Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. They are from the same species as cannabis however they contain only trace amounts of THC (< 0.3%), the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
They are technically a nut and have a mild, nutty flavor. They are often referred to as hemp hearts. Hemp seeds can be consumed raw, cooked or roasted, sprinkled on foods, pressed for oil and ground into powder.
Nutrient Profile: Hemp seeds are very nutritious. They contain over 30% fat, rich in linoleic acid (LA, an omega-6 fat) alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, an omega-3 fat) and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). They are a wonderful protein source, 25% of their total calories is from protein. They are a great source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
Heart disease- Hemp seeds contain high amounts of the amino acid arginine a metabolic precursor to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate and relax leading to lower blood pressure.
Reduce inflammation- Through the presence of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid.
Relieve dry skin- through hemp seed oil.
Excellent source of plant-based protein- It is a healthy source of protein, with very good digestibility, better than protein from many grains, nuts and legumes.
Selection, Storage and Cooking: Hemp seeds can be costly and expire quickly. Keep them stored in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark place. Heating hemp seeds will destroy the nutritional benefits of the fatty acids, so add hemp seeds to foods after cooking.
Health Concerns: The oils in hemp seeds are known to inhibit platelets. If you are taking anticoagulant drugs, please make your physician aware. There is a theoretical possibility that bleeding can occur.
Recipe Suggestion: I add hemp seeds/hearts to smoothies, energy balls and granola. Here are some recipes for each of these.