- Hemp seeds are a superfood, offering a rich source of protein, healthy fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
- Sourced from Cannabis sativa, hemp seeds contain only trace THC levels and are non-psychoactive.
- Widely available in Australian health food stores and major supermarkets.
- Hemp seeds are versatile in use, suited for various dietary needs and food preparations.
- Offer a range of health benefits, including heart health support, skin benefits, hormonal balance, and essential fatty acid provision.
- Contain all nine essential amino acids, making hemp protein a complete protein.
- Rich in key minerals beneficial for vegans and vegetarians.
- Available in different forms like hemp seed oil, hemp protein powder, and hemp milk.
- Generally safe, but may cause digestive discomfort if consumed in large quantities at once.
Hemp seeds are an often overlooked health super-food.
If you're looking for a good source of protein, healthy fatty acids, vitamins, and trace minerals - hemp seeds literally have it all.
Hemp seeds and marijuana both come from a strain of the hemp plant called Cannabis sativa. Even though both hemp and marijuana derive from the same plant, hemp seeds contain only trace amounts of the psychoactive compound THC.
Products produced from hemp seeds are easily accessible in Australia and can be found on the shelves of all good health food stores in Australia - and are even becoming prevalent in major supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles.
In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about hemp seeds, their health benefits, how to use them and a number of different frequently asked questions!
What Are Hemp Seeds?
Hemp seeds are highly nutritious seeds (also known as hemp hearts) from the Cannabis sativa plant.
Hemp seeds have been used traditionally for centuries to treat many different ailments with recent clinical trials supporting many of these claims, mainly due having such a strong nutritional profile.
If you're worried about whether eating a hemp seed will show up on a drug test, fear not! Hemp seeds are non-psychoactive. Their tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content is too low to have any noticeable effect on either daily life or a drug test.
Made up of over 30% fat, hemp seeds are especially rich in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. They also contain omega-9 and gamma-linolenic (GLA) fatty acids, which come with a number of specific health benefits.
What Are the Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds?
Speaking of! The health benefits of hemp products are potent and wide-ranging!
As an example - a 2018 study discovered that hemp seed extract produces strong antioxidant effects, which are known to be good for heart health and protect against neurodegenerative diseases. The high levels of vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) found in hemp are indicated to help to fight cancer cells, high blood pressure, and heart disease!
Presence of essential fatty acids
Hemp seeds contain high amounts of omega fatty acids. The linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acids) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) essential fatty acids found in cannabis-based food are good for the heart and help boost the immune system.
The gamma-linolenic acid found in hemp hearts is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that may also have anti-inflammatory effects.
Skin health benefits
Hemp seeds might be your skin's new best friend. Their rich profile of fatty acids and omega oils already makes them excellent for alleviating dry skin and reducing itchiness.
Adding to this, hemp seeds are also a good source of Vitamin E, a nutrient vital for skin health. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, protecting skin cells from damage caused by free radicals and UV rays, thus potentially aiding in the prevention of premature aging and maintaining healthy skin.
Supports hormonal balance
Hemp seeds might also play a role in hormonal balance. As mentioned, they contain GLA, which can be particularly beneficial for conditions influenced by hormonal fluctuations.
For example, in the context of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), GLA might help by influencing prostaglandin production, which can alleviate symptoms like breast tenderness, mood swings, and irritability. This is because certain types of prostaglandins can help in reducing inflammation and hormonal fluctuations that contribute to these symptoms.
May reduce the risk of heart disease
Hemp seeds are a heart's ally. The amino acid arginine in hemp seeds produces nitric oxide in your body, which may relax and dilate blood vessels, potentially helping to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Plus, the gamma-linolenic acid found in hemp seeds has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. A little seed can make a big difference in heart health!
Excellent source of protein
Similar health foods, such as chia and flax seeds, contain only 16 to 18% protein.
Nutritionists consider hemp protein to be a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks of protein, vital for muscle development and overall health. The human body needs these essential acids to create muscle and remain healthy - and since our body cannot produce essential amino acids on its own, the only way we can get them all is through the food we eat.
Rich in key minerals
Hemp seeds are also rich in minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, sulphur, calcium, and copper. The high levels of iron and copper make hempseed particularly useful for vegans and vegetarians who can often have difficulty getting enough of these trace minerals in their diet otherwise.
One of the major benefits is the high fibre content, which can help regulate your appetite, boost your gut biome and aid in healthy digestion. Furthermore, hemp contains globular proteins that break down easily in the digestive tract - another win for people who rely on a plant-based diet.
If you're more of a visual learner, the video below gives a great breakdown of some of these key benefits:
What Are Some Great Hemp Seed Products?
There are several great products that are available on the market for tapping into the amazing nutritional benefits of hemp seeds.
Hemp hearts, or organic hulled hemp seeds, come in many different sizes and are a standard product you'll find on most health food store and supermarket shelves today. The versatility of hemp hearts in the kitchen makes them an excellent addition to your pantry for many different reasons.
Some of the most popular hemp seed-based products include:
Hemp seed oil
This comes from pressed hemp seed and is a highly concentrated, anti-bacterial product used in skincare to aid with conditions such as eczema (or dry skin) and acne. Hemp oil may also have efficacy in treating PMS symptoms. When produced for ingestion (not to be confused with cannabidiol (CBD) oil) it may provide pain relief due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Hemp protein powder
This contains high quantities of edestin, an easily digestible protein containing all 10 (!) essential amino acids. Also, hemp protein comes with many advantages when compared to eating animal protein, especially processed meats which may lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
Hemp milk is made from whole hemp seeds that are soaked and ground in water. Not only does it look like milk in colour but also tastes quite similar. Healthier than rice and almond milk, this delicious milk alternative goes well with cereals, oatmeal, or just by itself! If you're avoiding gluten, soy, and lactose, hemp milk may be just the product for you.
How to Eat Hemp Seeds?
Hulled hemp seed is non-germinating and completely digestible without the need to soak, a major difference from other nuts and seeds.
Hemp seeds have an earthy, mild nutty flavour, making them versatile and a delicious pairing with many different foods and meals such as fruits, yoghurt, salads, pasta and rice bowls. You can also use them as a substitute for bread crumbs when coating chicken or fish!
You can also easily add hemp seeds to a smoothie, bircher muesli or a bowl of oatmeal for an extra health kick to your day, they really are so versatile!
What Are the Side Effects of Hemp Seeds?
Eating hemp-derived products is generally safe for most people, but in rare cases, there have been some allergy symptoms recorded.
Allergies may manifest as eczema, breathing difficulties, abdominal pain, and a number of other symptoms. In some very rare cases, people have suffered from a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, a severe and life-threatening immune response.
Less severe side effects of eating hemp seeds come from ingesting too much fibre. Common symptoms include cramping and constipation.
To ease these symptoms, consider adding high-fibre foods to your diet slowly over time.
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional if you believe your health history puts you at risk before trying hemp seeds for the first time.
Where to Buy Hemp Seeds?
If you're one of our Australian buyers - don't buy your hemp seeds from Coles or Woolworths. In my humble opinion, there is a much better option available that supports better business!
For the best quality hemp seeds Australia has to offer, check out Hemp Foods Australia.
Their hemp products are Australian Certified organic, raw, vegan, and gluten-free. All of their products are processed in a HACCP/GMP and BRC-approved facility, so top product quality is guaranteed every time.
Hemp Foods Australia is an established company with family values a big heart. They're an easy choice as our go-to producer of hemp foods and products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Can Hemp Seeds Make You Sleepy?
In a nutshell (pun intended), there is no empirical evidence that hemp seeds cause drowsiness, although some people believe that they may, in fact, improve your sleep due to the high magnesium content.
However, studies on magnesium and sleep have been inconclusive, so the jury's still out on this one.
Q2. Do hemp seeds contain CBD?
Hemp seeds do not naturally contain CBD (cannabidiol). They may, however, have trace amounts of CBD due to contact with other parts of the hemp plant during harvesting and processing.
Q3. Will hemp seeds show up on a drug test?
Eating Australian hemp seeds is unlikely to cause a positive result on a drug test, as they contain minimal THC, the psychoactive substance in cannabis. These seeds were approved as food by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand due to their low psychoactive content and high nutritional value.
However, caution is advised with hemp products from outside Australia, which may not meet these low THC standards and could affect drug testing outcomes
Q4. Is hemp seed healthier than flaxseed?
Comparing hemp seed to flaxseed in terms of health benefits requires considering their different nutrient profiles. Hemp seeds are a good source of protein, essential fatty acids, and various vitamins and minerals.
Flaxseeds are known for their high fiber content, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans, which have antioxidant properties. The choice between them depends on specific dietary needs and health goals.
Packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and a huge range of micro-nutrients - plant-based foods like hemp seeds have a lot to offer in terms of health benefits.
They are also a delicious and versatile add-in for many different meals and snacks, and furthermore, are one of the most sustainable crops on the planet!
I hope this article has helped you understand the many unique benefits of hemp seeds and hemp products!
If you have any comments or concerns, send us an email - we're always happy to help out.