Even though hemp seeds are seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant, they do not possess the psychedelic effects granted by marijuana. However, they do have traces of THC, which is a psychoactive compound. These tiny, brown seeds are used in several applications, right from treating ailments to manufacturing ropes and fabrics.
In this post, we will explore the various health and nutritional benefits of hemp seeds:
7 Health and Nutritional Benefits of Hemp Seeds
The following are seven science-backed health and nutritional benefits of hemp seeds:
1. They are Extremely Nutritious
Even though they are technically a nut, hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) are a powerhouse of nutrition. They possess a mild and nutty flavor.
The hemp seeds constitute nearly 30% healthy fats, with linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) as the primary essential fatty acids.
They also contain traces of gamma-linolenic acid. They are a rich source of Vitamin E and minerals, like sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, and sulfur.
Furthermore, the fact that they can be consumed raw, roasted, cooked, and even as hemp cigarettes makes it extremely versatile to include in your diet.
2. They Protect the Heart
Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death around the world. However, you can prevent the risk of developing any heart disease or condition with hemp seeds!
Hemp seeds are loaded with arginine, a form of amino acid that produces nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps with the dilation of blood vessels, thereby relaxing the pressure on the heart and promoting heart health.
At the same time, gamma-linolenic acid helps bring down inflammation. Several animal studies indicate that hemp seeds could help control blood pressure, prevent blood clot formation, and help the heart recover after a heart attack.
3. They Can Help Counter Skin Disorders
Fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 help in improving the body’s immune response. In addition to the essential fatty acids, hemp seeds also supply a healthy amount of polyunsaturated fats.
These fatty acids help fight autoimmune diseases and skin conditions that are a result of chronic inflammation or compromised immunity.
As a result, regular consumption of hemp seeds can not only contribute to building your immunity but also help you counter various skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, eczema, dry skin, and itchiness.
4. They are the Best Source of Plant-Based Protein
Thirty grams or three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain almost 11 grams of protein. It means that nearly 25% of the total calories in hemp seeds are derived from high-quality protein. Comparatively, foods like chia seeds and flaxseeds contain a mere 16-18% of protein.
Interestingly, hemp seeds supply a similar amount of protein by weight as animal-based sources like beef and lamb. Plus, the digestibility of hemp seeds is better than other sources of protein, such as nuts and legumes.
Thus, hemp seeds can be considered as a complete and holistic source of protein as they supply all the essential amino acids. The body is unable to produce these essential amino acids and aims at sourcing it through food items.
5. They Alleviate the Symptoms of PMS and Menopause
As many as 80% of women, within the reproductive age bracket, struggle with physical or emotional problems during their menstrual cycle, a condition known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Scientists believe that the symptoms are a result of the body’s reaction to the hormone prolactin.
Interestingly, consuming hemp seeds or smoking CBD cigarettes releases gamma-linolenic acid, which produces prostaglandin E1.
This hormone reduces sensitivity to prolactin and a subsequent decrease in the symptoms of PMS. Studies indicate that gamma-linolenic acid alleviates breast pain, breast tenderness, irritability, depression, and fluid retention.
Further, hemp seeds may also help with the regulation of female hormones. However, preliminary studies are still underway to discover the true relationship between female hormones and hemp seeds.
6. They Help with Digestion
Whole hemp seeds are loaded with fiber, which is an essential part of a balanced diet. These grains are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble forms of fiber. Soluble fiber constitutes 20% of the composition, while insoluble fiber occupies the remaining 80%.
Soluble fiber combines with water to form a gel-like substance in the gut. It helps regulate the blood-sugar spike and also benefits the bacteria present in the digestive tract. Additionally, it also helps control the body’s cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, insoluble fibers bulk up stools and help the body pass stools and excrete other wastes through the gut. Studies also indicate that insoluble fiber helps reduce the risk of diabetes.
However, do bear in mind that to enjoy the fiber content of hemp seeds, you need to consume them whole. Hemp hearts or hulled hemp contains very little fiber.
7. They Help With Chronic Disease Management
The high antioxidant levels in hemp seeds are due to the presence of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the 3:1 ratio. As a result, they help in overcoming inflammation.
Further, gamma-linolenic acid is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. On the other hand, the antioxidants neutralize the free radicals, which aggravate inflammation.
Therefore, the properties of hemp hearts to bring down inflammation helps in better management of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, metabolic syndromes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, and arthritis.
The traces of CBD also help in dealing with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, childhood seizure disorders, and neuropathic pain.
As seen from above, it becomes clear that hemp seeds contain a wealth of nutrients and health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, essential minerals, and vitamins, making it fir for the superfood title.
The shells of hemp seeds are an excellent way to incorporate more fiber into your diet and promote gut and digestive health.
While they may only contain trace amounts of THC (<0.3%), consuming them in large quantities as some may exceed these concentrations and go beyond the legally admissible range.
Further, those struggling with cannabis dependence must also avoid hemp seeds in any form.