Superfoods have been such a huge hit since people started discovering that there are just some stuff out there meant to help you be fit and fabulous. There are a lot of natural wonders that bring a whole new meaning to holistic health, and one of the most potent of them all are hemp seeds.
Where Hemp Seeds Come From
From the name itself, you have probably figured out by now that these are the seeds of the hemp plant, with the scientific name Cannabis sativa. They hail from the same species as cannabis, the marijuana plant.
This is where the dilemma lies. As you probably know, a lot of controversy still surrounds the safety of cannabis. The good thing is, although related, hemp is also very different from marijuana in so many aspects. This means that whatever controversy surrounds the cannabis plant, this will most likely not apply to hemp.
One of the biggest differences between hemp and marijuana is the fact that hemp does not carry as much THC. This is the compound that causes all those drug-like effects of marijuana. Although hemp carries THC, there are only small traces of it. This means that it will have no effect whatsoever.
Why You Need Hemp Seeds
Now that we have the controversial stuff out of the way, it’s time to look at what hemp seeds really do for you.
Here are a few good reasons why you need hemp seeds in your life:
- They have all the nutrients you need.
You have probably heard people saying that hemp seeds have that nutty taste. Well, that’s probably because it IS technically a nut.
Hemp seeds have 30% fat – the good kind. They are excellent sources of 2 fatty acids that our body needs – Omega 6 or linoleic acid, and Omega 3 or alpha-linolenic acid. It also has rich deposits of protein, with 25% of the total calories it carries made mostly of high-quality protein. The protein content of chia seeds or flax seeds only gives you about 16%. You can do the math from here.
Other fabulous things you can get from hemp seeds are sodium, phosphorous, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc and iron.
- They reduce your heart risks.
They may not keep you from having a broken heart, but it sure keeps you from contracting heart disease. And if you are aware of the fact that heart disease is the number 1 killer all over the world, then you would also have a pretty good idea what a huge deal this is.
How do hemp seeds do it? Well, it is rich in amino acid arginine, which in turn produces nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes your blood vessels to relax, pulling your blood pressure lower. This alone greatly reduces the risks of heart disease.
Arginine intake also decreases the levels of C-reactive protein, a culprit when it comes to inflammation of the heart.
- They keep your skin healthy.
It’s not just on the inside that hemp seeds do wonders. It also helps you when it comes to your body’s largest organ – your skin.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it greatly reduces problems with dry skin and the irritation that comes with it. Its healthy fat content also helps those who have skin diseases like eczema.
- They reduce PMS and menopause symptoms.
80% of women suffer from PMS on a monthly basis. This does not just cover the abdominal pain – it includes emotional symptoms as well. What causes these symptoms? It is traced back to a hormone called prolactin, which becomes more prominent during that time of the month.
The good news is, hemp seed have just what you need to counter the effects of prolactin. It contains gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, which makes prostaglandin E1. And what does this do? You guessed it! It reduces the effects that prolactin brings.
These properties, along with its anti-inflammatory functions, also make hemp seeds effective in balancing the hormones during menopause.
- They help improve digestion.
Fiber is the best thing for your digestive system as it cleans up your digestive tract and makes sure the entire digestive process is seamless. Hemp seeds are proven to contain fiber – 20% of which are soluble, and 80% insoluble.
Let’s start with soluble fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in your tummy, which gives you essential digestive bacteria. It helps you maintain healthy cholesterol levels, as well as blood sugar levels.
As for insoluble fiber, it’s the thing that pushes fecal matter and other waste products to flow seamlessly through your gut. It also reduces the risks of diabetes.
Take note however, that all the fiber comes with the hemp seed’s shell. This means that if you buy de-hulled seeds, they will not have the same healthy amount of fiber. So, if it’s fiber you’re after, you’d better buy the type that still has its shells.
These are just a few of the great benefits of hemp seeds, but these alone give you more than enough reasons why it works.
How to Eat Hemp Seeds
The great thing about hemp seeds is the fact that it doesn’t require culinary brilliance. Whether you’re eating shelled hemp seeds or hemp hearts (the kind that do not have shells on), it’s as simple as mixing it with your smoothie or adding it to yogurt, cereals or salads.
Remember that hemp seeds taste like nuts, so anything you eat that usually comes with nuts would be a great place for you to add this.
You also have the option to make milk out of it. It’s the same as how blending almonds and water together makes almond milk? If you want to reduce your intake of dairy milk, you can do the same thing for hemp seeds and water to produce the healthier alternative – hemp seed milk.
Last, hemp seed oil is not something you should be cooking with, especially if you want to preserve the fatty acids in it. You can, however, use it as a finishing oil.