What thought comes to your mind when you think of hemp seeds? A scene from the sixties, pot-smoking and all, perhaps? That was my first thought a little over a year ago when I first heard about hemp seeds, and I think that many people have a similar thought. I finally decided to investigate the nutrition of hemp seeds, and I was pleasantly surprised by their incredible nutritional profile.
Here’s where hemp seed’s image problem comes from:
Hemp seeds come from the Cannibus sativa L plant, part of the same plant family as the marijuana plant. But just because these plants are related does not mean they have the same properties. In fact, hemp seeds contain an extremely low amount (or perhaps none at all) of the compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive compound that makes marijuana a drug. So it is virtually impossible to get high from consuming hemp seeds or hemp hearts (hemp hearts are shelled hemp seeds).
They have a great nutritional profile… Hemp seeds:
- contain all 9 essential amino acids (they are called essential because our bodies do not produce them), as well as other amino acids
- are a good source of fiber
- are a very rich source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. They have a 3 to 1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids (healthy and balanced ratio)
- contain vitamins E, and C (antioxidants) as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6
- contain minerals: phosphorous, calcium, potassium, silica, magnesium, iron, sodium, sulfur and chlorine
- are a good source of complete protein that is considered to be easily digestible – ideal for vegetarians or vegans
- contain a high amount of phytonutrients
Four great benefits of eating hemp seeds:
- beneficial for cardio health
- helps strengthen the immune system
- the phytonutrients are beneficial for our cells, tissue, blood, and skin as well as our immune system
- some claims have been made that consuming hemp seeds helps control weight, although these claims have not been scientifically proven.
Another interesting fact about hemp seeds is that they do not contain phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that prevents us from absorbing minerals. Read more about phytic acid here.
Hemp seeds are great when eaten raw on salads, or blended into smoothies for added protein and fiber. They can also be used in baking, although it is important to note that hemp seeds are at their peak in nutritional value when they are raw.
Would you like to know more about which superfoods would benefit your health? Are you interested in building a healthy lifestyle that lasts? Would you like to know which foods would be great for boosting your energy and your immune system? Contact me.
Superfoods by David Wolfe
Copyright © 2013 Cathy Ormon – All Rights Reserved