be on the lookout for include stomach pangs, hives, skin rashes, red eyes, and wheezing. Worst-case scenarios will require you to go to the hospital immediately if you feel any signs of anaphylaxis.
- Medicine Interaction: I would not recommend hemp hearts if you take anticoagulants and medicine that helps with erratic heartbeats. Combining these drugs with hemp seeds will cause your potassium level to hit rock bottom, leading to long-term heart problems. It’s not worth the risk to you or your child when there are other alternatives for protein sources.
Is Hemp Protein Powder Safe During Pregnancy?
It’s natural for hemp protein powders to be available on the market when they are such a great source of protein. But every pregnant mother who wants the best for her unborn child wonders how safe these hemp powders are if you compare them to the traditional whey and pea protein options.
You can buy two versions of hemp protein powders at the moment. The first comes with 100% hemp protein, and the other comes with a mixture of other healthy proteins. I would stick with the 100% hemp options because they have the most fiber. The high percentage of natural fibers makes hemp protein powders a better option for me than whey protein.
Pea protein was my second favorite protein powder when I was pregnant. Both hemp and pea powders come with all the essential amino acids your body needs to function. However, depending on the specific type of amino acid, hemp has a little less, so it’s something to keep in mind.
Especially if you are a vegan, I think combining these two is the way to go along with a healthy diet and stay away from whey protein. It would not be wise to drink protein drinks all day and expect them to provide you with all the nutrients you need for the day. Hemp protein drinks can never replace the protein you need from natural foods which have tons of amino acids.
Hemp protein powder is 100% safe to use while pregnant since it does not contain harmful chemicals like THC and CBD. However, there are two things you need to assess before purchasing a hemp powder to ensure you lower the risk of any side effects popping up.
- Pick a hemp protein powder assembled by a respected company: It must be well known for delivering quality health products. Always read the nutritional label to see what you are getting, and if they don’t have one, immediately move on to the next option. Reading the label is essential because health supplements do not have FDA approvals, so you must do the research and find out what’s in your hemp powder.
- Choose a third-party certified protein: Any reputable health supplement company will hire a third-party entity to audit the quality of their products. The stamp of approval will be on the product’s packaging in the form of the logo of the auditing company. I recommend you look out for USP, NSF, and Ul. These respected third-party auditing firms have been around for many years and are not going anywhere anytime soon.
Can Expecting Mothers Consume Hemp Seed Milk?
Hemp milk is a secure substitute for anyone who is lactose intolerant but needs a good protein source. It’s created by combining hemp seeds, warm water, and sea salt. You can drink the mixture once it is completely liquified.
Like hemp protein powder, the only ingredient is hemp seeds. Neither CBD nor THC is included, making it a safe milk source for pregnant women.
How does hemp milk compete with other non-dairy offerings on the market? Of course, this question is expected, and to answer it for you, I went through the nutritional facts for soy, almond, oat, and hemp milk under one particular brand.
Doctors suggest all pregnant mothers drink milk to get enough calcium in their bodies to support the bone growth of their unborn child. Hemp milk, along with the other non-dairy options above, has plenty of calcium along with other health benefits.
Only by drinking 8 ounces of hemp milk, you already cover 1/4 of your daily calcium requirement. This fact makes hemp milk the best non-dairy option when you need a choice high in calcium.
If protein is a priority for you, don’t go with hemp or almond milk because they only have 3 grams of protein per 8 ounces you drink. The non-dairy alternative with the highest protein percentage is soy milk.
Lastly, I know taste is also important, so I gave each one a try, and they each had their own distinctive flavor. My favorite was hemp milk because it had a nutty flavor that I could tolerate since I would be drinking it daily while waiting to give birth to my child.
All of these options are safe to consume during pregnancy, but I will always recommend hemp milk to everyone I meet.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can you have protein shakes while pregnant?
Protein drinks are a great way to get the protein intake you need while pregnant. Before getting started, make sure you consult with your doctor and get permission to make sure it’s safe for you.
When should I start taking protein during pregnancy?
You can start anytime you like before and during your pregnancy. If you find out you are underweight, you should speak to a doctor.