If you have no idea how to eat hemp seeds other than adding them to smoothies, you’re not alone. Most people appreciate the numerous health benefits of hemp, but equally, many lack ideas to incorporate this superfood into their diet in a more exciting and fun way. But not anymore!
In this article, I’m showing you how to incorporate hemp seeds in various recipes for more nutrition and energy.
What are Hemp Seeds?
Technically a nut, hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts, are small brown seeds from the cannabis sativa plant.
It belongs to the same genus and species as the cannabis (marijuana) plant, but even though they share a similar history, hemp doesn’t have the same effects as marijuana.
Hemp is often used for industrial and medicinal purposes, but its nutritional benefits and versatility have made it a great commodity in culinary and nutrition.
For instance, it’s a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids the body needs.
This is especially important for vegans and those on a plant-based diet. If you are vegan, you probably understand not all plant sources of protein offer all the essential amino acids. In most cases, you’ll have to eat various foods to compensate for the same. But here is a seed that provides it all with just a single serving. Isn’t that wonderful?
Besides, the nutty and earthy hemp seed flavor makes them an incredible addition to most recipes, including soups, salads, and baking.
Regular consumption can offer numerous benefits, including boosting immunity, and improving digestive health, among others.
How to eat hemp seeds
If you are wondering how to eat hemp seeds, it all comes down to which type of hemp seeds you have.
Shelled vs whole
Hemp seeds come in a hard hull or shell and can be eaten whole with the shell on. These are especially good for adding texture, such as in baked goods and salads.
You can also separate the seed from the shell, often referred to as hemp hearts. Hemp hearts are the most commonly used as they are soft and easy to incorporate into most recipes.
Some people may also grind the hull separately to obtain a fiber-rich powder that can be added to different dishes.
Hulled or not, hemp seeds are generally eaten raw, cooked, or roasted.
1. Hemp seed milk
Hemp milk or hemp seed milk is obtained from soaked hemp seeds that have been blended and strained to obtain the liquid.
This results in a delicious, nutty dairy milk alternative that, unlike dairy, is low in calories and carbohydrates but rich in healthy fats, vitamins A, D, and B12, calcium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.
2. Sprinkled on salads
You can easily sprinkle some hemp seeds on any salad, but it’s especially great for green salads.
Choose any of your favorite greens like spinach, kale, or arugula as your salad base. You can add some avocado, dry nuts, a dash of turmeric, some hemp seeds, and a light salad dressing.
You can also include other add-ins of your choice, such as black olives, fresh figs, chopped red onion, and sunflower sprouts. This will make your salad denser and filling but low in calories, making it suitable for anyone on a low-calorie diet.
3. Hemp seed hummus
In addition to your traditional chickpea hummus ingredients, throw in some hulled hemp seeds for extra flavor and nutrients. You can also include organic lemon rind and ground coriander leaves. The results are excellent!
You can easily use this as a spread or a veggie dip with carrots, radishes, cucumber slices, celery, snow peas, and more.
4. Hemp seed and basil pesto
Depending on how much pesto you want, combine fresh basil, hemp seeds, cloves of garlic, nutritional yeast (optional), fresh lemon juice, sea salt, and olive oil, then blend together in a food processor.
To use the pesto, spread it on bread, add to soups, use as a veggie dip, top it on roasted veggies, toss with pasta, or stir it into mashed potatoes.
5. Added to soups and stews
You can easily elevate the nutritional profile of just any soup or stew by simply stirring in some hulled hemp seeds. You can also use ground hulls for extra fiber and to improve thickness and consistency.
6. In bread
Hemp seeds make for nutrient-dense keto bread that is low in calories but high in fiber, protein, and other beneficial nutrients.
Besides, it’s gluten-free, making it an excellent alternative for those on gluten-free diets.
Combine all your smoothie ingredients in a blender then add a tablespoon or two of whole or hulled hemp seeds. Blend everything together and enjoy! This can be great for breakfast or as a pre/post-workout snack.
8. Hemp protein powder
Hemp protein powder is a great substitute for dairy-based protein powders like whey protein.
Just like the seed itself, hemp protein powder contains all the amino acids and can make a great addition to anyone looking to build muscles and stay lean.
It’s also rich in antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats, all of which can help you stay healthy.
Hemp protein powder can be added to oatmeal or cereal, bread or pancake batters, granola bars, homemade protein balls, brownies, or cakes.
They can also be blended into protein shakes or smoothies.
9. Hemp seed oil
Like eating hemp seeds or using hemp seed protein powder, the hemp seed oil is another way to incorporate this nutritious food into your diet.
In fact, it’s a popular remedy for treating acne, slowing the progression of heart disease, improving Alzheimer’s, and fighting cancer. This is all due to its high omega-3 content, which fights inflammation, a primary factor in developing these diseases.
You can take hem seed oil straight or add it to foods like salads. You can also use it instead of other oils when cooking, such as olive oil.
Why Should You Eat Hemp Seeds?
1. Hemp seeds can lower the risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death not just in the united states but worldwide. And one contributing factor is a bad diet. Processed foods rich in saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium are common culprits. Unfortunately, these are the primary source of provision in the western world and other parts of the world where cardiovascular conditions are rampant.
However, eating a diet rich in antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals like potassium and magnesium can help lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular functions, all of which can boost your cardiovascular health.
One such food is hemp seed. They are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that has been shown to lower triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in blood; however, high levels may result in arteriosclerosis or the thickening of arterial walls. This may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
Hemp seeds are also rich in arginine, a type of amino acid that increases nitric oxide production within the arterial walls. Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to relax and dilate, leading to reduced blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health.
In addition, arginine has been shown to reduce inflammation, another key factor in the development of heart disease.
2. Hemp seeds are a great source of protein for vegans
Protein is an essential macronutrient that the body needs for various functions, including:
- Promoting muscle development
- Promoting bone metabolism
- Preventing hair damage
- Improving immunity
- Maintaining ideal weight
- Balancing hormones
- Promoting muscle healing and repair
- Regulating blood glucose levels and curbing hunger
- Boosts immunity
While protein is widely associated with animal foods, plant-based sources like hemp seeds are great options too.
Approximately 25 percent of calories in hemp seeds are from protein, that’s a lot! Even better, hemp seeds are a complete protein providing all the essential amino acids your body needs to stay healthy.
They are called essential because the body cannot produce them, so you have to obtain them from food.
Some of the most important amino acids in hemp that are lacking in most plant-based foods include glutamic acid, methionine, cysteine, and arginine.
3. Hemp seeds can boost your digestive health
A healthy digestive system is essential for various reasons. It can boost immunity, improve mental health, and prevent diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and cancer.
Hemp seeds contain numerous nutrients that can ensure this is possible.
For one, they are high in fiber, the portion of carbohydrates that the body can’t digest. Fiber helps bulk the stool, which promotes bowel movements and prevents constipation. It also helps the stool to form, which may improve diarrhea and promote regularity.
Additionally, the fiber in hemp seeds can act as prebiotics, helping feed probiotics (the good gut bacteria). This prevents the harmful gut bacteria from multiplying and increasing your risk of diseases.
In other words, it creates a balance between the two organisms, resulting in a healthy digestive system and overall well-being.
4. Hemp Seeds May Reduce Symptoms of PMS
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a change in emotions, mood, and behavior that develops between ovulation and the beginning of your menstrual period. This may persist for a few more days, and depending on the individual, it may happen consistently each month.
The changes are often associated with increased levels of prolactin hormone in some women, while others could be highly sensitive even with normal prolactin levels.
Research shows that about 80 percent of women experience PMS in their reproductive age.
If you often struggle with PMS, hemp seeds may help.
They are rich in Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which stimulates the production of prostaglandin E1. This helps reduce the effects of prolactin in the body, thus relieving the PMS symptoms.
5. Hemp seeds have a good omega-3 to omega-6 ratio
Omega 3 is essential for various benefits, including improving heart health, boosting brain function, and reducing inflammation, while omega 6 can help stimulate skin and hair growth, regulate metabolism, promote bone health, and maintain a healthy reproductive system.
However, omega 6 can only be as good in small amounts. Too much omega-6 fatty acids have been linked to chronic inflammation, increased risk for blood clots, and stimulation of cell growth, which may often lead to cancer, among other issues.
That being said, eating foods with a good ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can help prevent all these issues.
Hemp seeds contain both of these fats at a healthy omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 1:3. This is contrary to the western diet that often contains an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 1:15, or 1:16.7. This explains the surge in various chronic conditions associated with a standard American diet.
6. Promote weight loss
Hemp seed is very rich in fiber which suppresses appetite and makes you feel full longer. This will prevent unnecessary snacking that can easily increase your calorie intake leading to weight gain.
Hemp is also rich in protein and healthy fats, both of which can increase your satiety levels. This makes you eat less but feel satisfied, again causing you to lose more weight.
Sprinkling as little as three tablespoons of hemp seeds on your breakfast is sufficient to keep you energized until the next meal.
7. Improves skin health
Hemp seed oil has been shown to fight inflammation and improve skin conditions like eczema, atopic dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis. It also improves the growth of new skin cells, helping you eliminate skin blemishes and scars.
It can also act as a moisturizer, soothing the skin and locking in moisture.
Additionally, it’s antiaging, helping prevent fine lines and improve wrinkles by fighting free radicles and UV rays that often cause skin damage leading to signs of premature aging.
8. Treats insomnia
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which people experience difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. The person may also get up too early and not be able to go back to sleep.
It can result from different factors, including stress, poor sleep habits, medication, unhealthy diet, or even a change in time zones.
Hemp seeds are high in magnesium, a mineral that can help regulate neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers in the brain.
For example, magnesium promotes the production of serotonin, also known as a happy hormone. Serotonin helps boost mood and happiness but also acts as a precursor for melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that regulates your sleep cycle, causing you to sleep.
Hemp seeds are an excellent nutritional powerhouse rich in fiber, fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. These can benefit your health in various ways, including boosting cardiovascular health, improving digestion, enhancing weight loss, and promoting skin health.
If you didn’t know how to eat hemp seeds, I hope you now have an idea of how to add this precious food to your diet.
Try using it in baking, sprinkling it on salads, adding it to soups, or making hemp seed hummus. You can also incorporate hempseed oil or use hemp protein powder to get an experience of these benefits.
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