The Benefits of Eating Hemp Seeds
Posted on February 16th, 2021
For too many decades, we as a society have been sleeping on the nutritional and therapeutic potential of hemp seeds. Not entirely our fault, though. The plant’s biological relationship to another variety of cannabis, namely marijuana, made it an instant pariah for many. Nowadays, not so much, yet, people are still a bit confused as to if hemp seeds do contain CBD like industrial hemp proper. Not a far-fetched thing to wonder; after all, eating hemp seeds should give out similar benefits to eating hemp, theoretically at least, right?
Well, the truth is that hemp seeds do not have any CBD in them. They instead offer substantial health benefits due to the essential amino acids and fatty acids abundant inside of them. Hemp belongs to the cannabis family, and actually, mankind has a long history of using it for a lot of different purposes. Unfortunately, since the 50s, authorities lumped it together with marijuana when banning it due to health concerns. A non-deserved act, hemp, unlike marijuana, has only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component. Thus, it can’t get you high, which was the whole reason for banning marijuana in the first place.
However, eating hemp seeds is another thing entirely. The cannabinoids aren’t present as they come from the flowers, leaves, and stalk of the plant rather than the seeds. As such, hemp seeds’ omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as the antioxidant effects, are what makes them so interesting. So, if you are looking to boost metabolism, improve digestion, and balance hormones, hemp seeds might just be an ideal superfood.
What are Hemp Seeds?
Also referred to as hemp hearts, hemp seeds are, as the name implies, the seeds of the hemp plant. The seed stage of the cannabis sativa plant has a different composition from the plant itself. In some short years, hemp became so popular that many parts and extract of the plant hit the market rather fast.
In fact, hemp is one of the most diverse and widely used industrial crops on the planet. Its uses go from industrial purposes due to its natural fibers as well as nutritional content. Hemp seeds are a great source of nutrients, particularly essential amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids. According to studies, they have a wide array of health benefits, which we will look into later on this read.
Is Hemp Similar to Cannabis or Marijuana?
Although hemp is a cannabis variety, it contains little to no THC. It’s not possible to use industrial hemp as a drug. It is relatively easy to cultivate, it has excellent yield rates, and only recently became completely legal in the US to grow.
So, Why Should You Eat Hemp Seeds?
Believe it or not, hemp is such a great crop that even its seeds are good for you. Here is the reason why you should be eating hemp seeds.
1. Rich Source of Nutrients
Hemp seeds are a rich source of vital nutrients; it contains the following:
- Fatty acids
- Dietary fiber
- Vitamin E
All these nutrients have quite a good effect on your body. They help with digestion, inflammation and protect your brain from the effects of aging.
Also, hemp hearts are rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which aid in heart health, brain health, cognitive health, improve bone and joint health as well as fighting inflammation.
2. Boosts Nail, Skin, and Hair Health
Hemp seeds’ benefits for the skin and hair go a long way in improving red, dry, or flaking skin. Often used in top-of-the-line cosmetic products, hemp oil goes into making lotions, soaps, and lip balms. When oil extracted from hemp seeds penetrates your skin, it promotes healthy cell growth, which is essential for smooth, soft skin.
In fact, studies on the effects of hemp oil on eczema, a condition that leads to dry skin and inflammation, showed the symptoms improved upon the use of the oil.
Hemp oil is ideal for skin disorders like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. It is also a good idea to add the seeds to your diet in order to enhance these benefits. Also, you can create a homemade skin cream by combining essential oils, shea butter, and hemp seed.
3. They Can Help You Sleep
Hemp seeds are extremely rich in magnesium, a mineral that naturally relaxes the muscles and calms the body. It can also help you sleep easier. In order to get these benefits, consider eating hemp seeds a few hours before bedtime.
4. They Can Prevent Feeling Hungry
According to researchers, hemp seeds are full of fiber, which is responsible for making you feel full for hours. As such, adding hemp hearts, milk, or powder to your morning meal can keep mid-morning food cravings at bay. Just make sure to take plenty of water in order to prevent that fiber from hanging out in your gastrointestinal tract for longer than it needs to.
5. Reduce the Symptoms of PMS & Menopause
About 80 percent of women of reproductive age experience both physical and emotional symptoms as a result of PMS. These symptoms are usually a result of sensitivity to the hormone known as prolactin. Hemp hearts contain Gamma-linolenic acid, which produces prostaglandin E1, capable of combating the effects of prolactin.
According to research on women with PMS, consuming 210 mg of Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and a gram of essential fatty acids on a daily basis leads to a substantial reduction in symptoms. Also, the GLA found in hemp seeds seems capable of reducing the symptoms of menopause as well.
The exact mechanism behind this is currently unknown. Studies hint that the GLA helps regulate inflammation and hormone imbalances associated with menopause. The bottom line is that hemp seeds can soften the symptoms related to PMS and symptoms related to menopause.
6. They May Aid in Digestion
As earlier mentioned, fiber can be a key part of a diet and great at improving digestive health. Hemp hearts are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, with 20% and 80%, respectively.
Soluble fiber creates a gel-like substance in your gut, and it is a valuable source of nutrients for good bacteria. Also, it can regulate cholesterol levels and minimize blood sugar spikes. On the other hand, insoluble fiber help prevent constipation. Finally, eating insoluble fiber seems to work on reducing the risk of developing diabetes.
However, shelled or de-hulled hemp seeds have very little fiber as a result of the removal of the shell. The bottom line is that whole hemp seeds are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which promotes digestive health. The de-hulled variant, however, contains less fiber as the fiber-rich is no longer there.
7. Alleviates Inflammation
Hemp seeds; omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids content aids in reducing inflammation. Additionally, hemp hearts are rich in Gamma-linolenic acid, which is a polyunsaturated fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties as well. According to some studies on animals, GLA can act as a potent anti-inflammatory, but some studies on humans show that the acid isn’t always effective.
According to a review in the European Journal of Pharmacology, people process Gamma-linolenic acid in a complicated manner. This is the reason why research on human beings gives more varied results compared to those on animals.
When evaluating these studies, it’s imperative to bear in mind that researchers tend to use high concentrations of hemp extracts. So, eating hemp seeds alone may have less dramatic effects.
Alleviating inflammation can help manage the symptoms of various chronic diseases, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Fatty liver disease
- Heart disease
8. Alleviate Rheumatoid Arthritis
This is an autoimmune disease that makes the immune system attack its own tissues, leading to inflammation in the joints. According to a study done on human cells back in 2014, hemp seeds could have anti-rheumatic effects.
9. May Aid in Losing Weight
Eating hemp seeds works as a natural appetite suppressant, and it can reduce sugar cravings while making you feel fuller for longer. Adding hemp seeds to your meals and drinks can help reduce excess hunger. This can be due to the high fiber content.
According to a review in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, fiber consumption relates to reduced body weight. This is due to satiety as well as energy intake from consuming a meal rich in fiber.
What are The Risks of Eating Hemp Seeds?
Although hemp seeds do come from a variety of cannabis plants, they do not contain THC. Thus they will not get you high in any way. However, those who take drug tests, including athletes eating hemp products, can, in some situations, result in failed urine tests. THC levels in hemp-derived products usually depend on the manufacturing process and suppliers.
In the United States, growing hemp with THC content higher than 0.3% is against the law. Also, the government strictly regulates the importation of both hemp hearts and hemp-based products.
Eating Hemp Seeds – The Takeaway
Hemp seeds or hemp hearts have an extremely rich profile. They have high levels of fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Their shells add fiber to your diet, and grinding the seeds helps your body absorb a higher percentage of essential nutrients.
Some studies hint at links between hemp hearts and health benefits. However, most researchers almost always work with high concentrations of the substance. Thus, unless you eat bowls and bowls of hemp seeds, you are likely to observe milder effects than those advertised in research.