Also known as hemp hearts, this mild, nutty-flavoured superfood has some serious health benefits.
If you go to any health food store, it's likely you'll find hemp seeds taking up valuable real estate, and with good reason—they're super healthy for you. While they originate from the same cannabis plant species as marijuana, they do not contain nearly enough amounts of THC to produce the same effects of its cousin. In fact, various components of the seeds can be used in health foods, body products and paint. Not to mention, they're high in essential nutrients and healthy fats that can help the human body's overall health.
Here's why you should add this superfood to your grocery list.
1. They're super nutritious.
Hemp seeds may be small, but they come packed with some serious nutritional power. They're super rich in two essential fatty acids—omega-3 and omega-6—which the body needs to function. They also contain two high-quality proteins called edestin and albumin. Both proteins are easily digested by the body and contain a nutritionally significant amount of all essential amino acids.
2. They can keep your heart healthy.
Hemp seeds can help reduce the risk of heart disease thanks to high levels of arginine, an amino acid that produces nitric oxide. This helps inflamed blood vessels to relax, thus lowering blood pressure. One study found that an increased arginine intake was also linked with decreased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker linked with heart disease.
3. They can help keep your tummy happy.
Having digestive issues? Whole hemp seeds can help. They're a great source of soluble and insoluble fibre—both important components for overall digestive health. Soluble fibre is a valuable source of nutrients needed for your digestive bacteria and may also help reduce blood sugar levels, and regulate cholesterol levels, while insoluble fibre helps food and waste pass through your gut.
4. They can help reduce stress and anxiety.
The high levels of magnesium, amino acids and B vitamins in hemp seeds make them a natural solution to alleviating reduce stress. How? Magnesium works the neurotransmitter functions in our bodies known to reduce levels of stress and anxiety, while the amino acids build up our body's protein, providing us with the energy necessary to keep our bodies strong. If our bodies aren't getting enough quality amino acids, this produces a reverse effect and actually leads to an overproduction of stress hormones. The B vitamins help boost metabolism and regulate the stress hormones produced which maintains balance between the body and brain.
5. They can help balance PMS woes.
Dealing with PMS symptoms can be a pain but hemp seeds may help relieve some of the burden that can be caused by an imbalance of the hormone, prolactin. The presence of the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in hemp seeds produces the hormone prostaglandin which can reduce the effects the emotional and physical effects of prolactin.
Sprinkle a little hemp seeds over these recipes for a nutritional boost:
SWISS CHARD, COCONUT & MANGO SMOOTHIES
GET THE RECIPE: Swiss Chard, Coconut & Mango Smoothies
BABY KALE & PEAR SALAD WITH MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
GET THE RECIPE: Baby Kale & Pear Salad With Mustard Vinaigrette