In the endless hunt for the best protein supplement, our vote goes to hemp protein powder. Undoubtedly, the looks of this powder may bring back memories to boomers growing up in the wild 60s and 70s. However, not to worry, the protein powder from food grade hemp seed won't give you a high - other, of course, than what you'll get from the nutrients in this amazing seed.
Like its better-known cousin, flaxseed, hemp seed is a high protein seed that contains all nine of the essential amino acids. Its protein is easier to digest than whey and other vegetarian proteins that can cause bloating and gas, and, unlike soy, it doesn't contain any phytic acid (a chemical that inhibits the absorption of minerals).
Hemp seed tops out this list together with goji berries for its slew of other health benefits: in addition to containing 20 amino acids, it is also the highest botanical source of essential fatty acids. Hemp seed contains a perfect 3:6 ratio of omega fats, which as we know has numerous important properties, including enhancing cardiovascular health and strengthening the immune system.
Finally, and we promise to stop raving shortly, hemp seed is a good source of phytonutrients that protect your bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin and internal organs.
Best way to use. If you want to add hemp to your diet, keep an eye for less processed products, like pure hemp seeds, hemp oil or raw hemp protein powder. Hemp seed powder has a slightly nutty flavor and tastes great in e.g. a smoothie with yogurt, water, and a little honey or other sweetener. Try adding a dash of turmeric as well to get the inflammatory benefits of this important herb.
Chia seeds might be the strangest superfood on this list. They come from a mint-like plant and were eaten by the Aztecs, but, nowadays, they're best known as the main ingredient in chia pets, the animal-shaped planters often given as gag gifts.
But more and more people are turning to chia seeds as a food source because of their excellent nutritive properties. They contain protein, fiber, antioxidants, magnesium and more omega-3 fatty acid than any other plant source, including flaxseed.
Two ounces of chia seed contains over three times as much calcium as an equivalent amount milk, plus boron, a mineral that supports bone health, making it a great choice for people concerned about osteoporosis.
Omega-3 also supports heart health, and, since chia is a good source of fiber, it can be used to help manage weight and diabetes.
Best Way to Use: Chia seed doesn't have much flavor, and the seeds themselves are tiny, so it's fairly easy to introduce them into your diet-sprinkle them in yogurt, salads or anything you want.
For best results, soak the chia seeds in water for 20-30 minutes first. They are an excellent addition to smoothies, which also helps conceal the slightly slimy texture they get when soaked (think flax seeds). Just be sure to blend the smoothie for at least a couple of minutes, as it may otherwise get a lumpy texture. For a real power drink, try adding two teaspoons of soaked chia seeds to the hemp seed smoothie described above.