In the realm of healthy eating, there’s an unsung hero that you might have been overlooking on the grocery store shelves: hemp seeds. Before you dismiss them based on their association with cannabis, let’s explore the myriad benefits and nutritional value of these small but mighty seeds.
Before diving into it, please note that if you are suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, ptsd, and other state approved medical conditions in West Virginia, you can apply for a medical marijuana card.
Hemp seeds, although derived from the same Cannabis sativa plant as marijuana, are a distinct variety that sets them apart. Unlike their cannabinoid-rich counterpart, hemp seeds are incredibly low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for inducing a high. Registered dietitian Julia Zumpano clarifies that hemp seeds have a subtle sweetness and mild nutty flavor, delivering a satisfying crunch. Interestingly, despite their name, hemp seeds are more accurately classified as nuts, and their consumption is safe even for individuals with peanut allergies or other food sensitivities.
Diving into the nutritional realm, it’s essential to highlight the impressive nutritional profile that hemp seeds offer. A single serving (equivalent to 3 tablespoons or 30 grams) of whole hemp seeds boasts:
Although research into the health benefits of hemp seeds has been limited due to historical legal restrictions, the existing information underscores the nutritional value and potential of these tiny wonders. Zumpano refers to hemp seeds as a “superfood” due to their remarkable composition. Some of the key health benefits attributed to hemp seeds include:
Protein Power for Satiety
Hemp seeds are a protein-packed option, boasting nearly 10 grams per serving—surpassing even the protein content of an egg. What’s more, these seeds provide a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids crucial for metabolism, immune function, and cognitive health. Given that essential amino acids can only be obtained through diet, hemp seeds offer a valuable resource for maintaining a healthy body.
Antioxidants and Omega-3s for Wellness
Loaded with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, hemp seeds play a role in reducing blood pressure, fortifying cardiovascular health, and mitigating the impact of free radicals—molecules that contribute to chronic inflammation, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions.
Nourishment for Skin and Hair
The presence of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hempseed oil and supplements has shown potential in alleviating itchy skin caused by conditions like eczema. Additionally, these fatty acids may contribute to preventing hair loss and promoting hair thickness in women.
Fiber and Healthy Fats for Cholesterol Control
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, aiding digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness. Since fiber intake is often inadequate in the average diet, even a small addition can make a difference. Moreover, the linolenic acid present in hemp seeds has been linked to cholesterol reduction.
Support for PMS and Inflammation
Rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid, hemp seeds may help ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as breast tenderness, and could even offer relief from menopause-related discomfort. This fatty acid also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties.
While hemp seeds offer numerous benefits, it’s essential to exercise moderation, especially when introducing them to your diet. A sudden increase in consumption, particularly with the fibrous outer shell intact, may lead to digestive issues like stomach upset, gas, and diarrhea. To start, consider incorporating 1 tablespoon per day and gradually increasing as your body adjusts.
For individuals on medications, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before integrating hemp seeds into your diet. These seeds have the potential to interact with specific medications, particularly those related to heart conditions, blood thinning, and diuretics.
In conclusion, hemp seeds have emerged as a nutritional powerhouse with potential health benefits that extend beyond their small size. Rich in protein, antioxidants, and essential nutrients, these seeds offer a versatile addition to a balanced diet. By understanding their properties and practicing moderation, you can harness the potential of hemp seeds to enhance your overall wellness.