Written by Cheryl Alker
I am sure you have all heard of ‘Hemp,’ after all it has been used to make paper, rope, clothing, boat sails and thousands of other products for centuries now. So I guess it wasn’t going to be long before it made an appearance in our health food stores. Well, here is why!
Hemp literally has a bountiful supply of nutrients. Recent research published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry has revealed that hemp seeds can actually help promote health and longevity as a sustainable plant food.
Whilst hemp does come from the same plant as marijuana, Cannabis Sativa, don’t worry, hemp seeds do not have the same mind-altering effects.
The soft inner center of the hemp seed, or hemp heart as it is often referred to, is jam-packed with nourishment including a really healthy ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. This rich fatty acid content has been associated with anti-inflammatory properties assisting the body to fend off chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. Another benefit from these essential fats is that they can also be helpful in regulating cholesterol, which may be beneficial for heart health. Hormones such as estrogen, which can keep hair, skin and nails healthy, can also benefit from these fats.
Another plus is that hemp hearts contain many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, a powerful cell-protection antioxidant, as well as folate, B6, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and manganese.
A single serving of hemp seeds (3 tablespoons) contains 180 calories and 10 grams of protein. They include all of the essential protein amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Another benefit is that they are low in carbohydrates, sugar and sodium.
I have often written about foods that score high on the satiety index. Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of fullness and loss of appetite that happens after eating. What this means is that eating foods that score higher on the satiety index can help you eat fewer calories overall. Hemp seeds can be included as a satiating addition to a healthy diet, which as well as assisting with weight management or weight loss, it can also help with blood sugar control.
You can eat hemp seeds in various ways. They have a nutty flavor and can be eaten cooked or raw. They have a lovely creamy/ivory color which complements a variety of dishes. Try them as a crust on a salmon fillet or include them as a crunchy addition to a berry cobbler. Hemp seeds are tiny and they have a soft exterior which make them easy to chew and digest.
So whether you eat raw, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, Mediterranean, paleo or Keto, these super-seeds should become a healthy addition to all of your meals and smoothies.