Hemp seeds are of course the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.
They are actually from the same species as cannabis (marijuana).
However, hemp seeds do contain only trace amounts of THC, the compound that does cause the drug-like effects of marijuana.
Hemp seeds are indeed exceptionally nutritious and also rich in healthy fats, protein, and various minerals.
1. Hemp Seeds Are Incredibly Nutritious
- Hemp seeds are very nutritious. They have a mild, nutty flavor and are often referred to as hemp hearts.
- Hemp seeds do contain over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).
- They also do contain gamma-linolenic acid, which has been linked with several health benefits.
- Hemp seeds contain a lot of protein source, as more than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein.
- There are similar to chia seeds as well as flaxseeds, which do provide about 16–18%.
- Hemp seeds contain a lot of vitamin E as well as minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
- Hemp seeds can indeed be consumed raw, cooked or roasted. Hemp seed oil is also very healthy and has been used as a food/medicine in China for at least 3,000 years.
- Hemp seeds are also rich in healthy fats and also essential fatty acids. They are also a great protein source and do contain high amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron as well as zinc.
2. Hemp Seeds May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
- Heart disease is acknowledged as the number one killer worldwide.
- Interestingly, eating hemp seeds may actually reduce the risk of heart disease via several mechanisms.
- They do contain high amounts of the amino acid arginine, which is used to produce nitric oxide in one’s body.
- Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that does make the blood vessels dilate as well as relax, leading to lowered blood pressure and also a reduced risk of heart disease.
- The gamma-linolenic acid found in hemp seeds has also been associated with reduced inflammation, which may also decrease the risk of diseases such as heart disease.
- Animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may indeed reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and also help the heart recover after a heart attack.
Hemp seeds are indeed a great source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, which have been really linked with a reduced risk of heart disease.
3. Hemp Seeds and Oil May Benefit Skin Disorders
- Fatty acids may also affect immune responses in one’s body.
- This may have something to do with the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Hemp seeds are indeed a proper source of polyunsaturated as well as essential fatty acids. They have about a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which is indeed considered in the optimal range.
- Studies have indeed shown that giving hemp seed oil to people with eczema may also improve blood levels of essential fatty acids.
- It may also relieve dry skin, improve itchiness and reduce the need for skin medication.
- Hemp seeds are also rich in healthy fats. They have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which may also benefit skin diseases. In some cases, this may also provide relief from eczema and its uncomfortable symptoms.
4. Hemp Seeds Are a Great Source of Plant-Based Protein
- About 25% of the calories in hemp seeds come from protein, which is relatively on the higher side
- In fact, by weight, hemp seeds do provide amounts of the protein similar to beef as well as lamb. They are considered to be a complete protein source, which does mean that they do provide all the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are not produced in the body and also need to be gotten from the diet.
- Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom, as plants often lack the amino acid lysine. Quinoa happens to be of another complete, plant-based protein source.
- Hemp seeds contain significant amounts of the amino acids methionine as well as cysteine, as well as very high levels of arginine as well as glutamic acid.
- The digestibility of hemp protein is also very good, much better than protein from many grains, nuts, and legumes.
- Hemp seeds do contain all the essential amino acids, thus making them a complete protein source.
5. Hemp Seeds May Reduce Symptoms of PMS and Menopause
- Up to 80% of women of reproductive age may also suffer from physical or emotional symptoms caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- These symptoms are rather very likely caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin.
- Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), that is found in hemp seeds does produce prostaglandin E1, which does reduce the effects of prolactin.
- As hemp seeds are high in GLA, several studies have also indicated that hemp seeds may also help to reduce the symptoms of menopause.
- Exactly how this works is unknown, but it has been suggested that the GLA in hemp seeds may also help to regulate the hormone imbalances and inflammation associated with menopause.
Hemp seeds may also reduce symptoms that are associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and may also positively affect symptoms of menopause.
6. Whole Hemp Seeds May Aid Digestion
- Fiber is an essential part of the diet and is also linked with better digestive health.
- Whole hemp seeds are also a good source of both soluble (20%) and insoluble (80%) fiber.
- Soluble fiber does form a gel-like substance in the gut. It is a valuable source of nutrients for the beneficial digestive bacteria, and may actually also reduce spikes in blood sugar and also regulate cholesterol levels.
- Insoluble fiber does add bulk to fecal matter and may also help food and waste pass through the gut. Consuming insoluble fiber has also been linked with a reduced risk of diabetes.
- De-hulled or shelled hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) do contain very little fiber because the fiber-rich shell has been removed.
- Whole hemp seeds do contain high amounts of fiber, both soluble as well as insoluble, which does benefits digestive health. De-hulled hemp seeds do have had the fiber-rich shell removed, and therefore contain very little fiber.