Hemp seeds actually fall into the nut category, and they do have a nutty flavor. Hemp seeds come from the plant Cannabis sativa. Yes, the same species as marijuana—however, they don’t contain nearly enough THC to cause the same psychoactive effects.
Hemp is so versatile! It has been an important source of food, fiber, fabric, and medicine for years. There is so much nutrition packed in such a small space. Here are eight of the most exciting health benefits of hemp seeds.
1. Helps balance your hormones
Hemp seeds are especially beneficial for PMS symptoms such as sore breasts, low mood, bloating, and cramping. They can regulate your hormones, thanks to their high gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) content. One study has even shown that 61% of participants taking 2 capsules of of GLA a day had complete relief of all PMS symptoms.
Hemp seeds are amazing for keeping your heart healthy, because they contain your good polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid (LA). A diet high in LA can decrease total cholesterol levels and LDL levels by 15% and 22% respectively. It can also help lower blood pressure levels.
3. Good for the skin, hair, and nails
Improve your dry, red, and flaky skin with hemp seeds. Hemp oil is often used in lotions and lip balms, but including seeds in your diet can be beneficial as well. Not only are hemp seeds great at keeping your skin, hair, and nails looking and feeling healthy, but they can also help with eczema. It has been shown that they inhibit the conversion of LA to GLA in those that suffer from eczema.
4. Helps decrease your risk of cancer
Once again, we can thank GLA for this benefit, as it is anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, and antiproliferative. In addition, its healthy balance of omega-3s and 6s, high fiber content, and powerful antioxidants balance hormones, which is important in the prevention of hormone-positive cancers (e.g. those of the breast, ovary and prostate). GLA also eliminates free radicals that can damage healthy cells.
5. High in fiber
High in soluble and insoluble fiber, hemp seeds provide a good amount of fiber to keep your gut happy and regular. Soluble fiber (i.e. fiber that dissolves in water) helps you feel fuller for longer, meaning you will eat less and find it easier to lose weight. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water and therefore adds bulk to the stool to help prevent constipation.
6. Great source of plant-based protein
Did you know that a hemp seed’s content is 24.8% protein? That’s actually quite a lot for a plant. Having 3tbsp of hemp seeds is approximately equal to 10g of protein! Talk about getting the most bang for your buck. Another great fact is that the amino acid profile of hemp seed proteins is actually comparable to that of egg whites and soy, making it one of the highest quality plant-based sources.
7. Helps decrease symptoms associated with arthritis
Consuming GLA can help improve sore joints. GLA is anti-inflammatory and can be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis by relieving pain, stiffness, and tenderness. Though these benefits are generally achieved through high dose supplementation of GLA, regular dietary intake of hemp seeds also has the potential to decrease inflammation by increasing your GLA levels.
8. Incredibly nutritious
Finally, a couple spoonfuls of hemp seeds pack a serious amount of nutrition. Not only are hemp seeds rich in protein, fiber, and polyunsaturated fats, but they contain considerable amounts of vitamins and minerals. These little seeds provide huge amounts of magnesium and potassium, both of which can be low in our standard American diet. In addition, hemp seeds are quite high in Vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, thereby removing free radicals that could cause damage.