Hemp hearts have quickly become a favorite source of protein and other essential nutrients. Here are a few reasons why we love this up-and-coming super food so dearly.
What is a hemp heart?
Hemp hearts come from the Cannabis sativa L. plant. This is not to be confused with other varieties associated high amounts of the psychoactive compound of marijuana, THC. Unlike marijuana, hemp hearts will not produce a mind-altering effect. The hemp heart is the mega nutritious center of the hemp seed. Once the shell is removed from the hemp seed the most nutritious part of the seed remains—the heart.
They’re Incredibly Nutritious
One of the benefits of eating the heart of the seed as opposed to the whole seed with the shell still on is that you get a far more nutritionally dense product. Here’s a breakdown of some of the hemps seed’s nutritional value.
Hemp hearts are an excellent source of protein packing about 24.6 grams per every 100 grams—as much as a soybean.
They also pack 27.6 grams of dietary fiber per every 100-gram serving, which covers the American Heart Association’s dietary fiber intake recommendations.
Hemp oil is an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acid which comes with a long list of health benefits. The seed is also low in saturated fats and has no trans fats.
Packed with vitamins, hemp hearts are especially rich in Vitamins C A, D and E as well Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Vitamin B-6.
Hemp hearts are a great source of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and more!
18 different Amino Acids!
Amazingly, hemp seeds contain all of the essential amino acids we need—making it a ‘complete food’.
Hemp seeds come with some serious benefits
With hemp hearts complex and diverse nutritional content, it’s no wonder the super food comes with some significant benefits to our health. Here’s a look at just a few of the health benefits science has found.
A 2010 study looking at the cardiac and blood clotting ability of hemp found multiple cardiovascular benefits. Because of the amino acid Arginine, Nitric oxide is produced which has to decrease levels of C-reactive protein, which causes inflammation. Additionally, the molecule has shown to participate in the control of hemostasis as well as different platelet interactions positively.
According to a study published by the Institute of Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology in Italy, hemp seeds have antioxidant effects that can protect the brain from oxidative damage. Additionally, another study published in 2018 found the found to have neuroprotective as well as anti-inflammatory effects that suggest that food can help protect against many neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Hemp hearts can restore polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids which improves eczema symptoms and also relieves dry, itchy skin. The ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to omega-3 found in the seed may also benefit numerous skin diseases and help the skin have a healthier and younger appearance.
Female Reproductive Health
The fatty acids in Hemp oil have displayed the ability to decrease breast tenderness, depression and fluid retention in women dealing with difficult PMS symptoms. High amounts of Gamma-linolenic found in hemp hearts may also be highly effective at reducing symptoms caused by menopause as well—according to research.
Smooth with a nutty flavor, hemp heart is an easy ingredient to add to any dish and is a common topping in many vegan dishes. The seeds are delicious sprinkled on salads and soups. They can also be added into baked goods such as muffins, cookies, and bread and blended into drinks such as supercharged smoothies. Whatever your tastes, there are many recipes out there to help get you started.
Healthy Grains & Hemp Pesto Sautée
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Photo: Mary Hood Luttrell; Jennifer Kurdyla; Maille O’Donnell