In it's natural organic state hemp seed is considered by many to be the safest, most digestible, balanced, natural and complete source of protein, amino acids, and essential fats found anywhere in nature, containing 20 amino acids, but also each of the nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce. Raw organic shelled hempseed has a mild, nutty flavour and is often referred to as hemp hearts; these contain over 30% fat. They are also incredibly rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). They also contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which has been linked to a number of health benefits.
For a long time, the nutritional benefits of hemp have been forgotten because of its botanical relationship to medicinal varieties of cannabis. However, hemp seeds don’t cause any psychotropic reactions and instead may provide significant health benefits because of their fantastic nutritional profile.
Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that has a long history of use in many parts of the world, going back as far as 10,000 years. Unfortunately, since the 1930s it’s been put into the same category as cannabis because it contains a small amount of naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinoids (THC), and its use has been overlooked to a great extent because of this. Industrial hemp is by no means as strong as cannabis and contains about 0.2–1.5 percent THC, whereas cannabis contains about 5 - 20 percent or more THC.
It is the idea food to improve digestion, balance hormones and improve metabolism, therefore hemp seeds may just be the superfood we can all use to help this.
Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are the seeds of the hemp plant, or Cannabis Sativa L. Cannabis comes from the same plant but hemp seeds are in fact, completely safe and very healthy to eat.
Hemp is actually one of the most widely utilized and diverse industrial crops in the world. Its fibres are considered the longest and most durable of all natural fibres, and it can and should be grown without any herbicides or pesticides as it is a bio-accumulator and so can accumulate these chemicals during the growth cycle.
Hemp seed oil, or hemp oil, is made by pressing hemp seeds and is used for many commercially manufactured products. Some of the products made with hemp seed oil include:
Body care products
The benefits of hemp seeds include:
- Being rich in Gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA), a necessary building block for some prostaglandins, these are hormone-like chemicals in the body which aid to smooth muscles, control inflammation and body temperature, and are vital to other body functions. Researchers have surmised that GLA supplementation is necessary for proper hormone health, which is probably why many women suffering from PMS symptoms have been helped by using it.
GLA and GLA-rich foods like hemp seeds have also been seen to help people with:
Diabetes and diabetic neuropathy
High blood pressure
- Research has shown that hemp seeds and hemp seed oil can be helpful in relieving rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. A study published in the Journal of Ethno-pharmacology took a look at hemp seed oil’s effects on arthritis. What researchers found was hemp seed oil treatment lowered the survival rate of MH7A rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synovial cells, and at certain doses it even promoted cell death. They concluded that hemp seed oil has anti-arthritic effects, which can help patients suffering from its symptoms.
- Hemp is a natural appetite suppressant and can help you feel full longer and reduce sugar cravings. Some experts recommend that adding four tablespoons of the seeds to your breakfast will help curb excess hunger the entire day. This is partly due to the fibre in hemp seeds, which promotes satiety and in turn aids weight loss.
- High in insoluble and soluble fibre, which aid digestive health, hemp seeds provide more than enough bulk to keep your gastrointestinal system regular. Additionally, this healthy mixture of roughage feeds the probiotics in your gut and helps secure a robust immune system.
One of the benefits of high-fibre foods like hemp seeds is the ability to help relieve constipation. A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology and conducted at Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Chinese Medicine comprised two parts: a placebo-controlled clinical study and dose determination study. Subjects were studied in a two-week run-in, eight-week treatment and eight-week follow-up plan who had excessive syndrome of constipation and were given hemp seed pills.
The researchers found that a dose of 7.5 grams was effective and therapeutic and that the hemp seed pill treatment was effective for relieving functional constipation.
- Hemp seed benefits for skin, nails and hair go a long way in improving dry, red, flaking skin. Mostly used in high-end cosmetic products, hemp oil is often included in lip balms, lotions and soaps. The oil in hemp seeds penetrates the inner layers of the skin and promotes healthy cell growth — the recipe for smooth, soft skin. In fact, researchers studying the effects of hemp seed oil on atopic dermatitis, or eczema, a skin condition that causes inflammation and dry skin, found that patients’ symptoms improved with the use of the oil.
Since hemp seed oil is also good for skin disorders, such as psoriasis and eczema, it’s a good idea to eat at least a couple tablespoons of hemp seeds every day to maximize these benefits as well.
- Because of its perfect fatty acid profile of omega-3 fats and GLA, hemp seed helps naturally balance inflammation levels and strengthen the immune system.
- Some of the key ingredients in building a healthy heart include fibre, plant-based protein, healthy fats and eating less sugar. Hemp seeds help in doing all of those things. Research in animals and humans strongly suggests that hemp seeds can improve cardiovascular health and reduce high blood pressure.
Protein is regarded as a ‘macro’ nutrient meaning it should make up a large portion of your nutrient intake. The quality of protein you eat should therefore be somewhat of a priority, particularly for athletes who require even higher amounts of protein to keep their body strong and lean. Hemp Seeds not only contain a lot of protein (approximately 33g of protein in 100g of seeds), as a protein source it is nutritionally superior to most if not all other protein sources owing to a number of factors.
Hemp is an organic, non-allergenic, non-GMO, digestible, wholefood.
Not many other high protein sources can make all these claims. Examples would include:
Soya Beans, these are about 13% protein when freshly picked. This increases to about 37% protein after being dried to remove moisture. Although this sounds pretty good, soya beans are mostly genetically modified - over 80% of the world’s soy is genetically modified. For those who are not yet aware, GMO foods are very harmful to humans.
Whether GMO or organic, Soy is a cause of allergies to a substantial number of people, it is also difficult to digest and raw soy beans contain toxic chemicals that interfere with digestion and are suspected of causing various other metabolic problems. This requires chemical processing which can result in harmful contaminants in the final product.
Rice Protein Powder does not cause allergies in most people yet it is not a whole food. Rice grains naturally contain a very small amount of protein (2%). They are mostly carbohydrate (90%) and therefore do not need to naturally contain compounds that assist in the digestion of protein. To turn rice into high protein powder requires chemical processing which removes the few digestive aids that were there to begin with. It also retains a high sodium content which causes fluid retention. Independent tests have revealed that most Rice protein powders contain high levels of toxic heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury.
Hemp is the only plant to create and store its protein in the form of Edestin and Albumin. These are the forms that the human body already uses for the proteins in our blood and immune system and are therefore easily recognized and processed using minimal amounts of energy and it does not contain enzyme inhibitors.
Hemp seeds have been consumed as a staple food all over the world for thousands of years. They are an important dietary component because they contain an abundance of essential nutrients that are:
- Balanced -even on their own they provide much of what your body needs without over-supplying some nutrients while causing a deficiency in others.
- Digestible - they don’t require cooking, soaking or crushing, your body can easily take what it needs and eliminate what it doesn’t. So your body isn’t wasting energy or suffering stress the way it does when trying to extract nutrients from animal or processed foods.
- Safe - unlike many foods we consume daily, Hemp seeds do not burden your body with toxins, allergens, GMO’s or undigested waste materials.
- Sustainable - you don’t have to destroy anything, poison the planet, exploit the ocean or risk anyone’s safety to obtain Hemp Seeds; they grow just about anywhere without needing fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides and require far less water than wheat, rice or soy.
We also know that Hemp has literally thousands of beneficial uses. Food, fibre, fuel, fabrics, furniture, medicine, building materials, paper, bio-plastics and the list goes on. This is a plant which delivers it all.
While doing all this, Hemp removes more CO2 from the air than trees do and is highly pest, weed and drought resistant. So, unlike corn, cotton, soy, wheat and rice, Hemp uses a lot less water and doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides. It also yields food that is more nutritious than all these others combined and doesn’t cause any allergies.