The hemp plant has been cultivated for more than 12,000 years and, while it has great economic significance, it still gets a bad rap. Unfortunately, many of the negative things people believe about this plant are false, or they don’t tell the whole story. Keep reading to learn the truth about some common misconceptions about consuming hemp and to learn the top 5 health benefits of hemp seeds.
Misconceptions About Consuming Hemp
Due to its association with the recreational drug marijuana, many people have a negative opinion about the hemp plant and related products. While it is true that both hemp and marijuana come from the same plant species – Cannabis Sativa L. – there are some important differences between the two. It is the flowering tops and the leaves of the Cannabis plant that contain the psychoactive elements as well as the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that most people associate with the drug marijuana. The seeds and fibers of the plant, on the other hand, contain very low levels of THC.
Because hemp contains less than 0.3% THC – this is the line that marijuana plants cross – consuming it isn’t going to get you high. In fact, hemp plants and marijuana plants, though they come from the same species, are cultivated very differently. Hemp plants are grown for their seeds and fiber while marijuana plants are cultivated for their THC content. The seeds of the hemp plant consist primarily of essential fatty acids as well as protein, fiber, and other nutrients. These seeds also contain the cannabinoid known as cannabidiol, but it doesn’t have any effect on your conscious state.
The Top 5 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Now that you know the truth about consuming hemp products, you may be wondering what benefits these foods can provide. The seeds of the hemp plant are particularly nutritious – so much so that they are often considered a superfood. Here is an overview of the top five health benefits of these seeds:
1. Rich in Essential Nutrients
The myriad health benefits of hemp seeds are related to their nutritional content. The shelled seeds of the hemp plant contain about 35 per cent essential fatty acids and 33 per cent plant protein. These seeds contain all nine essential amino acids and they are an abundant source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) as well as dietary fiber.
2. May Reduce the Risk for Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease is the number-1 killer worldwide but consuming these little seeds could reduce your risk. These seeds are particularly rich in the amino acid arginine which plays a role in the body’s production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to dilate and relax which lowers blood pressure and reduces your risk for heart disease.
3. Supports Healthy Weight Loss
Due to their content of dietary fats and fiber, these seeds may help you to feel fuller longer, repressing your appetite in support of your weight loss goals. Just keep in mind that, due to their fat content, these seeds are fairly high in calories.
4. Aids Healthy Digestion
In addition to their protein and fat content, the seeds of the hemp plant are also rich in dietary fiber – both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber from these seeds can add bulk to your stools, helping to keep your digestion regular. The mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber also aids the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut which supports healthy digestion as well as a strong immune system.
5. Improves Hair, Skin, and Nail Health
Hemp seeds contain more than 30 per cent fat and they are particularly rich in alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6). These oils are frequently used in cosmetics because they have the ability to penetrate through layers of skin to promote cell growth. Consuming these seeds can help to repair and moisturize dry and damaged skin – they also support healthy hair and nails.
Rich in essential fatty acids, protein, fiber, and other important nutrients, seeds from the hemp plant are a powerhouse of healthy nutrition. The next time someone expresses concern about consuming hemp products, you can address their misconceptions and enlighten them about the health benefits of these tasty seeds.
How to Incorporate Hemp Seeds into Your Diet
- Blended into smoothies
- Topped on salads
- Make your own hemp milk
- Top on smoothie bowls or with yogurt and fruit
Really you can add hemp seeds into almost anything for an extra boost of nutrition, healhty fats, and fibre. Check out our top 5 products using hemp!