Hemp Seeds are an ideal super food for anyone who would like to eat healthy without the added stress of big lifestyle changes. Hemp seeds are a particularly smart dietary add-in for those who follow a vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based diets due to their high levels of protein and 10 essential fatty acids. Hemp seeds are also allergen free, and can be consumed safely by those with intolerance to nuts, lactose, sugar, or gluten.
While rich in nutrients, hemp seeds are subtle in flavor and can be added easily (and stealthily) to almost any dish, dessert, or snack. Hemp seeds pack a powerful health punch in a number of ways, all due to their unique and potent assortment of natural vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.
Hemp seeds contain:
- Essential Fatty Acids Omega-3 and Omega-6
- Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
- Vitamin B1, B2, and B6
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D
What are Hemp Seeds?
Hemp seeds come from the Cannibis sativa plant, which (to be clear) is not the same plant associated with marijuana. Although both plants are in the same family, their genetic makeup and side effects are entirely different; while hemp contains less than 1% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana contains 20% or more. Most commercially harvested hemp seeds have eliminated all trace amounts of THC through the washing process, or contain compounds that counteract the low levels of THC. Either way, the amount of THC present in the resin of the plant is so minimal that it would be nearly impossible to experience any of the psychotropic side effects associated with other Cannabis byproducts. If you’re particularly sensitive to the idea of consuming any THC at all, simply opt for washed hemp seeds, or wash them yourself to remove any plant resin that may have come in contact with the seeds during the production process.
The benefits of consuming hemp seeds range from promoting long term physical health to short-term cellular rejuvenation, energy levels, digestive health, and muscular recovery. Hemp seed consumption can be especially beneficial for those with chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, eczema, arthritis, or diabetes. Hemp seeds effectively:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower LDL cholesterol
- Improve skin health
- Encourage healthy hair
- Increase metabolism
- Promote circulation
- Promote cellular health and organ function
- Reduce Inflammation
- Regulate prostate problems
- Boost muscular recovery after exercise
- Encourage healthy digestion
- Increase natural energy levels
- Control blood sugar levels
Hemp seeds offer an effective a natural solution to boosting health and managing symptoms of long-term illness, but they should never substitute your prescribed medications without the advice of a doctor. If you are on medication, you should consult a medical specialist before introducing regular hemp seed consumption to your routine. Although current research has not found any proven interactions between hemp seed and prescription medications, Blue Shield of California urges any patients taking anticoagulants to exercise caution before adding large amounts of hemp seed to their diet.
How to Eat Hemp Seeds
You do not need to grind or cook hemp to reap the health benefits of this powerful little seed; in fact, cooking them may reduce some of their positive side effects. Opinions differ on the whether the “hulled” or whole hemp seeds are more beneficial, though all agree that hemp seeds offer important nutrients no matter what part of the seed you consume. The recommended daily amount of hemp seed is 4 Tablespoons (42 grams) for healthy individuals, and 5-6 tablespoons (55 grams) for those dealing with arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eczema, or digestive issues. For best results, add hemp seeds to cold dishes, or stir them into hot dishes after cooking is complete.
Use hemp seeds in:
- Vegetable and noodle salads
- Hot or cold cereals
- Soups or stews
- Nut and seed crust for fish or chicken
- Homemade granola or nut mixes
- Breads, muffins, cakes, etc.
- Homemade hemp milk recipes
As hemp seeds grow in popularity, many cooks have adapted classic recipes to include hemp seeds or other hemp products. Hemp seeds can be used to make hemp milks, which can be used as a milk substitute in any diet. You may also consider using hemp oil in your cold noodle dishes or salads, though it is important to note that it is not recommended as a cooking oil. There is a plethora of new and interesting ways to use hemp products in your diet.
Hemp Seed Storage
Hemp seeds contain oils that are highly perishable and can quickly go rancid without proper storage. For this reason, experts recommend that hemp seeds be stored in an airtight container inside your refrigerator or freezer in order to extend their shelf life. Buying hemp seeds in bulk at your local grocery or health food store can help cut costs, but make sure to store your hemp seeds effectively in cool temperature to avoid losing your batch.