Add a Healthy Crunch with Hemp Seeds
Hemp has been on the rise as a health superfood in the last few years, following several years of government wrangling which resulted in the legalization of hemp cultivation in the US. (The plant had been banned because of its genetic closeness to the Cannabis sativa species, but hemp contains significantly lower levels of THC than other strains of cannabis, reducing or eliminating the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana).
Hemp has a variety of uses, from manufacturing to consumer goods, but we’re primarily interested in its nutritional properties: both hemp oil and hemp seeds are available for sale and consumption in the US. Hemp seeds, in particular, have several fantastic health benefits:
Hemp seeds are chock full of nutrients and healthy compounds
Hemp seeds are rich in protein, and provide all nine essential amino acids (making them a complete source of protein). They’re also high in polyunsaturated fats, and are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, zing, and B vitamins. That’s an incredible amount of nutrients, both in variety and amount, for one tiny seed!
Reduced risk of heart disease and brain health benefits
A 2018 study suggests possible brain health benefits from the cannabidiol (CBD) content of hemp seeds, including helping combat Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological ailments. Hemp also contains high amounts of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a critical but especially uncommon nutrient that improves heart health and decreases the risk of arrythmia and heart disease.
Increased digestive health and decreased inflammation
As if all this wasn’t enough, the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seeds has anti-inflammatory properties, and the fiber in hemp seed shells can improve your digestive health (note that the fiber in hemp seeds is almost entirely in the seeds’ shell, though, so de-shelled seeds won’t have as high a fiber content).
Hemp seeds are incredibly nutritious, and an incredibly versatile item to incorporate into your diet – try anything from sprinkling the seeds on dips and salads to baking them into muffins and other treats!