Why You Should Heart Hemp

DSC05044I’m a big fan of plant-based nutrition, especially when it packs such a powerful nutrient punch to blow it’s animal-sourced counterparts out of the water. No matter what your diet preference, vegan, paleo, etc. – everyone can benefit from adding these little gems into their diet.

Hemp seeds contain both essential fatty acids necessary for muscle and joint repair. They also have all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. Two tablespoons (30 g) of hemp hearts contain seven grams of protein — equivalent to the same amount found in a large boiled egg.

What’s more, 65 percent of the total protein content of hemp seed comes from an easily digestible protein called edestin, which is readily absorbed and utilized by the human body. Edestin has the unique ability to encourage the creation of antibodies, which fight against foreign invaders and boost our immune system. It is also hypoallergenic, meaning it has a low allergy potential, making it a great replacement for soy and peanuts (provided it is processed in a factory free of tree nuts.)

Here are five more reasons to fall in love with hemp hearts:

1. Fight inflammation

Hemp seeds contain an especially beneficial type of omega-6 fat called GLA that works in the body as an anti-inflammatory massager. GLA can decrease inflammation, helping people suffering from asthma, arthritis and muscle pain. GLA also supports healthy hair, nail and skin health.

2. Improve heart health

Hemp hearts sure live up to their name! The fatty acids in hemp help lower bad LDL cholesterol and improve cholesterol ratio. They are rich in phytonutrients and anti-aging antioxidants such as vitamin E that protect the cardiovascular system from damage.

3. Reduce muscle cramps

Hemp hearts are a rich source of magnesium, which has been shown to reduce headaches and muscle cramps as the mineral is involved in proper muscle relaxation. Athletes are prone to magnesium loss from sweating, so adding hemp seeds to shakes can prevent post workout cramps. Hemp also provides substantial amounts of zinc, calcium, manganese and iron. These minerals are important for repair of tissues and maintenance of the immune system.

4. Balance hormones

Many women use hemp hearts to help with hormonal imbalances that cause menopausal symptoms including hot flashes and depression. It is also helpful for PMS symptoms due to its GLA and magnesium content. Hemp hearts blended with blueberries makes a great breakfast smoothie.

5. Improve immunity

Hemp hearts are high in alpha linolenic acid, a type of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fat that can improve immune function. The other nutrients in hemp help ensure the fat is used effectively in the body. They also contain powerful immune modulators capable of reducing allergies, a cause of inflammation.

Hemp seeds are nutty and sweet like pine nuts but offer a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax and chia seeds share the omega-3 benefits, but when they get wet, their mucilage fibre gets slippery and sticky. Hemp’s crunchy yet creamy texture makes it the most versatile vegan omega-3 source. Try it in soup instead of dairy to add creaminess. Its high protein content makes it a perfect addition to meal replacement bars, cereal, porridge, salads, pesto, pasta, dressings, sauces, smoothies, desserts and side dishes.