The benefits of hemp
Just go to any health-food store and the choices for hemp consumption will make you dizzy: hemp oil, honey, milk, flour, granola, coffee, tea, and even chewing gum and hemp-infused water.
Hemp is rich in protein, omega-3 fats, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and zinc. It’s also a source of anti-inflammatory compounds. But the reasons to add hemp to your diet go beyond this. Here are a couple of those reasons explained.
1. Hemp is a Source of Protein
The seeds of the hemp plant are a really good source of protein. Just 3 tbsp of hulled seeds (also known as hemp hearts) provide a whopping 9.45g of this muscle-building, appetite-curbing macronutrient.
What’s more, hemp’s protein is highly digestible and provides all 9 essential amino acids. All these things make hemp valuable for people on plant-based diets and who are looking for ways to meet their daily protein needs.
However, hulled seeds are best where protein digestibility is concerned. You can also get hemp protein from hemp milk, hemp flour, or simply hemp protein powder.
2. Hemp is a Source of Essential Fats
Another essential nutrient found in hemp is polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). PUFAs include omega-6s and omega-3s. These are considered essential, meaning we need to get them directly from food as the body is unable to produce them from other fats.
Omega-6 fats are the primary PUFAs in hemp, however, but they provide ample omega-3 fats as well. Up to 50% of the calories in hemp come from these two essential fatty acids, which are considered important for heart and overall health thanks to their anti-inflammatory and blood-lipid-balancing properties.
These PUFAs are most abundant in the seeds, but you can also get them from other hemp seed products, including hemp oil.
3. Hemp is Rich in Magnesium
Researchers believe most of us are not getting as much magnesium as we should. This essential mineral is normally found in a wide range of foods; however, changes in food production and exposure to antinutrients have compromised how much magnesium is available to us.
Luckily, hemp products are still naturally rich in this important mineral, with 3tbsp of hulled hemp seeds, for example, providing around 70% of the daily value for magnesium. As a cofactor involved in over 300 biological processes, magnesium is obviously important. You need it for energy production, nerve function, blood sugar regulation, to name a few.
Adding hemp to your daily diet can help you meet your daily needs for this essential mineral.
5. Hemp Supports Female Health
Women experiencing uncomfortable symptoms due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause can also benefit from hemp products.
Hemp seeds contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), the same type of fat found in evening primrose oil, which is traditionally used for the management of female ailments. GLA is an anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid that is involved in the production of Prostaglandin E1, a hormone-like substance. Scientists believe that low levels of this substance may be behind PMS.
GLA was also found to help regulate hormonal imbalances in women going through menopause, which may help ease some of their symptoms, like hot flashes, anxiety, and fatigue.
6. Hemp Protects Cardiovascular Health
Many hemp products contain unsaturated fats as well as fiber. Both of these nutrients are known to protect your cardiovascular health, which is important given that cardiovascular events are the leading cause of death today.
Cooking with hemp oil, for example, can help lower blood cholesterol levels, according to current research — which reduces your risk of atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Hemp sprouts contain flavonols and flavonoids, which are compounds with antioxidant action that have also been linked to better heart health.
And if you eat whole hemp seeds, you’ll add a healthy boost of fiber to your diet. Fiber increases feelings of fullness and absorbs excess cholesterol.
How to Get Hemp Benefits
All of the above hemp benefits you can get by adding hemp foods and other ingredients to your daily diet.
As already said, hemp products are on the rise. Consumers can now choose how they want to add hemp to their diets. Just some of the countless options you can choose from are:
- Whole hemp seeds
- Hemp hearts
- Hemp milk
- Hemp flour
- Hemp seed oil
- Hemp-infused foods
Cooking with hemp is also fairly easy as the ingredient is as versatile with home cooking as it is in industrial applications — over 25,000 products are made from the hemp plant! From hemp cookies, hemp bread, and hemp muffins to hemp porridge and energy bites, the options are endless.
You can also find a wide range of ready-to-eat foods containing hemp. For example, these Oatmeal & Hemp Yellow Pea Fiber Cookies. They are made with added hemp hearts for an extra boost of protein and other hemp benefits.
Hemp is the new superfood, there’s no doubt about that. It’s a fantastic source of plant-based protein, contains a healthy balance of anti-inflammatory fats, and has compounds proven to be effective in improving health and well-being.
And you get to choose between a wide range of products to get all of these health benefits! From hemp hearts and hemp flour to hemp milk and hemp-infused cookies, the options are endless.
When buying hemp foods to get specific health benefits, keep in mind that hemp seeds don’t contain CBD, while products made from hemp leaves, stems, and flours usually do.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. Seeds, hemp seed, hulled. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170148/nutrients
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