The Amazing Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds: A Complete Guide
Hemp seeds are one of the most exciting emerging super foods on the market today. With an incredible nutritional profile, they provide a wide range of health benefits to the human body. Hemp seeds do come from the Cannabis sativa plant but do not produce a ‘high’ effect, as hemp is the name given to strains of cannabis with extremely low to no THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the high. In consumer products, these are usually called Hemp Hearts, as we consume the hulled hemp seed or the heat in the middle.
Nutrient Break Down
Are hemp hearts good for you? The answer is a resounding yes. Hemp seeds boast a high content of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, each contributing to a plethora of health benefits.
Protein Power: Approximately one-third of a hemp seed's weight is protein. This means a typical 30g serving delivers 10g of complete protein, which includes all nine essential amino acids our body cannot produce. This makes hemp seeds an exceptional source of plant-based protein, suitable for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike.
Fats for Health: Hemp seeds are a fantastic source of essential fatty acids, offering an ideal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. Since our body can't produce these crucial fats, they must come from our diet. With mounting evidence supporting the importance of healthy fats, hemp seeds prove to be a valuable addition to any meal plan.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin and Mineral Rich: Hemp seeds are abundant in essential vitamins and minerals, fortifying your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
The Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Beyond their nutritional profile, hemp seeds have an array of health benefits:
The presence of optimal levels of omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart associated diseases and complications. Hemp seeds are high in omega 3s, while also containing omega 6s.
Hemp Seeds also contain high levels of arginine, an important amino acid that aids the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is important as it helps keep veins and arteries healthy and improves blood pressure and blood flow.
Hemp seed research has shown their potential anti-inflammatory capacity due to the high antioxidant content. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals that act as antioxidants, hemp seeds can work as a natural anti-inflammatory. They have also been shown to have anti-neuroinflammatory potential, helping to protect the brain from inflammation.
Hemp Seeds are also a great source of GLA (gamma linolenic acid) known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is at the heart of all disease, so reducing it is a sure way to better health. Lower inflammation can help prevent and manage diseases such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and more.
Most skin conditions have underlying inflammation which can be improved through antioxidant rich foods like hemp seeds. Acne for example can be a result of chronic inflammation as well as other skin diseases. Acne is also linked to a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids of which hemp seeds are full of.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Inflammation in the joints from arthritis can be extremely uncomfortable. Research has suggested hemp seed oil can have anti-inflammatory effects which help against arthritis symptoms.
How can you consume hemp seeds?
Hemp Seed Oil
Made by cold pressing hemp seeds, hemp seed oil can be used to cook with, added to smoothies, salads, pesto’s and more.
Hemp protein is one of the only complete vegetarian protein available, containing all essential amino acids. It is a great replacement for not only those using vegetarian protein powders like soy, rice or pea but also an alternative for whey protein.
As hemp seeds are such a versatile food, they have been incorporated into a huge range of snack foods. Hemp hearts alone are a great snack but you may also encounter hemp bars, hemp chocolate, hemp cookies, hemp muesli and more.
Extracted from the hemp seed, hemp hearts are what is left once the hard outer shell has been removed. These have a very light nutty flavour and can be added to almost any dish. They blend extremely well, making them a great addition to smoothies and soups. They can be sprinkled on any dish to enhance the nutrient content.
By removing the oil and grinding the seed, a nutritious flour is created. This hemp seed flour is higher in protein, fiber and fat than white wheat flour so you cannot simply replace it entirely from any flour recipe. In order to use hemp flour effectively, you need to mix it with another flour in a 50/50 ratio.
Remember, hemp seeds and all hemp products and food will not produce a mind altering effect if they’re truly hemp. Hemp seeds are extremely nutritious and should be incorporated into your daily diet!