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So, while I was doing research on Chia and Flax, the subject of Hemp Seeds kept getting tossed around. I was curious, especially considering all of the more recent developments in CBD (cannabidiol) products and a slowly forward moving stance on anything made with the cannabis (marijuana) plants. Before we go any further, let me be clear – CBD products are not supposed to contain THC, which is the psychoactive compounds from Cannabis sativa that will give you the “high” sensation and pop positive on a drug test. Hemp seeds that still contain the shells contain trace amounts of THC but will not get anyone “high”. However, there is always a risk that any of these products could lead to a failed drug test. You have to be sure of your suppliers and the manufacturing process of what you are using before using it.
Did you know that hemp has been used in food, medicinal treatments, and manufacturing for over 3000 years? Yeah, there are records in China concerning hemp. The seeds can be consumed raw, cooked, or roasted. From what I understand, hemp seeds are technically a nut. Therefore they are made up of mostly omega6 and omega3 fatty acids and are high in protein calories. They have so much of these that hemp seeds could be considered beneficial to people who have skin disorders – among other things. This also means that when you use them in recipes, they often have a nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
Actually 25% of their calories come from protein, which is a larger percentage that you get from the seeds I’ve covered before – flax and chia. Like quinoa, hemp is considered a “complete” protein source as it contains all nine essential amino acids. This means it’s easier to digest and provides you with as much or more protein per gram than almonds, eggs, chicken, cheese, beef and lamb.
If you’re looking for fiber, better get ready to use the whole seeds. Hemp Hearts – the de-hulled or shelled versions – do not contain a large amount of fiber – it’s mostly all in that shell. This is also a trade off – because eating the shell delivers a small amount of THC…
Their vitamin and mineral line-up, compared to 1 tablespoon of the other two seeds of choice, looks like this:
Fiber: 5.5 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Fat: 4.5 grams (half are omega-3s)
Calcium: 9% of the RDI
Manganese: 15% of the RDI
Magnesium: 15% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 13.5% of the RDI
*Small amounts of Zinc, Potassium,
Along with B1, B2, and B3
Fiber: 1.9 grams
Protein: 1.3 grams
Fat: 3 grams (over ⅓ are omega-3s)
Calcium: 2% of the RDI
Manganese: not listed
Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
Iron: 2% of the RDI
Vitamin B1: 8% of the RDI
*Small amounts of Potassium
Protein: 3.2 grams
Fat: 5 grams (over ½ are omega-3/6s)
*Small amounts of Fiber, Potassium,
Calcium, and B6
Once again, we’ve got a seed that could help prevent heart disease and help people recover from heart attacks. It contains high amounts of an amino acid that produces a molecule that helps blood vessels dilate. It is also helpful in inflammation reduction and decreased the risk of clot formation.
Something that sets it apart from the other two seeds, besides being a complete protein that is plant-based? It contains Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which helps women reduce the symptoms of PMS. One study found that hemp seed extract has antioxidant effects – meaning it’s anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective when it comes to brain disorders and can also help the immune system as a whole. This is a boon for people suffering from neurological diseases. Not to mention, hemp has been found to help relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
These seeds can be incorporated into the diet much the same way as their counter-parts. Whole or ground can be used in sprinkling on dishes like yogurt, salads, cereal, side dish veggies, or oatmeal. They can be added to smoothies, processed into milk, and even baked. I like the idea (and plan on trying it) used as part of a coating for baked tofu or asparagus or brussels sprouts. I’ll also keep these little guys in mind while making spreads and dressings. Now, if you want to use hemp oil – remember that it is heat-sensitive. So it’s best when used in dips or to drizzle and not cook. Unlike the other types of seeds, hemp hearts should be refrigerated for storing and can last up to a year like that.
I’ll be sure to incorporate some recipes using Hemp into the website soon!
Recommended Daily Intake – approximations