Let's Talk about Hemp Baby
Hemp SEEDS that is.
I remember the first time I saw hemp seeds I was working at a software company and a woman in the kitchen was throwing them on her oatmeal. I thought they looked weird and after she left I peeked at the label.
Even then, with an amateur interest in nutrition, two big things on the label stood out to me, Protein + Fat. For someone following a plant-based diet, these are important macronutrients.
Hemp contains all of the 9 essential amino acids (meaning they must be consumed in the diet) and is a great plant-based protein choice. Many plant-based proteins can contain phytates which make mineral absorption more difficult, but hemp does not.
Hemp seeds are not just any fat, they are rich in omega 3's, specifically Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) which is an essential fatty acid and must be consumed in the diet. It can also be converted to DHA and EPA in the body. If following a plant-based diet, these omegas can also be found in other foods like flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts.
A diet high in processed food offers on average about 10X the amount of omega 6 versus omega 3. Omega 6, boasts health benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, but when out of balance with omega 3 consumption can lead to inflammation and oxidation in the body. A focus on increasing omega 3's to gain better health benefits can help.
Here are some of the health benefits of omega 3's:
Fight depression & anxiety
Some studies show that people who consume omega-3s regularly are less likely to be depressed and one study even showed that consumption of EPA was as effective against depression as a common anti-depressant drug (1) (2)
Reduced risk metabolic syndrome & cardiovascular disease
Omega-3 fatty acids can improve insulin resistance, inflammation, and heart disease risk factors in people with metabolic syndrome (3)
Long-term inflammation leads to increased risk for things like cancer and heart disease. High intake of omega 3's has been shown to reduce inflammation. (4)
Improve Bone & Joint Health
Omega-3's can help with bone strength by increasing calcium absorption and help with reducing joint pain. (5
Beyond these macronutrients, hemp seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. One serving (3TBS) of hemp seeds offers :
12 grams omegas 3's
14 mg of calcium (2& DV)
2.1 mg of iron (20!!% DV!)
140 mg magnesium (50% DV)
330 mg phosphorous (40% DV)
240 mg of potassium (8% DV)
1.98 mg of zinc (25% DV)
22 micrograms (mcg) of folate (8% DV)
Hemp seeds also contain vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3 and B6. I always keep hemp seeds in my fridge and add them everything including oatmeal, smoothies energy balls, baked foods, salads, on top of toast with nut butter and my homemade pesto recipe here.
Healthy fats are your friend, and in this case, have a ton of health benefits and plant-based protein. What's not to love?
Try them out if you haven't already, they're a great versatile, tasty, healthy addition to any meal - sweet or savory.