Do you care about your health? Do you always insist on a healthy diet? If you answered yes, this post is for you! It is about a superfood you don’t want to miss including in your diet, even if you are a vegetarian or a vegan. Your doctor may have prescribed a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and fish to give you the protein, vitamins, and minerals you need. This guide recommends a smart addition that you may wish to consider.
It will tell you
- About the seeds of a plant that has been considered a wonder plant.
- What makes these seeds an excellent diet choice.
- How they could boost your health.
- In what form you could consume these healthy seeds.
Hemp is a plant that has been around for thousands of years. It offers an eco-friendly alternative to harmful plastics and promises abundant health benefits. However, it has had its own share of controversy too. This is because it belongs to the family of plants that marijuana does. However, it has been established that hemp does not produce any mind-altering effect due to its low THC content.
Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a great source of several nutrients. These brown seeds are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Let us start with the nutritional benefits they offer.
Get All the Nutrition You Need
Hemp seeds are as good a source of protein as soybeans. In fact, they are among the rare plant sources that provide protein. Every 30 grams of hemp seeds contain about 10 grams of protein.
The seeds provide the nine essential amino acids that our bodies need. This is why hemp seeds are considered a complete source of protein. These are acids our bodies cannot produce by themselves. They can only be obtained from the diet.
How do hemp seeds compare with flaxseeds, another popular source of protein? 25% of the total calories of hemp seeds are from protein, while the corresponding value for flaxseeds is about 18%.
Besides proteins, hemp seeds also provide you unsaturated fats such as omega-3 and omega-6. These are so critical for long term health. Again, the body cannot produce them and they need to be absorbed from the diet.
Hemp seeds also help us maintain the right balance between omega-3 and omega-6, which is important. As people generally tend to over-do on the omega-6 part, adding hemp seeds to the diet helps maintain the balance.
Hemp seeds also contain fiber – both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber creates a substance that benefits digestive bacteria. Besides improving your digestive health, it may also positively impact blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber helps food and waste pass through your gut. It may also reduce your risk of diabetes.
It’s a good idea to buy the seeds with the outer hull (shell) intact. They are rich in fiber.
Minerals and Vitamins
You need minerals and vitamins to help with your growth. You get them too from hemp seeds. They offer you vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. In addition, they also contain iron, zinc, and B-vitamins.
With such a wide range of benefits hemp seed becomes an automatic choice for inclusion in your diet, doesn’t it?
Wondering how to track your nutrition data? Yes, this is an important question to answer. Particularly so if you are on a diet and would like to track how you are doing.
Still undecided on including hemp seed in your diet? Need a little more push?
Here are some more reasons that may help you make up your mind.
Besides the nutritional benefits, hemp seeds also offer many health benefits like fostering growth and preventing diseases. Let us take a look.
Who doesn’t want a healthy heart?
A report published by WHO in 2018 says that heart disease is the number one killer worldwide. In fact, it has retained that position for 15 years!
Hemp seeds contain arginine, an amino acid, that helps reduce the risk of heart failure.
Arginine turns into nitric oxide which helps in dilating and relaxing the blood vessels. This results in reduced blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart disease.
Hemp seeds also contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) that again helps in reducing inflammation. A lower inflammation is known to reduce the risk of heart disease.
In addition, animal studies have shown that hemp seeds
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce chances of blood clot formation
- Help the heart to recover faster after an attack
Enough reasons to consider hemp seeds?
Protect Your Brain
Hemp seeds help protect another key organ too – the brain.
Studies have shown that certain compounds present in hemp seeds such as cannabidiol (CBD) may have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory effects.
It is believed that the CBD content in hemp seeds may help alleviate neurological conditions such as
- Parkinson’s disease (A movement disorder)
- Alzheimer’s disease (Memory loss caused by the death of brain cells)
- Multiple sclerosis (A disease that affects the central nervous system)
So that is another box checked when you evaluate hemp seeds.
Fight Skin Problems and Inflammation
Hemp seeds are a good source of healthy fats. The healthy 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 acids helps reduce inflammation. Another factor contributing to the anti-inflammatory effects is the presence of GLA – a polyunsaturated fatty acid – in hemp seeds.
However, it is to be noted that studies on animals and humans have thrown different results. Studies have shown that humans process GLA in a complicated fashion and therefore the results are different.
How does reducing inflammation help? It helps manage the symptoms of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, arthritis (a condition affecting joints and the surrounding tissues), heart disease, etc.
Address PMS and Menopause Symptoms
If you are a woman of reproductive age you may face symptoms caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Studies show that up to 80% of such women face physical and emotional symptoms. Some of the symptoms are bloating, insomnia, and leg swelling. The good news is that you can fight the PMS symptoms with hemp seeds.
In a study, women who took 1 gram of essential fatty acids per day experienced an improvement in their symptoms. It decreased physical pain as well as depression, irritability, etc.
These symptoms are possibly caused by sensitivity to a hormone called prolactin. Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) present in hemp seeds reduces the effect of this hormone.
The GLA content in hemp seeds also seems to reduce symptoms in menopause too. Even though the exact process is not established, it seems that GLA corrects the hormone imbalances and reduces inflammation.
Get Relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that manifests as pain in the joints. This pain is caused by the fact that the immune system attacks its own tissues. This is known as an auto-immune condition.
Even though it has not been conclusively established, it is believed that hemp seed oil can relieve this painful condition. Go here to find the related research report.
How to Consume Hemp Seeds
Here are some simple ways to add hemp seeds to your diet and stay healthy:
- Sprinkle them on cereal or yogurt.
- Add to smoothies made of banana, pear, avocado, etc.
- Add hemp seeds to baked whole wheat muffins.
- Make hemp milk at home using whole seeds.
- Sprinkle hemp seeds on a salad, along with other seeds or nuts.
- Make a salad dressing using hemp seed oil.
- Snack on granola bars or meal bars made using hemp seeds.
You may also consider consuming hemp protein powder which is made by pulverizing the hemp seeds after extracting the oil.
A Word of Caution
Some of the tests using hemp seeds are conducted using very high concentrations. Therefore their actual consumption may not produce such dramatic results.
Hemp seeds are safe when consumed in moderate quantities. However, if you eat large amounts of hemp seeds it may cause diarrhea. It is generally a good idea to start with a small quantity – say, one teaspoon – and gradually work your way up.
Here is another caveat: Are you on any anticoagulant medication? Then you must consult your doctor before consuming any significant amount of hemp.
Your diet plays an important role in shaping your health. Hemp seeds offer so many health benefits that it makes perfect sense to include them in your diet. With a bit of effort, you will be able to find out in what form to consume them and how much quantity.
When you are on a healthy diet, it pays to keep monitoring your nutrition levels. When you use the right tools you are bound to succeed in your efforts.
Be a sincere dieter, be a smart one at that!
Author Bio: Jaspreet Singh, Co-founder of the NGO Hemp Foundation which works for the empowerment of economically challenged farmers in Uttarakhand. He works as a bridge between the people and the business to make the farmers economically grow. He loves to hear their problems to provide them an explicit solution. He is also passionate about adventures tours, trekking, and long bike rides.