Hemp seeds are a nutritional superpower rich in essential and sustainable plant based nutrients
that can easily be added to soups, salads, smoothies and even applied topically!
They’ve been consumed around the world for years and were recently given the green light as a food in Australia by our Federal Government and food regulators.
Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. While they’re from the same species as cannabis (marijuana), they contain only trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound responsible for the euphoric “high”) so you definitely won’t get any hallucinogenic effects from eating it!
They have a mild nutty flavour and are available as hulled seeds (without the shell), powder, oil and flour so we can easily enjoy their health benefits in many different ways. They’re hypoallergenic and ideal for those with sensitive tummies or intolerances, naturally gluten-free and low in sugar, and perfect for people on plant-based diets or looking for a soy-, dairy- and lactose-free protein supplement.
Why are they so healthy?
1. Protein powerhouse!
The seeds contain all 20 amino acids, including the nine essential ones our bodies can’t produce on its own, meaning it’s a complete protein that helps heal and repair muscle and tissue. Hulled hemp seeds and its flour has about 33 per cent protein, while hemp protein powder has a higher concentration at 50 per cent.
Hemp seeds are also highly digestible and typically rated at 90 per cent digestible protein (meat and fish are 94 and eggs are 97 per cent). It’s easier to digest than whey protein and without the common bloating effect.
2. Full of goods fats
Hemp is an excellent plant-based source of essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) in the perfect ratio (3:1). Our body doesn’t produce essential fatty acids, but they are crucial to support the structure and function of all our cells.
3. Nutrient rich
They’re a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and phosphorus for bone health, zinc for immunity and iron for energy. They are also a good source of tocopherols, or vitamin E antioxidants.
4. Digestive support
Hemp seeds are a great source of insoluble and soluble fibre to aid healthy digestion, and are thought to aid effective weight loss by keeping you feeling full for longer.
5. Healthy heart
Research shows hemp seeds can improve cardiovascular health by lowering your blood pressure, raising your HDL cholesterol, and reducing triglyceride levels.
6. Treat inflammation and support immunity
Hemp seeds support immunity and help balance out inflammation due to their high levels of GLA and omega 3 fats.
7. Healthy skin
Research shows consuming hemp seed oil improves the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, and helps treat a host of other skin conditions such as eczema, varicose eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. Its EFA profile closely resembles our skin’s fats so treats dehydrated skin and reverses oil loss that causes dry skin. The omega 3 in hemp seed oil is anti-inflammatory and can help heal skin conditions; the omega 6 content aids healthy functioning of skin; while the omega 9 promotes healthy responses to inflammation.
Topically it’s an effective moisturiser that doesn’t clog pores, is suitable for all skin types and can help soothe inflammation, reduce the appearance of ageing or inflamed skin, hydrate dry skin, prevent acne and is especially helpful for those suffering eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
How to use it
It’s easy to add hemp to your everyday diet and skin care regime. Here’s our top tips:
- Oil – Hemp seed oil is typically cold pressed and can’t be heated because high temperatures can denature the unsaturated fats and turn them into saturated fats. So stick to drizzling on salads, stirring through pasta, adding to smoothies, and weaving it into your skincare regime.
- Hulled seeds – These versatile little gems can be added to smoothies and protein balls, sprinkled on salads and cereals and even added to soups, mashed potato and baked goods like cookies and cakes.
- Protein powder – Like hemp seeds, its protein powder is incredibly versatile. Add to smoothies, baking, protein balls, chia puddings and more.
- Flour – Hemp flour is gluten-free and can be used in baking and to thicken sauces. Use it to boost the nutritional content of home-made bread, muffins, cookies and crepes.