Do you know much about hemp seeds? You’ve probably heard of the environmental benefits of hemp when used for clothing and textiles, and maybe even the concrete replacement hempcrete, but did you also know that hemp seeds are a nutritional powerhouse?
Long misunderstood, thanks to misguided anti-marijuana campaigns, low THC hemp plants are legally grown and harvested in Australia. As of 2017, hemp products can also be sold for human consumption in the country, which is great news for all of us, especially those on a plant-based diet. The Manly Food Co-op stocks hemp ‘hearts’, the hulled seed from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa.
So, what makes hemp seeds so nutritious?*
Great source of protein
Hemp seeds are a complete protein – meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids – and contain almost as much protein as soybeans. Some research has also shown our bodies readily absorb the protein from hemp.
Hemp hearts are good for our hearts. They contain both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which support healthy cholesterol levels and may help regulate your metabolism. Also a good source of magnesium and Linoleic acid, both linked to improved heart health.
These tiny seeds pack a punch – loaded with good fats, protein, and relatively low carbohydrates, half of which come from fibre, the low glycemic index of the seeds means your energy levels won’t crash soon after eating them.
Vitamins and minerals
Magnesium, iron and zinc are all found in hemp seeds. Nearly half your daily magnesium needs (helping your heart and helping you sleep!), 20% of zinc, and 13% of iron in one serving (about 3 tablespoons).
This wonderfood offers a delicious yet subtle nutty flavour that perfectly mixes into muesli, smoothies and breads. You can roll them into protein bliss balls, lightly toast and sprinkle them onto salads, or make a hemped-up pesto. We especially like to top our bircher muesli and porridge with these little hearts, alongside pepitas, buckinis, chia seeds and some fruit.
How do you eat your hemp hearts? Upload a photo on Instagram and tag us so we can share with the rest of our members.
*We’re not doctors, but we get our information from evidenced-based articles when possible. Check out more details and links to studies at the below references. And always check with your health professional if you have any concerns about your health or nutritional needs.
With special thanks to Lisa Heinze for this article 🙂