Any avid seafood lover raves about the health benefits of fish. They catch or buy it, cook it, put it in burgers, and even consume it raw. As a low-fat high-quality protein, fish deserves all the love and attention.
But do you know something miraculous? You can achieve greater health benefits, minus all the hassle that goes into cultivating, processing, and preparing fish. Just two to three tablespoons of hemp seed protein powder can do the trick.
Hemp seed powder is a superior plant-based protein that beats even animal proteins like fish. Its positive influences on the human body and environment are too many to count. But don’t take my word for it.
Let us put the benefits of hemp seed into perspective, through a comparison with fish protein. In this blog, we will focus on fish and hemp seed nutrition facts; and some pressing issues regarding fish vs hemp seed production and consumption.
Hemp vs Fish: The Nutritional Comparison
“Protein” is too vague a term to be adequately analyzed. So let us break it down into some core components that need to be present for any food group to be considered healthy. We will also touch upon what these nutrients mean for your body.
- Amino Acids
Since the human body cannot store protein, it needs to be consumed regularly through meals. Your body converts the protein you consume into amino acids. Of the 20 amino acids, 9 are considered essential. They cannot be synthesized from other amino acids.
Hemp seed is considered a complete source of protein since it provides all the nine essential amino acids. It is specifically high in methionine, cysteine, glutamic acid, and arginine. Due to its high arginine content, hemp seed powder is beneficial for the heart.
Fish is a complete protein source as well. It is significantly abundant in proline, arginine, lysine, alanine, histidine, glutamic acid, and taurine. Thanks to these amino acids, your tissues heal and grow expeditiously.
Protein content in 100gms
Fish (mackerel) – 18.6g
- Omega Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated fats that make up the cellular walls in our body. These are the most essential fatty acids. They provide energy to our heart, lungs, immune system, and blood vessels. The biggest challenge is getting the right balance between them. An imbalance between the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 causes chronic diseases.
Hemp seed has a whopping 80% PUFA content. The ratio of linoleic acid (omega-6) to alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) is between 2:1 and 3:1. This omega-3, 6 ratio strikes the perfect balance for optimal human health.
Fish usually abound in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are two types of omega-3 fats. This implicates innumerable benefits for your body, from liver well-being to mental health. However, fish don’t hit the right balance between omega-3 and omega-6. This means you will have to rely on alternative sources of omega-6.
Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content in 100gms
Hemp seed (hulled) – 38.1g
Fish (mackerel) – 3.35g
- Dietary Fiber
Dietary fibers don’t break down or get digested in your digestive system. These are present in two forms – soluble and insoluble. They help with indigestion and prevent constipation, by promoting healthy bowel movements. Dietary fibers add to the mass of food, making you feel full with only small amounts of food intake. This way it helps control weight. It also stabilizes blood sugar levels and promotes gut health.
Hemp seeds are a high-fiber food. It contains a good 20%-80% ratio of soluble and insoluble fibers. Hemp seeds with the shell intact contains twice as much fiber as the hulled or shelled version, also known as hemp hearts.
Fish, on the other hand, has little to no dietary fiber. Hence you can’t expect any of the fiber-related benefits that hemp provides.
Dietary Fiber content in 100gms
Hemp seed (hulled) – 4g
Fish (mackerel) – 0g (insignificant)
- Vitamins And Minerals
Vitamins facilitate reproduction, growth, and energy processing in cells. They work in tandem with minerals. Minerals help in the proper utilization of vitamins. They also strengthen bones, transmit nerve impulses, produce hormones, heal cells, and maintain normal heart rates.
Hemp seeds are a good source of vitamins A, B, C, D3, and E. Among minerals, they chiefly contain iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and folate.
Fish abound in vitamins A, B2, B12, D, E, and K. They pack minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, sodium, magnesium, and potassium.
Fish VS Hemp Seed: Some Major Concerns
Nutritional benefits shouldn’t be your only concern when you consume protein. Where it comes from, how it impacts the environment, what unwanted substances it has, and how it affects your body are essential questions you should ask.
- Digestibility In The Body
Fish is relatively easier to digest as compared to other animal proteins. And that is all thanks to its low fat content. Its digestibility percentage is around 94%. However, the body still needs to break down the cooked fish into protein compounds which consume energy.
Hemp contains edestin and albumin ― two high-quality proteins ― which are easy to digest. Your body can extract 91-98% of hemp protein with negligible wastage of energy. Being devoid of lactose, it is also suitable for lactose-intolerant people.
- Health Benefits
Fish usually offers the following health benefits to your body,
- Robust heart health – low probability of blood clots, blood pressure, and stroke
- Development of vision – excellent eyesight
- Brain function and neurological stability
- Aversion of the risk of depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and diabetes
- Reduced inflammation – eases arthritis and asthma
- Decreased threat of autoimmune diseases
The health benefits of hemp protein powder are anticipated to be as follows:
- Maintenance of lean body mass for a slim body
- Upliftment of brain health and neurological conditions
- Boosting heart health and maintenance of blood pressure
- Managing chronic diseases by reducing inflammation
- Improvement of skin conditions
- Helping symptoms of PMS and menopause
- Aiding digestive health
- Danger Of Contamination
The mercury levels in oceans are on a catastrophic ascent. And the ever-increasing water pollution is to blame. Fish caught in the ocean are subject to this mercury contamination. And through seafood, dangerous levels of mercury make its way into our bodies. The results – epilepsy, neurological and developmental retardation, cancer.
Hemp, grown organically in the soil, is free of even pesticides and fertilizers. This is because hemp is weed and pest-resistant. So you can rest assured, no contaminants will enter your body through hemp seed powder.
- Sustainability And Environmental Impact
Fish farming is not a sustainable practice. 70% of the world’s fish are now fully exploited or depleted, according to the UN. Oceans are fast running out, in serving 8 billion people. That day isn’t far when all stocks of edible fish will finally collapse.
Hemp is not only sustainable but also benefits the environment by replenishing the soil with nutrients. Being carbon negative, it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it generates in its life cycle. Its carbon footprint is negative.
- Versatility Of Use
All processes of consuming fish involve the use of heat. And heat renders omega oils toxic. Not to mention the hassle that comes with preparing fish.
Hemp seed protein powder is cold-pressed. It eliminates all the hassle of cooking. Eaten raw, it has an earthy taste to it. It can be combined with any food or drink of choice, and you won’t even know you ate it. But your body will thank you for it.
The Reigning Champion: Hemp Seed Protein
As per our analysis, it is obvious that hemp seed protein takes the crown. While it has a lot of similarities with fish as a protein, when it comes to nutrition balance, nutrition content, sustainability, contamination risk, and versatility, hemp seed protein is way ahead.
Hemp protein powder has always been a better alternative to other plant-based proteins. And now it has proved itself superior to a mainstream animal protein like fish as well.
You don’t need to give up fish entirely, but it is high time you consider hemp protein benefits. Hemp protein powder is an alternative, sustainable source of protein. While we care about our health and taste buds, let’s not neglect the health of the planet either.