The Benefits of Eating Hemp Seeds

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"Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and nutrients "
Eating Hemp seeds

Most people today associate the Cannabis sativa plant with either recreational weed or medical marijuana, but what about as a food source? According to some studies, in China, the hemp seed has been used as a food and medicine for more than 3000 years. The seeds of the plant and are quite delicious and can be eaten raw, roasted, or cooked. Like the roots, they do not have any psychoactive properties, so don’t expect to get high on them, what they can do however is supply a valuable source of protein and other essential nutrients.

In today’s article, we will expand on the cannabis root article we did recently [] to bring you more information about other ways in which the cannabis plant can be used to sustain your overall health and wellness. Not only are the seeds a cheap byproduct of the hemp industry, but they may be a vital tool to prevent famine and food shortages in the near future. It is estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide are protein deficient. About 70% of the protein eaten in the world today is from plant sources, but demand is outpacing crop yield and will only be exacerbated by population growth and climate change.  Although hemp seeds are not the silver bullet that will not solve this problem, they might help. And also might improve the health of people along the way.

What is in Hemp seeds?

Hemp seeds are considered a nonlegume nut and have similar properties to other nuts. They are about 30% oil, 25% protein, and contain considerable amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as some carbohydrates. The hemp seed basically consists of a shell coating the meal and oil. The oil contained in the hemp seeds is mostly (80%) polyunsaturated fat, the same ‘healthy’ fat that is also found in salmon. Furthermore, it is an exceptionally rich source of two essential fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6.

Protein in Hemp Seeds

The protein content of hemp seeds is higher than many other plant sources. By weight, the hemp seed is about 25% protein, this is a bit less than Soy (32%), and about the same as rapeseed (23%), all of which are much higher than wheat (14%) or rice (9%). By weight, it is also more than egg whites (13%) or whey powder (13%). However, unlike rapeseed, the protein in hemp seeds is easily digestible (90.8-97.5%) by both humans and animals.

Proteins are made up of several amino acids, and generally the more complex the profile of amino acids, the higher quality the protein. Hemp seeds contain all of the known amino acids and are comparable in quantity and ratio to soybeans or egg whites. Hemp seeds are particularly high in an amino acid called Arginine, which is involved in vasal dilation and can help maintain normal blood pressure. Because of its concertation and a broad profile of amino acids, hemp protein isolate is becoming more popular, especially among bodybuilders.

Polyunsaturated Fat in Hemp Seeds

Polyunsaturated fats make up the membranes of our cells, and their supply in our diet is important for the growth and maintenance of the cells in our body, including the neurons of our brains. They are considered essential and are not the fats indicated in high cholesterol or heart disease. Familiar foods that are high in these types of fats include walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and fish.

Essential Fatty Acids are those which cannot be made by the human body, and must be obtained from our diet. The most abundant fatty acids in hemp seeds are Omegas 6 and 3, an important part of a healthy diet. The interesting thing about Omega fatty acids is that, because of the way they are absorbed in the body, the ratio is important.

It is thought that humans evolved on a ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 that was 1:1. The current Western diet however provides a ratio of about 15 or 16:1, and is associated with many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, or inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Just decreasing to a 4 to 1 ratio yielded a 70% drop in heart attack mortality, and at 2.5:1 had beneficial effects on colon cancers and rheumatoid arthritis. Hemp seeds contain an omega 6 to 3 ratio of 2.5:1, and are thus perfect for a healthy diet. There is even a clinical trial in progress to evaluate the effects of Hemp seed consumption on hypertension, the leading cause of cardiovascular disease.

Vitamins and Minerals in Hemp Seeds

The hemp seed is rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E, and vitamins B1 and B2. The seeds are also rich in minerals, including phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The seeds also contain, low amounts of iron, manganese, zinc, and copper.

Allergies to Hemp protein

Hemp seeds do contain a small number of allergens but are considered safe by the FDA for children 2-5 years of age. These allergens are completely destroyed by the process of extracting the protein, and thus hemp protein isolates is non-allergenic. This may improve its acceptance and use, compared with other proteins such as whey, egg, or peanut. This has led to their inclusion in hypoallergenic foods and supplements.

Advantages of Using Feminized Seeds for Cannabis Cultivation

How to eat them?

Once dehulled, hemp seeds can be eaten in a variety of ways. They are great raw and can be put on basically anything for added nutrition, from salads, to soups, to yogurt and smoothies. They can also be cooked, or mixed with other nuts or beans to create soups and porridge.

According to Li Qi, in ancient China hemp seeds were considered one of the ‘5 grains,’ alongside barely, rice, wheat, and soybeans. It was eaten widely in the country until about the 10th century. The seeds were so important, that they were found buried in the tombs with such rulers as Ma Wang Dui and Shao-kou.

In the Czech Republic, porridge is made from a combination of oats and hemp seeds. Not only is it nutritious, it is also believed in folk medicine to be an antibiotic capable of treating tuberculosis. In the US and Europe, it is gaining in popularity, both as the hulled seed, and as the protein isolate. Anecdotally, a diet high in cannabis seed protein has been associated with improved nail, skin, and hair growth. Hemp seeds can be used in place of other protein sources, mixed with various foods, or eaten on their own. They are a very versatile food source, which takes little water, fertilizer, or pesticides to grow compared with other proteins such as soy or animal sources. Hemp seeds may be instrumental in helping to address global protein shortages, and ensuring food security. This will become more salient as the human population grows and the effects of climate change are realized. Furthermore, they are a healthy and nutritious part of any diet, and may even hold medicinal benefits when consumed regularly.  

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Chad Scott is a freelance science writer who specializes in the field of cannabis. He spent over a decade living in Thailand. He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia while living in Thailand in 2016. Upon diagnosis, Chad immediately began chemotherapy at a rural hospital in the country. He continued to use cannabis oil throughout his chemotherapy treatments for almost 1 year, and never again experienced any nausea or vomiting, and was able to sleep and eat normally. From his personal experiences, he has become an advocate for medical cannabis and believes that all cancer patients should have the right to access this natural medicine if they so choose.

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