What Are Hemp Seeds?
Hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts, are a nutty food. They are actually the seeds of the hemp plant, or Cannabis sativa. Just like sunflower seeds, they are actually a dry fruit with a hard shell.
Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritiously dense foods and thus truly termed as superfoods by the leading dietary supplement researchers.
Whereas these tiny, pale-beige to dark-brown seeds constitute the edible portion of the hemp plant (aka weed, pot, ganja, grass, marijuana, doobage), but they contain only a trace amount of THC, the active drug in marijuana. Actually, they won’t get you high at all. Rather they are absolutely safe and extremely healthy to eat because of their unique nutritional profile.
Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
If you’re looking for something to improve digestion, boost metabolism, balance hormones, control heart diseases, diabetes and much more, then hemp seeds may just be the answer for you. It hardly has any side effects. Read on here health benefits and side effects of hemp seeds.
Hemp Seed Nutrition Profile
Hemp seeds are nutrition dense food. They are chockfull of omega fatty acids, fiber, protein, etc. They are “perfect protein” source, containing all 20 amino acids, including each one of the nine essential amino acids, which your body cannot produce.
One ounce (28 grams) of hemp seeds contains about: Source: 1
(i) Calories: 161
(ii) Carbohydrates: 3.3 grams
(iii) Protein: 9.2 grams
(iv) Fat: 12.3 grams (including omega 6 & omega 3)
(v) Fiber: 2 grams
(vi) Manganese: 2.8 milligrams (140 percent DV)
(vii) Vitamin E: 15.4 milligrams (77 percent DV)
(viii) Magnesium: 300 milligrams (75 percent DV)
(ix) Phosphorus: 405 milligrams (41 percent DV)
(x) Zinc: 5 milligrams (34 percent DV)
(xi) Iron: 3.9 milligrams (22 percent DV)
(xii) Copper: 0.1 milligram (7 percent DV)
Hemp Seeds May Cut Down Risk of Heart Disease
The early studies have shown that hempseeds and their oil may help in reducing risk of coronary artery disease, improving cardiovascular health & reducing high blood pressure. This is due to the presence of healthy omega 3 fatty acids in hempseeds and their oil, which are in the form of ALA (alpha linolenic acid).
They are high in amino acid arginine, which your body uses to produce nitric oxide in the body (Source: 4). And nitric oxide is a gas molecule, which can dilate the blood vessels and relax us, leading to lowering of blood pressure and cutting down of heart disease risk (Source: 5)
In another large study involving more than 13,000 participants, higher arginine intake was associated with diminished level of C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is an inflammatory marker associated with heart disease (Source: 6 & 7)
Hemp also has significant amounts of magnesium, B vitamins, and protein so it can also provide other health benefits to you and improve heart condition on other levels.
When we talk of using hemp for improving heart health, just 1 or 2 servings per day are considered good. That is three tablespoons of raw organic hempseeds or one to two tablespoons of raw organic hempseed oil.
Tip: Add 2 tablespoons of whole hemp seeds to your morning smoothie to naturally reduce blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol and regulate triglycerides.
Hemp Seeds Chockfull Of Plant-Based Protein
Almost 25% of calories contained in hemp seeds come from protein, which is comparatively quite high.
They provide all of the essential amino acids, thus they are a complete source of protein such as chicken, fish or beef. Since, your body cannot produce the essential amino acids you have to get them from food.
Actually, weight-by-weight, hemp seeds offer similar amounts of protein like beef and lamb. About 30 grams of hemp seeds, equivalent to two to three tablespoons, provide approximately 11 grams of protein (Source: 8)
Hemp seeds have substantial amounts of the amino acids – methionine and cysteine, as well as quite high amounts of arginine and glutamic acid (Source: 9)
Bonus point is hemp protein is easier to digest than protein from several other grains, nuts and legumes (Source: 10)
Tip: Add 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds to smoothie or a salad to get 10 grams of good quality protein.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advocates incorporating more non-meat sources of protein and hemp seeds in diet.
Whole Hemp Seeds May Help Digestion
Fiber is a necessary part of your diet and plays an important role in improving digestive health (Source: 11).
Fiber in hemp seeds helps to prevent constipation by improving bowel function.
Whole hemp seeds are high in both soluble as well as insoluble fiber in proportion of 1:4 (Source: 12)
Soluble fiber creates a gel-like matter in the gut. It is a useful element for the beneficial digestive bacteria, and helps decrease spikes in blood sugar level and also normalize cholesterol levels (Source: 13 and 14)
Insoluble fiber adds enough bulk to fecal substance and facilitates food & waste pass through the gut and so helps relieve constipation. Eating insoluble fiber has also been associated with a lesser risk of diabetes (Source: 15 and 16)
(i) Hemp seed shell contains most of the fiber so make sure to include whole hemp seeds in your diet instead of eating de-hulled or shelled hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) because the fiber-rich shells are removed.
(ii) Men need about 38 grams of fiber per day, and women 25 grams. Roughly, one tablespoon of whole hemp seeds provides about 1 gram of fiber.
Hemp Seeds May Help To Ease Arthritis And Joint Pain
Some research studies have found that hemp seeds & hemp seed oil can be helpful in easing symptoms relating to rheumatoid arthritis. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, consuming proper dose of hemp seed oil can reduce the survival rate of MH7A rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synovial cells. This study supports the hypothesis that hemp seed oil contains anti-arthritic properties, which can help ease arthritis symptoms (Source: 17)
For treatment, consider taking 1 tablespoon of hemp seed oil everyday along with a good quality fish oil.
Rich Source Of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)
GLA is a vital building block for certain prostaglandins – hormone-like chemicals in your body that aid improve muscles, restrain inflammation & regulate body temperature, and control various other body functions. Researchers have construed that GLA supplementation is essential for hormone health, which is possibly the reason that many women having PMS symptoms have been helped by it (Source: 18)
GLA and foods rich in GLA like hemp seeds have also been found to alleviate and may also benefit people who are suffering from the following disorders:
(i) Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
(ii) Breast pain
(iii) Diabetic disorders like diabetes
(iv) Cardiovascular, psychiatric, and immunological disorders
(vi) Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
(vii) Rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain
(viii) Skin disorders like psoriasis, atopic eczema, etc.
Hemp Seed Side Effects
There really aren’t any serious side Effects Of Hemp Seeds. In very few people who consume them, the possible side effects are:
(i) Stomach Discomfort And Diarrhea: They are a great source of fiber, which help digestion. However, too much consumption of the seeds can over stimulate intestinal tract resulting in to frequent bowel movements and may lead to upset stomach. In some cases, you may also experience mild nausea or stomach pain.
They are rich in fat, but majority of this is polyunsaturated fat (healthy fat) and have both the omega-6 as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
Tip: If your digestive system is sensitive to changes, you can begin eating them in small amounts and gradually work your way up to the normal hemp seed dose of up to 2 tablespoons.
(ii) Allergies: You may be allergic to certain compounds contained in the hemp seeds. So, if you suffer any allergic reaction – immediately discontinue the use of it and consult your doctor.
(iii) Medical Interaction: When taking hemp seeds, there are no known drug interactions with common medications. However, if you take anticoagulants, you need to be more cautious about eating hemp seeds because they impede blood platelets and may pose a bleeding risk.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have concern about potential interactions with any medication that you are taking, then to be on safer side talk to your doctor before you start taking them.