Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has been getting a lot of attention, and for all the right reasons. Virtually every part of hemp has something to offer, and it’s no surprise that everyone is trying to get their hands on this magic plant.
If you’ve been following the news about hemp, chances are you know its many uses in construction, textiles, agriculture, and automobile industries. But did you know that hemp seeds are superfoods with numerous health and nutritional benefits? Here’s everything you need to know.
Nutritional Value of Industrial Hemp Seeds
Dubbed “hemp hearts,” industrial hemp seeds have high nutritional value. And even though they contain small traces of CBD, they’re safe to consume without any mind-altering effects of recreational cannabis.
Here’s what your body will get with each serving of these small, crunchy nuts:
Industrial hemp seeds are probably the most complete protein you can purchase at your local store. Each seed contains all the 21 amino acids. Among these are all the 9 essential amino acids, which our bodies cannot produce naturally – and thus must be derived from food.
Essential Fatty Acids
Hemp seeds are packed with omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. They’re critical to supporting a variety of cellular processes in the human body, especially in the heart and the brain. They’re also crucial for the regulation of blood cholesterol levels as well as the growth and development of unborn babies.
Hemp seeds contain zinc, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron. Zinc and vitamin E are antioxidants that help protect your body’s cells from radical damage. Iron, on the other hand, helps your blood cells distribute oxygen to all the organs, while magnesium is a critical agent in thousands of chemical reactions in your body.
Top Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
In addition to their immense nutritional value, research shows the hemp hearts come with a lot of health benefits, including:
Healthier Cardiovascular System
Including hemp seeds in your diet can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. The seeds are rich in amino acid arginine, which produces nitric oxide (a gas molecule that relaxes and dilates the blood vessels in the body). This results in lowered blood pressure, hence, reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. The arginine in the seeds can also help reduce the C-reactive protein in your body which is linked to heart diseases.
Another research showed that hemp seeds contain gamma-linolenic acid which helps reduce inflammation in the body, reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeats, and blood clotting.
Acne and atopic dermatitis can be triggered by chronic inflammation, which hemp seeds can counter thanks to compounds such as omega-3. And while acne has other potential dietary causes, research has linked omega-3 deficiency to the skin condition. Therefore, by consuming industrial hemp seeds, you can fight acne on two fronts: by reducing inflammation and keeping omega-3 levels high enough to prevent the condition.
In another research, findings suggest that plant fibers may help manage atopic dermatitis symptoms. Hemp seeds are rich in plant fiber.
For a smooth digestion process, you need to add fiber to your diet. Hemp seeds are rich in insoluble fiber which adds bulk to stool. This helps food and waste pass smoothly through your gut, reducing the risks of conditions such as constipation, bowel blockage, or diabetes. To enjoy this health benefit, ensure your hemp seeds aren’t dehulled.
What Else Can Industrial Hemp Seeds Do?
Apart from improving your health, hemp seeds can also be used to create environmentally friendly fuel. Hemp oil extracted from the seeds boasts a 97% rate of conversion into biodiesel and can be used to power any conventional diesel engine.
Traditional fuels such as natural gas, coal, and oil are derived from the earth and burnt, releasing hydrocarbons and toxic chemicals to the environment. Hemp fuel is more sustainable because it can be grown and harvested at a regulated rate to meet demand.
Buying Hemp Seeds: What to Consider
To get the best quality of hemp seeds for your needs, consider the following:
This is particularly important if you’re buying hemp seeds for consumption. Generally, these seeds have a nutty taste that most people find pleasant – think unflavored sunflower seeds, but with a softer texture.
If you don’t like their natural taste, you can always go for flavored hemp hearts. There are toasted hemp seeds that come in a wide variety of flavors – much like you’d find in corn nuts or peanuts.
Like many other agricultural products, the quality of the hemp seeds largely depends on where the plant was grown. Many countries – including the U.S. – grow hemp for different applications and with varying regulations.
In America, most of the hemp seeds and associated products in the market come from three countries: China, Canada, and the U.S. itself. Due to the many regulations imposed on growers, America has some of the best hemp seeds for consumption.
Outside our borders, Canada has the best quality hemp for human consumption because hemp growers can only cultivate hemp using approved seed varieties. What’s more, they don’t use GMO seeds or pesticides to cultivate their hemp.
China, on the other hand, doesn’t have strict regulation policies, and this affects the quality of hemp seeds cultivated in the country. You can easily taste the difference between hemp seeds produced in the U.S. and China.
Time to Start Taking Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds can significantly improve your health and the environment around you. What’s more, the whole hemp plant comes with other important uses that can be instrumental for a sustainable future. For example, the hemp plant stalks can be used to create building materials (hempcrete), hemp fiber, and even paper. In short, hemp has the potential to revolutionize almost every industry, and we’re here to talk about it.