What Are Hemp Seeds?
The hemp plant is a variety of Cannabis sativa L. native to Central Asia. A widely cultivated cash crop, the hemp plant is made up of many different useful parts which include the leaves, flowers and of course, the seeds.
The seeds are hard and brown, often around the size of popcorn kernels. Inside these hard outer shells, soft white or light green seeds — popularly referred to as hemp hearts — can be found. These hemp hearts are exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals including;
- Vitamins A, E, C and some B vitamins
Hemp seeds have very little nutritional value when unhulled, because the hard outer coating prevents the body from digesting the soft inner parts of the seeds where the bulk of the nutrition can be found. The numerous vitamins and minerals are only accessible when the seeds are hulled.
Hemp seeds can be consumed as they are or used to produce a variety of food products which include hemp milk, hemp oil and hemp protein powder. When consumed as they are, hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavour.
The health benefits of hemp seeds. Source
Will You Experience Psychoactive Effects if You Consume Hemp Seeds?
Simply put - no. When consumed, hemp seeds will not have any psychoactive effects.
This myth is as a result of the association of hemp and a similar plant that does have psychoactive properties – marijuana. Both marijuana and the hemp plant are types of cannabis plant. However, they are not the same plant.
There are numerous factors which differentiate each plant from the other, the biggest being chemical composition. Both marijuana and hemp can contain amounts of the cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive chemical compound used for its numerous medicinal benefits. However, the hemp plant contains only minute amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical compound. The hemp plant contains around 0.3% - 1% THC whereas marijuana contains anywhere between 5-30% THC.
It’s also important to note that hemp seeds will not cause individuals who consume them to fail drug tests.
What are the Benefits of Hemp Seeds?
There are numerous benefits to the consumption of hemp seeds. They are often named as a superfood, and given the impressive list of benefits they have, it is not difficult to see why. Here are some of the benefits of hemp seeds.
Hemp seeds are extremely nutritious.
Hemp seeds contain over 30% good fat, most of which is made of two essential fatty acids – namely linolenic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). They are also rich in gamma-linolenic acid which poses several health benefits.
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein. 25% of their total calorie make-up can be attributed to high-quality protein.
Hemp seeds are also a great source of numerous vitamins and minerals including iron and zinc.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
The consumption of hemp seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease in individuals.
Hemp seeds are rich in arginine, an amino acid which produces nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide makes the blood vessels dilate and relax. This phenomenon leads to lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.
The gamma-linolenic acids present in hemp seeds has also been linked to reduced inflammation which could also reduce the risk of heart disease.
Beneficial for Skin Disorders
Hemp seeds are beneficial for the treatment of skin disorders due to the large amounts of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids they contain.
Numerous studies suggest that the immune system is dependent on the balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Hemp seeds have a 3:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, which is considered optimal in balancing the immune system.
Hemp seeds are hard and brown on the outside, the size of popcorn kernels. On the inside, they contain soft, white/light green seeds which are full of vitamins, minerals and numerous essential acids.
Hemp seeds are beneficial in numerous health related body regulations. An increasing number of consumers are catching on to the benefits of these seeds, and including them into their diet. Hemp seeds are likely to see a consistent surge in use as their many positive properties become more widely known.