Hemp seeds are taking the health industry by storm. So, what are the main health benefits?
Hemp has been grown by humans for over 12,000 years and has been used for everything from making rope and sails to cross the oceans to feeding livestock. Hemp, in fact, is one of the most versatile plants that have been grown and used by man. Hemp (also known by its Spanish name Marijuana or its Latin name Cannabis) started to get a bad name when large corporations in the early 20th century wanted hemp outlawed so they could sell nylon ropes and cotton clothing. It is only now, in recent times, where the health benefits of hemp have started to resurface again.
What is the difference between hemp and cannabis?
There is no difference between hemp, cannabis or marijuana. They are all the same plant. The difference is that the hemp we use for eating or producing goods does not contain the same ‘ingredients’ as the ‘hemp’ used for recreational or medicinal marijuana use.
The main concern people have with buying or using hemp is that they come from the cannabis plant. They are actually a variety of cannabis without the psychoactive properties. The hemp we use are from plants that have little or no Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC ) which means they will not get you ‘high’ and are completely legal in many countries.
For simplicity, we will call the legal, low THC plants hemp and the THC rich, illegal plants Marijuana.
Marijuana plants contain high levels of THC. Hemp contains very little of the psychoactive chemical. This single difference is what most rely on to distinguish hemp from marijuana. For example, countries like Canada and the United States have set the maximum THC content of hemp at 0.3%. In the UK and Europe, it is set at 0.02%. Any cannabis plants with higher THC levels than the legal benchmark is considered marijuana.
Will eating hemp seeds get you high?
The seeds of the hemp plant consist primarily of essential fatty acids as well as protein, fiber, and other nutrients. These seeds also contain the cannabinoid known as cannabidiol, but it doesn’t have any effect on your conscious state. It is the THC that gets you high. So eating hemp seeds is perfectly safe and will not get you high and is no illegal to consume.
What are the top 5 benefits of hemp seeds?
Hemp is a really healthy addition to your diet. Hemp is rich is nutrients and contains the following;
- Vitamin A – Supports eye, hair, skin and immune function
- Vitamin B1 – Supports nervous system and brain development
- Vitamin B2 – Supports healthy eyes and skin
- Vitamin B3 – Improves digestion
- Vitamin B5 – Assists liver in metabolising toxins
- Vitamin B6 – Helps form red blood cells
- Vitamin D – Strengthens bones and helps utilise calcium
- Vitamin E – Boosts metabolism and supports hair, nail, and skin health
- Calcium – Supports healthy bone development
- Iron – Helps the blood carry oxygen
- Magnesium – Supports muscles function, plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism
- Manganese – Supports healthy sugar metabolism, antioxidant properties
- Phosphorus – Balances acid/base in the body, helps build bones
- Potassium – Balances sodium in the body, helps regulate fluids in the body
- Zinc – Supports nerve and muscle function, keeps copper in balance
Here are five more detailed reasons why you should start supplementing your diet with hemp seeds and/or oils.
1. Hemp is rich in nutrients
Hemp is a very nutritional food source. The shelled seeds of the hemp plant contain about 35% essential fatty acids and 33% plant protein. The human body cannot create these fatty acids and they must be obtained from food. Hemp helps to the body to build specialized fats called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids and they are an abundant source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) as well as dietary fiber.
So, Hemp is a fantastic food supplement rich in nutrients.
2. Hemp may reduce the risk of heart disease
Cardiovascular disease is one of the worlds leading causes of death. We cannot make medical claims but many medical sources are claiming that hemp is beneficial for heart disease. Hemp seeds are particularly rich in the amino acid arginine. Arginine helps the body produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to dilate and relax which in turn lowers blood pressure. Lower blood pressure helps in the fight against heart disease.
Reducing heart disease is a complex topic and involves lifestyle changes as well as dietary changes. Hemp is a beneficial dietary supplement that can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Hemp can help with weight loss
Becuase hemp contains many dietary fats and fiber, these seeds may help you to feel fuller for longer. This can help you suppress your hunger and help you in your weight loss program.
One thing to bear in mind is that because hemp seeds contain fats, they are fairly high in calories. However, as part of a calorie controlled diet, hemp seeds can aid in weight loss.
4. Hemp helps with digestion
As well as hemp seeds being high in protein and fat, they are also rich in dietary fiber. Hemp seeds contain soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.
Insoluble fiber from hemp helps your digestive system retain water. This added water can add weight to your stools which helps keep your bowel movements regular and prevents constipation.
Soluble fiber binds to substances like cholesterol and sugar, preventing or slowing their absorption into the blood. This can help regulate blood sugar levels, and protect against heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol.
The mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber also aids the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut which supports healthy digestion as well as a strong immune system.
All in all, hemp seeds are a great way to help your body’s digestion.
5. Hemp seeds help healthy skin and hair
Hemp seeds contain more than 30% fat and they are particularly rich in alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6). These oils are frequently used by cosmetic companies in their products because they have the ability to penetrate through layers of skin to promote cell growth. Hemp seeds can help to repair and moisturise dry and damaged skin – they also support healthy hair and nails.
How can you start to use hemp in your diet?
Hemp contain lots of plant-based protein. It contains 10 grams of protein in just 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of seed. This is twice the amount in chia or flaxseeds. Hemp seed also provides all 10 of the essential amino acids that we need to obtain through our diet.
- You can add hemp seed to morning porridge. It’s really nice with some mixed fruit.
- You can add hemp seed to yoghurts and smoothies. I like it mixed with vanilla personally.
- You can mix hemp seed with vegetables. My personal favourite if mixed with kale, broccoli, and buttered potatoes.
So, there we have it. Start using hemp seeds today as it really is a versatile and nutritious dietary supplement.