Humans have been using seeds as a source of food energy for thousands of years. Seeds contain lots of energy in the form of vegetable fats and many healthy nutrients. Many of the best-known seeds used for human nutrition also have beneficial properties. In recent years, hemp seeds have been rediscovered, especially in the western world, because they are considered to have powerful healing properties.
Yes, we already know that some people may be suspicious of hemp seeds and moreover, everything about hemp is under a cloud because it is often confused with marijuana. However, these doubts or legal concerns are baseless because even though hemp and marijuana are just two different names for cannabis, the THC level in hemp is so low (0.3 per cent or less) it’s unlikely to get you high. Hemp seeds are completely legal.
Now that we have set all such doubts to rest and yet still you hesitate to add hemp seeds to your shopping cart because you’re not a dab hand at making hemp milk at home, or you’re at sea when your friends are discussing the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, this one is for you. This article answers some common questions about hemp seeds. It also discusses some of the health benefits of hemp and its uses.
What are hemp seeds?
Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, which is botanically known as cannabis sativa L.. The hemp plant is occasionally confused by many with marijuana. Hemp, however, contains only trace amounts of THC, the main chemical in the cannabis sativa plant that makes people get 'high'. Because hemp contains little THC, it is grown for non-drug use.
Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein and various minerals. The nutty taste of hemp seeds is reminiscent of sunflower seeds and pine nuts, although hemp seeds have a milder taste. Their nutty flavour also makes them a great substitute for meat and dairy products.
Hemp seeds' nutrition
Hemp seeds are edible and are a valuable addition to a vegan diet because very few plant-based foods are complete sources of protein. Hemp seeds are in fact a complete source of protein, which means that they provide all nine essential amino acids. Hemp seeds are especially rich in an amino acid called arginine. Hemp seeds are also a great source of essential fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and gamma-linolenic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and contain no trans fats. They’re packed with vitamins, especially vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and vitamin B-6. They’re also a good source of minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium.
Potential health benefits of hemp seeds
Hemp seeds are considered to be a superfood because they are rich in several key nutrients and some medical research suggests that hemp seeds have a wide range of potential positive health effects. Among the essential fatty acids discovered in hemp seeds, GLA (omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid) has strong anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, these seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid ( omega-3 fatty acid) and a 3-to-1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. This ratio is generally assumed to be optimal for heart and brain health. Hemp seeds also contain significant amounts of the amino acids cysteine and methionine, as well as very high levels of glutamic acid and arginine. Arginine is a non-essential amino acid that turns into nitric oxide, which is considered critical for the circulatory system's proper functioning because it regulates vascular tone and blood flow.
How to eat hemp seeds
In the morning, there is nothing more enjoyable than a healthy, energetic, and unusual breakfast. Hemp seeds can be sprinkled over cereal or yoghurt or added to smoothies.
In this case, don't forget to grind them before mixing the ingredients of your tasty smoothie. It is even possible to make hemp milk at home using whole seeds, water, coconut sugar and vanilla extract.
On the go – sweet and savoury
But if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for breakfast don't forget that hemp seeds enhance savoury and sweet dishes alike.
Another idea is to blend them into hummus to play up its nutty flavour.
A pinch of la dolce vita can be added to dishes by making pesto from them.
Hemp seed side effects
Unlike hemp leaves and other parts of the plant, hemp seeds are not considered unsafe for consumption. However, the seeds can cause mild diarrhoea due to the high-fat content. There are also insufficient clinical studies to prove the safety of hemp when used during pregnancy or nursing.
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