While technically a nut, hemp seeds pack a potent punch and deserve the utmost recognition for being nutrient-dense and sustainable like no other food on Earth. Hemp seeds have a pleasant mild nutty flavor and a buttery mouthfeel.
For starters, hemp seeds provide:
- 20 amino acids (complete plant-proteins like this are very rare)
- Soluble + insoluble fiber
- Omega 3 + 6 + 9 essential fatty acids (perfect ratio for human health)
- Magnesium \
- Phosphorous } -- (The holy trinity of dental/bone health)
- Calcium /
- Iron (great for building blood)
- Potassium (vital electrolyte)
- Boron (good for testosterone)
- Zinc (another rare nutrient, great for immunity and reproductive health)
- B-complex (vital for metabolism, energy, detox, brain function)
- Vitamin E (difficult to find, potent antioxidant)
- Phytosterols (good for healthy cholesterol)
- Phospholipids (building blocks for cellular membranes)
Eating hemp seeds is like taking a natural multivitamin times a thousand, thanks to the abundance of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients found in these nutty little powerhouses.
If you’re still not convinced, get this - hemp seeds offer something else you can’t find anywhere - a type of protein known as ‘globulin edestin’ which is foundational for the human body (used for hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and more), easily digestible, and highly bioavailable. Human blood plasma and hemp seeds contain nearly identical protein profiles.
Additionally, hemp seeds provide all the essential fatty acids required by the body for endocannabinoid production - as well as all the other goodies our bodies make from fatty acids - molecules that regulate inflammation, modulate neurotransmission and neuron/cell growth, manage blood sugar and insulin secretion, and much, much more.
Hemp seeds have been an essential source of nutrition for thousands of years (earliest records of their use are around 8000 B.C.). In 1533, The King of England (King Henry VII) fined farmers for not growing hemp, and in the 1700’s it was mandated by law for American farmers to grow hemp as a staple crop. It’s easy to see why - hemp offers more versatility and sustenance than you can shake a stick at.
One of the most remarkable (but lesser-known) benefits of hemp seeds is their usefulness to digestive and gut health.
Hemp Seeds and Gut Health
Called the ‘second brain’ by many, the gut is the underdog of the human body. A majority of our neurotransmitters are produced in the gut by friendly microbes, and the health of our ‘microbiome’ can make or break your whole life. If your gut is out of balance , the rest of your body will follow suit. The microbiome influences moods, cravings, thoughts, feelings, digestion, energy - you know, basically everything.
There are two types of dietary fiber - soluble and insoluble; both are important but have very different functions. Hemp seeds are 20% soluble fiber and 80% insoluble fiber - here’s what that means:
Soluble fiber (also known as ‘prebiotic fiber’) dissolves in water and forms a nutrient-rich gel that nourishes healthy bacteria in the gut, and also helps to manage cholesterol and blood sugar (the gel binds with sugar/cholesterol). Prebiotic fibers also increase the body’s ability to assimilate calcium, magnesium, and other minerals - leading to increased bone density, immunity, mood, and overall health.
Unfortunately, most Americans (some estimates state as many as 97%) do not consume enough fiber - particularly soluble fiber. This fiber deficiency is directly correlated with skyrocketing rates of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure/sugar, and other severe chronic health problems.
Other soluble fiber sources include oat bran, barley, nuts, beans, lentils, and peas - although none are quite so tasty and nutritious as hemp seeds.
Insoluble fiber (such as plant cellulose) passes through the intestines unchanged and adds bulk to the stool, making it easier to pass, enhancing bowel health, regularity, and insulin sensitivity.
For many, increasing fiber intake helps with weight management, as extra fiber not only reduces blood sugar spikes (eliminating pesky sugar cravings), but also improves satiety through regulation of the hunger hormone ‘ghrelin.’
Hemp Seeds and Omega Fatty Acids
Hemp seeds are an unbeatable source of omega fatty acids (including 3, 6, 7, and 9) and are the only food on the planet to contain these fats in the ideal ratio for human health (1:3 omega-3 to omega-6). Here are all the healthful fatty acids found in hemp seeds:
- Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA)
- Stearidonic Acid
- Linolenic Acid (LA)
- Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
- Palmitic Acid (precursor to palmitoleic acid)
- Palmitoleic Acid
- Oleic Acid
- Cis-11-Eicosenoic Acid
ALA and LA are the only two that the body must have to function, as we cannot synthesize them internally. Stearidonic acid and gamma-linolenic acid are uncommon in food and provide a myriad of benefits to human health, ranging from weight management and appetite control to brain function and immunity. Omega-7’s like palmitoleic acid have been studied for their ability to heal ulcers and optimize blood sugar/insulin levels.
It is of dire importance to consume omega-3 and 6 fatty acids in the correct ratios (1 to 3); otherwise, virtually every physiological system in our body is thrown out of balance.
As a side note, while hemp seeds are great for long-term consumption to ensure you’re getting the right levels of essential fatty acids, if you’re starting on your health journey, we recommend supplementing with a potent omega-3 source to get back on track - such as Ananda Hemp’s Vegan Omega+. The average American ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is 1 to 15, so it’s good to take an abundance of omega-3’s when first embarking on a health regimen - and ongoing, too.
How to Eat Hemp Seeds
Just like the plant from whence they come, hemp seeds are incredibly versatile. Get creative! Here’s a few ideas:
- Enjoy straight out of the bag, poured into your hand or with a spoon
- Mix into smoothies/juices
- Use as a nutritious garnish for salads, yogurt, acai bowls, oatmeal, and cereal
- Use as a substitute for breadcrumbs on chicken and fish
- Mix with water and blend in a Vitamix to make hemp mylk
- Grind in a mortar and pestle to make hemp butter/spread, a tasty condiment
- Toast and enjoy like you would popcorn
Types of Hemp Seeds - Hulled vs. Unhulled
There are two main types of hemp seeds on the market - hulled and unhulled. In their raw state, hemp seeds have a hard shell. Most hemp seeds (including ours) are the hulled variety, meaning this hard outer layer has been removed - these are usually referred to as ‘hemp hearts.’
As for the unhulled variety, the hard shell doesn’t offer many vitamins or minerals, but it is an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants. Those who prefer crunchy foods may opt for unhulled hemp seeds - although a word of caution, the hull tends to fragment into very tiny pieces and get stuck between teeth. Mostly, which type of hemp seeds you prefer is a matter of personal preference.
Do Hemp Seeds Contain CBD or THC?
Understandably, people are often curious as to whether or not hemp seed oil contains cannabinoids. Most often, the answer is no, although improper handling could theoretically contaminate hemp seed oil with cannabinoids from the flowers and leaves. Ananda Food hemp seed oil is free from all cannabinoids, including CBD and THC.
Choose Ananda Food for the Best Hemp Seeds
Not only do we cultivate our own hemp seeds, but our parent company Ecofibre owns the most extensive private Cannabis seed bank in the world. This allows us to have unparalleled access to the best hemp genetics Mother Earth has to offer, which is why we can cultivate the most nutrient-dense and tasty hemp seeds money can buy.
To your health and happiness, always!