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?
- What Are The Health Benefits Of Hemp Seeds?
- What Are Some Hemp Seed Products?
- How to Eat Hemp Seeds?
- What Are the Side Effects of Hemp Seeds?
- Can Hemp Seeds Make You Sleepy?
- Where to Buy Hemp Seeds?
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. The humble hemp seed also contains omega-9 and gamma-linolenic (GLA) fatty acids, which come with a number of specific health benefits.
What Are the 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) 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.
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. The human body needs these essential acids to create muscle and remain healthy - and 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 of hemp seed 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.
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 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 - 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 - 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 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 hemp seeds as a substitute for bread crumbs when coating chicken or fish!
You can also easily add a spoonful to a smoothie 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.
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 hemp seeds may 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.
Where to Buy Hemp Seeds?
For the best quality hemp seeds Australia has to offer, check out Hemp Foods Australia.
Their hemp seed 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.
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.