Last Updated on October 12, 2020
You may have already read all about the cannabis plant and how it produces three types of oils, which all have their own set of benefits and different uses. If you haven’t yet, we have an article which extensively covers that topic. Today, let’s shine the spotlight on hemp protein and seeds and why you should consume them.
The hemp seed itself is a wonder food. Due to the recent popularity of seeds among health buffs, seeds have their own sections in most supermarkets and organic groceries. Seeds are often hailed as superfoods.
They’re packed with some of the best amino acids and fiber that are beneficial to everyone who consumes them on a regular basis. It’s no wonder that breakfast and snack items that contain seeds —such as hemp seed, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds — have gotten popular over time.
Hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts, are a vegan’s dream. The plant itself repels pests and doesn’t need any industrial pesticides. It’s rich in protein and contains all nine amino acids that our body can’t produce on its own. The seeds themselves only contain traces of THC, the psychoactive substance that induces an artificial high, and are safe to consume without the side effect of altering your neurotransmitters.
Since the ban on hemp plants was lifted to give way for industrial cultivation, hemp-derived products are suddenly abundant in the US. The seeds are the same source from which hemp oil is extracted. Hemp oil is excellent for cooking due to its omega-3 fatty acid content.
It also provides a good base or moisturizer for cosmetic and skincare products. Since hemp oil is a by-product of industrial processing of the plant, it’s green and eco-friendly. The same could be said for the harvesting of hemp seeds for consumption.
Hemp seeds are available in different varieties, whole seeds or shelled seeds. Each has its own set of benefits and a whole nutritional profile that highlights certain values. Hemp seeds can also be ground to a powder and is comparable or even better than most plant-based protein powders in the market.
Packed with Protein and Amino Acids
People who lead an active lifestyle or exercise more frequently than others would often turn to powder formulas as a protein source. Protein is a macronutrient that is essential in building a better toned body.
It helps repair tissues and muscles, which is important after active sessions. It helps boost the metabolism and burn fat faster. While eating a high-protein meal after exercising will have the same benefits, it simply boils down to convenience and delivery.
Protein powders are either plant-based or dairy-based. Whey or dairy-based protein is considered a complete protein. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are just one of the most important building blocks in humans. They allows us to grow and continually repair the body. Whey protein contains nine of the amino acids that our body can’t produce.
These valuable nutrients can also be found in hemp seeds.
For people who may have sensitivities to dairy products, they can turn to plant-based proteins. Hemp protein helps to avoid digestive inflammation and other problems associated with whey protein powder consumption.
Aside from this, hemp protein contains added nutrition, such as vitamins and fiber found in the plant. Since hemp seed does not produce any sensitivities such as vomiting, nausea, and bowel irritation, you get more energy and feel less fatigue symptoms.
Another benefit that hemp seeds have over dairy products is the amount of fiber they contain for every gram. Milk and other whey protein have only less than one gram of fiber per serving. Hulled hemp seeds give you about four grams for every hundred grams, while 30 grams of hemp protein gives you approximately eight grams of fiber.
Fiber plays an important role in making sure our digestive health is in top shape. When the digestive system is running smoothly, we can extract the nutrients from the food we eat to sustain our body’s needs.
Energy is transformed and released regularly to support the different processes in the body. When the body is able to run smoothly, like a well-oiled machine, there’s less strain on our vital organs. This prevents or lowers our risk for developing lifestyle and degenerative diseases.
With enough fiber, our gut flora is also in balance. Inflammation in the gut prevents people from enjoying their life properly. The quality of life is definitely affected when your food choices are limited or if you spend too much energy avoiding food that can give you irritable bowel symptoms and acid reflux. Toxins are also safely and regularly eliminated with enough fiber in the diet.
Great Source of Omega Fatty Acids
Hemp seeds are a good source of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds strike the perfect balance between these two essential fats.
Our body can’t produce some types of fats, and we need to get them through our diet. These fatty acids help us with metabolism and nutrient absorption. It also helps with cell growth, hormone production, and provides us with energy and warmth.
Furthermore, fatty acids help the heart and liver, support mental health and infant brain development, and decrease inflammation.
However, to get the optimum benefits, a delicate balance between omega-3 and omega-6 must be maintained in the diet. The ratio must be 3:1 respectively. Hemp seeds have this exact ratio. Consumption of hemp seeds helps people whose diets are limited to food high in omega-6 fatty acids.
Since hemp seeds are found in different forms — whole, shelled, crushed, and ground — each form takes on a different nutrition profile than the other. Some forms may be richer in protein, while others deliver more fiber. Depending on your needs, you can choose whichever type of hemp seed product you wish to consume.
The USDA’s National Nutrient Database reports that a serving of hulled hemp seeds (100 grams) provides the following nutrients:
- 553 kcal of energy
- 31.56 grams of protein
- 48.75 grams of total fat
- 8.67 grams of carbohydrate
- 4 grams of dietary fiber
- 70 mg of calcium
- 7.95 mg of iron
- 700 mg of magnesium
- 1650 mg of phosphorus
- 1200 mg of potassium
- 5 mg of sodium
- 9.90 mg of zinc
- 0.5 mg of vitamin C
- 1.275 mg of thiamin
- 0.285 mg of riboflavin
- 9.200 mg of niacin
- 0.600 mg of vitamin B6
- 110 µg of folate
- 1 µg of vitamin A
- 0.80 mg of vitamin E
Including Hemp Seeds in Your Diet
Since hemp seeds might be new to you, you can start by including them in your regular breakfast fare. If you eat a lot of cereals, oatmeal, porridges, or smoothies in the morning, sprinkle a generous serving of hemp seeds on top. You can make your own trail mix or energy bars with hemp seeds.
Some people like using hemp seeds as a substitute to milk. To make hemp milk, just blend hemp seeds with some water and salt, and you’re all set. For added zest, you can opt to add some vanilla extract, coconut, or berries of your choice into the blend.
Lactose and gluten intolerant people will enjoy using hemp seed as an alternative to popular ingredients. You can grind the seeds, use hemp seed flour or hemp seed protein powder when you make your batter or dough, so that your baked goods are infused with protein and fiber. Hemp seeds can also be ground to add to burger patties, meatballs, or breading mixes.
Any type of salad will benefit from the crunchy texture and nutty flavor of hemp seeds, so make sure to toss some in. Some sauces and dressings are also made richer with hemp seed.
Hemp seeds are just one of the most macronutrient packed food that you can include in your diet every day. These seeds are very versatile and provide people with alternatives to their food sensitivities and allergies. Since the plant can also be grown without pesticides, these seeds are very healthy and organic.
People who are looking to improve their metabolism and toning their body for both aesthetic and health reasons will be pleased to know that hemp seeds are a good and instant source of protein, fiber, and balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.