Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are the seeds of the hemp plant, or Cannabis sativa, and is one of the earliest domesticated plants cultivated by many civilizations for more than 12,000 years. Today, China is the main producer of hemp.
Although marijuana comes from the same plant, hemp seeds only contain a trace amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and they will not get you high. In fact, hemp seeds are safe and very healthy to eat.
Nutrition & Health
All seeds are nutrient-dense foods. Just adding a little bit to your diet can contribute to a wide range of potential health benefits. Like most seeds, hemp seeds are naturally cholesterol free, gluten free, low in saturated fat and are a low glycemic-index food.
They are a good source of fiber, antioxidants, phytosterols, heart healthy fats, plant protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. Particularly hemp seeds are:
Comprised of a unique fatty-acid profile
Containing 75-80 percent of the healthy polyunsaturated fats, it has an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (3:1) plus it contains the less common stearidonic (SDA) and gamma linoleic (GLA) acids. These fatty acids fight inflammation and protect your heart and immune system.
Rich in GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid)
Known to play many vital metabolic roles in humans, ranging from control of inflammation and vascular tone to initiation of contractions during childbirth. GLA has been found to alleviate psoriasis, atopic eczema, joint problems, mastalgia and may also benefit cardiovascular, psychiatric, and immunological disorders.
A good source of a complete protein
About 25% of the calories in hemp seeds come from protein. They contain all the essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source which is very rare in the plant kingdom. About 65 percent of the protein in hemp seeds is edestin, a globulin protein that aids in digestion and produces antibodies which are vital to maintain a healthy immune system. Hemp seeds are the only place this protein is found!
Packed with vitamins and minerals
Hemp Seeds are high in antioxidants and iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium, carotene, thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B6, and vitamin E. If that's not enough, there's also chlorophyll, sulfur, phosphorus, phospholipids, and phytosterols.
In summary, hemp seeds are exceptionally nutritious. Between all these healthy compounds, this superfood seed can help in reducing inflammation, improving brain function, promoting the immune system, improving skin and hair conditions and lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, stroke, and heart disease risk.
Hemp seeds are sensitive to heat and light due to their polyunsaturated fatty acid content. It's best to store them in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.