Hemp is not just a super food, it is the perfect whole food. If you were to mainly consume Hemp in your diet all your life, you would never be lacking in nutrients.
Hemp is an ideal source of your Omega 6 & 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in a perfectly balanced ratio of 3:1 (respectively). Hemp seed oil is a source of vitamin E that is lacking in a lot of other common table oils.
Among its numerous health benefits, hemp protein is highly digestible and in a form that is easily recognized by the human body. Hemp also contains a complex array of vitamins and minerals.
Hemp Seeds Are Incredibly Nutritious - containing over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3).
They also contain gamma-linoleic acid, which has been linked with several health benefits.
Hemp seeds are a great protein source, as more than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein. That is considerably more than similar foods like chia seeds and flaxseeds, which provide about 16–18%. Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron and zinc.
Hemp seeds can 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 May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease. Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide. Interestingly, eating hemp seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease via several mechanisms. They contain high amounts of the amino acid arginine, which is used to produce nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that makes the blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. In one large study of more than 13,000 people, increased arginine intake was linked with decreased levels of C-reactive protein CRP. CRP is an inflammatory marker linked with heart disease. The gamma-linoleic acid found in hemp seeds has also been linked with reduced inflammation, which may decrease the risk of diseases like heart disease. Additionally, animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and help the heart recover after a heart attack.
Hemp Seeds and Oil May Benefit Skin Disorders. Fatty acids may affect immune responses in the body. This may have something to do with the balance of the omega fatty acids. Hemp seeds are a good source of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids. They have about a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which is considered in the optimal range. Studies have shown that giving hemp seed oil to people with eczema may 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 a Great Source of Plant-Based Protein. About 25% of calories in hemp seeds come from protein, which is relatively high. In fact, by weight, hemp seeds provide amounts of protein similar to beef and lamb. 30 grams of hemp seeds, or 2–3 tablespoons, provide about 11 grams of protein. They are considered a complete protein source, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are not produced in the body and 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 is another example of a complete, plant-based protein source.
Hemp seeds contain significant amounts of the amino acids methionine and cysteine, as well as very high levels of arginine and glutamic acid. The digestibility of hemp protein is also very good — better than protein from many grains, nuts and legumes.
Hemp Seeds May Reduce Symptoms of PMS and Menopause. Up to 80% of women of reproductive age may suffer from physical or emotional symptoms caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These symptoms are very likely caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin. Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), found in hemp seeds, produces prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of prolactin.
In a study of women with PMS, taking one gram of essential fatty acids (including 210 mg of GLA) per day resulted in a significant decrease in symptoms. Other studies have shown that primrose oil, which is rich in GLA, may be highly effective in reducing symptoms for women who have failed other PMS therapies. It decreased breast pain and tenderness, depression, irritability and fluid retention associated with PMS. Because hemp seeds are high in GLA, several studies have indicated that hemp seeds may also help reduce the symptoms of menopause. Exactly how this works is unknown, but it has been suggested that the GLA in hemp seeds may help to regulate the hormone imbalances and inflammation associated with menopause.
Whole Hemp Seeds May Aid Digestion. Fibre is an essential part of the diet and is linked with better digestive health. Whole hemp seeds are a good source of both soluble (20%) and insoluble (80%) fibre.
Hemp naturally improves soil quality and promotes weed management. Since minimal preparation is required to start growing hemp, minimal input costs are incurred by the farmer. A hemp crop fits nicely into a three year crop rotation cycle and improves soil nutrients.
Hemp seed products have a pleasing flavour. Rich in complete protein and an excellent source of healthy oils – including vegetarian omega-3 fatty acids – hemp provides superior nutrition with a great taste. Hemp protein is high in globulins, types of proteins that enhance the immune system.
Hemp seed oil makes a very good addition to salad dressings or in cooking. The oil has a pleasant, nutty flavour and is a versatile food.
Hemp seed milks are beneficial to those who are lactose intolerant but still enjoy a “milk” of some type in cereal or coffee.
Hemp seeds have long been prized as a high-quality source of plant-based protein and omega fatty acids. A single serving of hemp seeds, about two heaping tablespoons, provides 11 grams of protein and 10 grams of omegas.
Hemp also packs in all nine essential amino acids, which we need to get through diet since our bodies don't produce them naturally. Hemp seed oil, which is the oil derived from pressed hemp seeds, contains the most essential fatty acids of any nut or seed oil.
Of the three main hemp products on the market—seeds, oil, and protein powder—hemp seeds will provide the broadest spectrum of nutritional benefits per serving.
How to Use
Eating Hemp products, is as simple as sprinkling or a spoonful or two into smoothies or on top of cereal, salads, or yogurt.
People with gluten sensitivity can use hemp seeds as a substitute for breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish. Just like you can blend almonds and water to make almond milk, you can do the same with hemp seeds for making hemp milk, which you can use as an alternative to dairy.
And because of its nutty flavour, hemp seeds make a great substitute for people with nut allergies—you can dry-toast them over low heat to bring out even more of that nuttiness.
Hemp seed oil should be used as a finishing oil, rather than a cooking or frying oil, since the delicate omega fatty acids will break down during the cooking process, stripping the oil of its nutritional benefits. Instead, use it to make salad dressings, or drizzle over pasta, grilled veggies, or popcorn.