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Hemp seeds are nutritional powerhouses that have been a staple food in diets in many societies for thousands of years. In just a tiny seed, tons of essential nutrients are packed and ready to improve your overall health. Here is how to eat hemp seeds and make the most of them.
What Are Hemp Seeds?
Hemp seeds are seeds from the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp is legally defined as a variety of cannabis plant that contains under 0.3% THC. Hemp seeds do not contain enough THC to cause intoxication. Above all, hemp seeds are nutritious and rich in protein, healthy fats, and essential minerals.
Hemp seeds can be eaten raw or used to make various food products, including oil, milk, non-dairy cheese alternatives, and hemp protein powder. No matter how you eat hemp, it it has a rich nutritional profile. Hemp seeds are usually brown in color and can have a nutty taste. They can come in a shell or hard hull.
In some regions of the world, people eat roasted whole hemp seeds. For easier and more convenient eating, most people go for shelled hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts. The shell is removed, and the resulting hemp hearts have a softer texture and lighter color.
Hemp Seed Nutrition
Hemp seeds have a rich nutritional profile, making them a great addition to any meal. According to the USDA, three tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds have the following nutritional profile:
- Protein: 9.48 gm
- Calories: 166
- Carbohydrates: 2.6 gm
- Fat: 14.6 gm
- Fiber: 1.2 gm
- Sugars: 0.45 gm
- Calcium: 21 mg
- Folate: 33 micrograms
- Iron: 2.38 mg
- Magnesium: 210 mg
- Phosphorus: 495 mg
- Potassium: 360 mg
- Zinc: 2.97 mg
Hemp seeds are also known to contain high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.
How to Eat Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are easy to incorporate into your day-to-day diet.
Here is how to eat hemp seeds:
Add Hemp Seeds to Smoothies
When you are adding ingredients to your favorite smoothie, why not add a couple tablespoons of hemp seeds into the mix. This hemp-infused smoothie can be a part of a complete meal or be a quick breakfast if you are on the go.
Toss Hemp Seeds Into a Salad
Whether you prefer caesar, cobb, or any other type of salad, hemp seeds can add a mild nutty touch to your greens and veggies and a bit of extra protein if needed.
Eat Hemp Seeds Raw
If you're short on time or need a quick snack, eating raw hemp seeds can give you a quick boost of energy. If you want to add more sustenance, eat them with nuts and some berries for a quick and filling snack.
Add Hemp Seeds to Baked Goods
Who doesn't love baked goods? Add some hemp seeds to your favorite bread, muffins, or cookies to give them a slightly nutty flavor and a boost of nutritional value.
Sprinkle Hemp Seeds on Toast
Level up your everyday toast, whether you use avocado, peanut butter, or any other spread, hemp seeds can be added on top to give you a boost of nutrition and a slightly nutty and crunchy texture.
Stir Hemp Seeds Into Cereal
Cereals can be a great snack during any time of day. If you are a cereal lover, you can stir a tablespoon of hemp seeds into your bowl with milk to add nutritional value to your morning or midnight snack.
Sauté Hemp Seeds in a Stir Fry
Hemp seeds can make an appearance in almost any meal, including when you are sauteing veggies. Try lightly sautéing hemp seeds for a couple of minutes and add them to your favorite dinner entree.
Stir Hemp Seeds Into Sauces and Soups
Hemp seeds make great additions to sauces and soups. Simply stir them in to give your sauces and soups an added nutty and crunchy texture. They can easily hide in the mix and provide nutritional benefits.
Hemp Seeds Health Benefits
Hemp seeds offer a wide range of health benefits. They are a great plant-based protein that features all nine essential amino acids the body needs.
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Here are the many potential health benefits of adding hemp seeds to your everyday diet.
Hemp seeds contain a high concentration of arginine, an amino acid that enables your body to produce nitric acid. Nitric acid allows blood vessels to relax and expand, effectively lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. One study found that a diet high in arginine can reduce levels of C-reactive protein, commonly associated with heart disease.
Hemp seeds contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid associated with anti-inflammatory effects. One study found that arthritic pain significantly reduced in participants after taking nine months of GLA supplements.
Hemp seed oil, a product of the hemp plant, is commonly used to hydrate and replenish skin without clogging the pores. Hemp seed oil can be incorporated into your everyday skin routine and even be added to your meals to improve your skin health.
Hemp seeds’ high concentration of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids provide the body with an ideal amount of nutrients to support brain health. Hemp seeds can also contain terpenes, which provide some neuroprotective benefits and even prevent tumor growth.
Hemp seeds have a high concentration of omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This fatty acid can help maintain a balance of hormones. GLA makes prostaglandin E1, which is known to lower the effects of prolactin. Prolactin sensitivity has been associated with PMS symptoms.
One study found that women who took one gram of essential fatty acids per day and 210 mg of GLA, experienced a significant reduction in PMS symptoms. GLA is also believed to regulate imbalances in hormones related to menopause.
Potential Risks of Hemp Seeds
Are there any risks to consuming hemp seed in your diet? Hemp seeds’ fat levels come from their essential fatty acids, which should be eaten in moderation. A diet high in fat can increase the risk of nausea and diarrhea.
Here are a few other considerations to consider when eating these hemp products.
Hemp seeds can interact with certain medications, including anticoagulants. Some studies have found that hemp seeds can reduce blood clotting, which can interact with blood thinner medications.
Currently, no definitive studies show the safety of oral or topical administration of hemp for pregnant or breastfeeding women. At this time, this is not recommended.
Hemp seeds’ fiber content can cause adverse effects such as nausea, constipation, and bloating if consumed in large amounts. When eating hemp seeds, we recommend drinking a lot of water to help reduce your gut issues.
Factors to Consider When Buying Hemp Seeds
How do you buy the correct type of hemp seed? When buying hemp seeds, look for opaque packaging without any windows to prevent the omega fatty acids from breaking down faster over time.
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A window in the packaging exposes the seeds to light, which can lower the product’s shelf life. Also, look for the “best before” or “packaged on” date and find the freshest product you can.
How to Store Hemp Seeds
Store your fresh hemp seeds in a cool and dark place away from sunlight or artificial light. In this storage environment, hemp seeds can stay fresh for up to four months. Refrigerating or even freezing hemp seeds can keep them fresh for up to one year.
Will Eating Hemp Seeds Get You High?
If you're worried about getting high or testing positive for THC because of hemp seeds, you don't need to. While these seeds are derived from the cannabis plant, hemp seeds contain only a small amount of THC, not enough to trigger an intoxicating effect.
Final Thoughts on How to Eat Hemp Seeds
Now that you know the many health benefits and ways of incorporating hemp seeds into a healthy diet, you can develop a wide range of meal ideas that fit your lifestyle. Start using hemp seeds in your everyday meals today!
Are you interested in learning more about cooking with cannabis? Enroll in CTU’s Cannabis Cooking Pro certification to learn how to cook with cannabis like a pro, all from the comfort of your home. Enroll today!