Have you heard of hemp seeds? I personally love sprinkling some in my salads for some added texture, or on top of some greek yogurt with honey drizzled over it. I also use them in quite a few of my Clean Eats products.
Fun fact: hemp seeds are technically nuts! They are the seeds of the hemp plant, from the same species as cannabis (marijuana). I hate to break it to you, though – hemp seeds contain only trace amounts of THC, the compound that causes the drug-like effects of marijuana. Nonetheless, hemp seeds are actually illegal in some places, including Australia. Luckily, here in North America, hemp seeds are not only allowed, but they’re widely available everywhere (including Costco!).
Do you know why hemp seeds are so great, though? Because they’re insanely healthy in many ways. Here are 6 reasons to add hemp seeds to your diet today:
Hemp seeds contain almost 30% fat, and are rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids (much like other nuts and seeds). They are also a great protein source and contain an impressive amount of of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
Hemp seeds are a great source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, which have been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease. In addition to this, recent animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may actually reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and even help the heart to recover after a heart attack.
About 25% of calories in hemp seeds come from protein, which is relatively high (chia seeds and flax seeds, for example, weigh in at about 16-18%). They are considered a complete protein source, which is quite rare as far as plants are concerned. This means that hemp seeds provide all the essential amino acids.
Whole hemp seeds are a good source of both soluble (20%) and insoluble (80%) fiber, and as we know, consuming the right amount of fiber is one of the keys to digestive health. It should be noted that hemp hearts (hulled hemp seeds), however, have had the fiber-rich shell removed, and therefore contain very little fiber.
Hemp seeds can actually reduce symptoms associated with PMS, and may also positively affect symptoms of menopause. Though it is still unclear, it has been suggested from recent studies that the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) contained in hemp seeds may help to regulate the hormone imbalances and inflammation associated with menopause. Some studies have also shown GLA to decrease breast pain and tenderness, depression, irritability and fluid retention associated with PMS.
Do you eat hemp seeds? If so, what is your favorite way to use them?