Hemp seeds, also known as Hemp hearts, have been attracting more and more attention in the health food industry, as their health benefits become more known and they become more popular. Hemp seeds are one of the most versatile nutrition-packed foods available and can be added to sweet or savoury dishes. They go just as well with cereal as they do with salads. Hemp seeds are soft and very easy to digest and their protein content and essential fatty acid profile make them a fantastic additive to anyone’s diet.
Rich in Protein
Hemp hearts are rich in essential fatty acids and as a complete protein, containing almost as much protein as soybean. Hemp seeds are also rich in Vitamin E and minerals including phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc.
Source of Essential Fatty Acids
Hemp is an important source for essential fatty acids (EFA’s). EFA’s are not produced by the body and need to obtained from food. Hemp foods are one of the best sources for the full spectrum of EFA’s. Hemp foods provide a balanced ratio of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. The fatty acid ratio in hemp is extremely close to the fatty acid ratio found in the human body. This makes hemp special because it will not upset the body’s natural fatty acid balance the way other oils can.
According to one of the largest hemp seed manufacturers in the world, hemp hearts contain more protein and omega 3 & 6 than chia and flax seeds. The Harvard School of Public Health points out some great benefits of Omega 3 and some we’d like to highlight are:
- Improves heart health and cholesterol levels
- Improves inflammation
Hemp is also a source of the rare omega fat GLA gamma linolenic acid, which is a fatty acid strongly associated with healthy skin, heart health and weight management.
Source of Essential Amino Acids
Hemp foods are a great source of easily digestible protein. This makes hemp an important food for those on a vegan, vegetarian or raw food diet. Hemp foods also provide the 8 essential amino acids. These amino acids are important because your body cannot make them and they need to be obtained from food.
How to eat hemp seeds
Hemp seeds add great texture, nutrition and flavor to yogurt, snacks, salads and smoothies. Just as you would add a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds or flax seeds to your snack or meal, you can add hemp. You can account for hemp seeds as your protein and healthy fat source.
Hempseed oil has been used as a food/medicine in China for more than 3,000 years. Obtained by pressing the hemp seeds, hempseed oil is not suitable for cooking because of its high heat intolerance, however it can be substituted for olive oil as a salad dressing and will add a nutty and crispy taste to food.