The 2018 Farm Bill enabled the legal growth of industrial hemp. It is a landmark piece of legislation that removed hemp from the list of controlled substances. Farmers in almost every state can grow the plant as long as they have a license.
The vast majority of hemp grown at present is for the CBD market. However, this doesn’t mean we should dismiss hemp’s myriad of uses.
Hemp seeds, for example, contain practically no CBD or THC. Yet they have a fantastic array of fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients. Adding hemp seeds to a daily diet may add certain benefits. Let’s check out the possible nutritional value and benefits of hemp seeds in this guide.
1 – Hemp Seeds Are High in Protein
In general, people turn to dairy products or meat for their protein needs. However, millions of people have lactose intolerance. Then there are vegetarians and vegans who steer clear of meat. Familiar sources of protein for such individuals include lentils, chickpeas, green peas, and tofu.
However, few options can match hemp seeds, which contain approximately 10 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons! They are also a complete source of protein containing all nine essential amino acids. As a bonus, hemp protein’s digestibility is equal to or better than protein from nuts and grains.
2 – Hemp Seeds Have an Array of Minerals and Vitamins
Hemp seeds are particularly rich in:
- Vitamin E
3 – Hemp Seeds Have an Excellent Array of Essential Fatty Acids & Fiber
Omega-3 and omega-6, the essential fatty acids, offer various health benefits. Hemp seeds happen to have an abundance of these fatty acids. The human body can’t produce these fatty acids and must absorb them from our diet.
At present, the majority of people consume too few omega-3s and too many omega-6s. However, hemp seeds help nudge the ratio in favor of omega-3s.
Hemp seeds also contain fiber. It is essential to get enough fiber in a diet. Fiber is linked with improved digestive health. Whole hemp seeds have a ratio of 20% soluble to 80% insoluble fiber. Much of the fiber in hemp seeds is in the outer hull. Therefore, look for seeds with an intact hull to increase the amount of fiber in a diet.
Soluble fiber contains an essential array of nutrients for beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. It could also decrease the risk of blood sugar spikes. A study published in Nutrients in 2013 found that soluble fiber helps decrease the absorption of cholesterol.
Insoluble fiber helps waste and food pass more smoothly through the gut. A review published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2008 also found that it is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes.
4 – Hemp Seeds Could Decrease the Risk of Heart Disease
Approximately 18 million people die annually worldwide from cardiovascular disease (CVD). At present, CVD is the #1 cause of death on the planet.
Hemp seeds contain arginine, an amino acid that produces nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps blood vessels to dilate and relax.
A study published in the journal, Nutrition in February 2005 looked at whether arginine is associated with risk for CVD. The researchers found an increase in arginine intake was associated with lower C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a marker for inflammation, and high levels of it are associated with a higher risk of heart disease.
Another study published in the American Journal of Physiology in 2007 involved research on animals. It found that hemp seeds help protect the heart after an ischemic event (a period of decreased blood flow, like a heart attack).
5 – Hempseed Oil May Help Improve Certain Skin Conditions
Skin issues such as atopic dermatitis can occur due to chronic inflammation. One study found that hemp seed oil may improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis due to its fatty acids.
6 – Hemp Seeds Could Reduce PMS Symptoms
A study published in Reproductive Health in 2011 looked at the effects of essential fatty acids on women with PMS. In the study, the volunteers consumed one or two grams of essential fatty acids a day.
The researchers found that the females in the study benefited from a noticeable reduction in symptoms. As hemp seeds are rich in essential fatty acids, this may be another benefit.
Things to Consider When Buying Hemp Seeds
First and foremost, make sure the hemp is grown in the United States, Canada, or a European Union country. Try to find out if the hemp is cultivated organically. Farmers that operate under the 2018 Farm Bill have their crops tested regularly. One of the most critical tests relates to THC content. Industrial hemp is only legal if it contains a maximum of 0.3% THC.
It is possible to purchase hulled hemp or toasted hemp seeds. Hulling the seeds ensures that they are easier to consume. The process also increases the fatty acid and protein ratios. However, the hull is the most fibrous part.
Toasted hemp seeds are whole seeds roasted at high temperatures. The result is a snack akin to popcorn.
Hemp seeds have a nutty-type flavor that many consumers find pleasant. They are like unflavored sunflower seeds but have a softer texture. People consume hemp seeds in the following ways:
- Toasted for a crunchy snack.
- Ground hemp seed as a condiment.
- It is possible to blend the seeds with water to create hemp milk.
- Eat them raw as a snack.
- Sprinkle hemp seeds on salads, cereal, or yogurt.
Final Thoughts on Hemp Seeds & Their Nutritional Value
Although humankind grew hemp for millennia, cultivation became illegal in the 20th century. After 80 years of prohibition, it is now legal to grow hemp in almost every American state. Most farmers cultivate the crop for the CBD market. However, hemp has a litany of other uses.
Hemp seeds are a prime example. They have recently become more popular in the West, as more people begin to understand their benefits. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein, vitamins & minerals, and fatty acids. Research suggests they could have a considerable number of benefits. Research is ongoing, but the findings so far are very positive.