Have you heard about the remarkable nutritional benefits found in hempseeds? These small, round seeds are a full 33% protein and 9% Omega-3 fatty acids by weight. They are rich in Vitamin E, fiber and several important minerals.
Hempseeds contain all 21 amino acids, the building blocks of protein that are essential to life. The protein in hempseeds is considered to be easily digestible, absorbed and assimilated (utilized within the cells), a rare find in the vegetable kingdom. The protein, especially the 8 essential amino acids that we are unable to manufacture within the body, found in hempseeds are well represented, making it one of the few vegetarian/ vegan foods containing ‘complete protein’.
Although soy contains more protein when we compare the raw numbers, unfermented soy products contain significant anti-nutrients that interfere with the body’s ability to digest and utilize soy protein. Hempseeds contain no anti-nutrients, allowing their protein to absorb easily to build strong organs, tissues, blood, immune defenses, and literally every cell in our bodies.
Hempseed protein powders are the least processed of all the protein powder products on the market, having only had the majority of the oil removed. Hempseed protein powders are high in L-glutamine and dietary fiber, supporting a healthy digestive tract. Rich in L-lysine, hempseed may be a beneficial food for folks with the herpes virus.
Although there are many protein-rich foods that cause food allergies or sensitivities, there have been no reported allergies to hempseeds.
Hempseeds are especially rich in vitamin E, and also contain carotene, the vegetarian form of vitamin A, and vitamins C, B1, B2, B3 and B6. They provide us with large amounts of magnesium, zinc and iron, too.
But the greatest value may come in the deeply nourishing oils found in these little seeds. Essential fatty acids, those ‘good fats’ that help make up healthy cells in the brain, heart, skin, cardiovascular system, and virtually every other system in the human body, are plentiful in hempseeds. With over-fishing of our oceans and high mercury, lead and other toxic accumulations found in many fish species, organic hempseeds are a prudent alternative. And these good fats are far more digestible and shelf stable than those found in flax seeds.
Omega-3 fatty acids have a wide body of recent scientific research, being linked to dozens of health benefits. Studies show that the heart receives a wide range of advantages when we consume foods rich in these good fats. Omega 3’s are found to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, of heart-related sudden death and they help keep triglyceride levels in an optimal range.
Omega-3’s in the diet are shown to be helpful for a wide variety of brain and nervous system disorders as well, including depression, ADHD, bi-polar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.
The balanced ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3’s in the body should be approximately 3:1. Most Americans consume far too many Omega-6’s, leading to increased inflammatory problems, which can manifest as chronic pain and degenerative disease.
Use of hempseeds and other sources of balanced essential fatty acids (EFA’s) in the diet supports improved health and well-being at all ages and stages of life. Balanced EFA’s are associated with greater health during pregnancy and lactation. Children learn better, have higher IQ scores, and show greater confidence with a diet rich in good fats. Throughout life, asthma, allergies and sinus infections are reduced, and skin conditions such as hives, eczema, acne and psoriasis are less likely.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, eye diseases, PMS and intestinal disorders are significantly lessened when we have enough good fats in the diet, and reduce bad fats. Risk of many types of cancer has been shown to be lowered, as well.
Hemp is a plant with a long history of use going back nearly 6,000 recorded years. The durable fiber made from the stalks was used for textiles and rope, and the seeds were wild-crafted or farmed. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers in the early years of the United States and our Constitution and Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. In fact, there was a mandate in the 1600’s for settlers to grow a field of hemp to help keep their budding communities thriving and well nourished!
A delicious seed with a nutty flavor I describe its taste as halfway between sunflower seeds and pine nuts. Add raw hempseeds to cereal, salads, soup, yogurt, smoothies, pasta dishes, dressings, sauces and your favorite desserts, or snack on them alone. They’re wonderful on chocolate ice cream, with a dollop of maple yogurt! Yum!
For a richer, nuttier flavor, try toasting hempseeds in a dry pan over low heat for a few moments, stirring constantly. Be sure your pan does not heat beyond 325°F, so as to preserve the essential fatty acids.
To make your own homemade hemp milk: in a blender combine one cup of water with 1 tablespoon of hempseeds. Spin on high for approximately one minute. Add flavorings or sweeteners, as desired, or use unsweetened as a milk replacement, and on cereal, as a soup base or in baking.
Proper storage of your hempseeds and oil is important for maximum nutritional benefits. Keep your hemp oil bottle tightly sealed and in the refrigerator as much as possible when not in use. Seeds should be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container. If you purchase larger quantities, you may prefer to store a portion in the freezer for increased freshness. As with all nuts and seeds, do not expose them to direct heat or sunlight, as this will damage those nourishing good fats.
Be sure to look for certified organic hempseeds, oil and protein powders. My favorite brand of hemp products, Nutiva, offers three delicious flavored Hemp Shake protein powders; Berry-Pomegranate, Amazon Acai and Chocolate. Rather than being loaded with sugar and other less healthful ingredients like most protein shake products, these three are full of satisfying and nourishing antioxidant ingredients.
A brief word about THC, the plant chemical responsible for the ‘high’ one gets from marijuana. Hempseeds are extremely low in THC, and do not make the consumer feel high, or experience an altered state.
Organic hempseeds provide a wealth of nourishment for the consumer, and growing hemp is well known to help restore the health of the soil, supporting a healthy and sustainable world.Home | Back to top--^