Hemp: the glorious plant that people have been growing and using for centuries. Even before hemp was grown commercially, it was used for millennia as both a textile good (due to its fibrous qualities), but also as a valuable food commodity.
Wait… You can eat hemp seeds?
Yep, it turns out that hemp seeds are some of the most valuable nutritional supplements around, containing a host of vitamins and essential minerals for your diet. They are used most commonly as animal feed, but there’s a whole world of nutrition for us humans not being accessed thanks to its association with cannabis.
Here’s a list of some of the vital benefits of hemp seed, and how they can help add an extra bit of health and vitality to your daily routine.
1. Hemp Seed Nutritional Value
First of all, hemp seeds are fantastic as a nutritional supplement. While being low calorie, they are actually extremely nutritious.
Upwards of 25% of their total calories are from protein, which beats out other so called high sources of nutrients like chia or flax seeds. Alongside this, hemp seeds are listed among the rare group of foods that are a complete protein. This means that they offer every single one of the amino acids necessary for the human body to live – we need certain amino acids that our bodies cannot produce, so we have to turn to a few types of food that are able to provide them. Hemp seeds are one of these.
It doesn’t just stop at protein however; they also contain a host of vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy living. Alongside the variety of standard minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium – all of which are fundamental to ensuring you stay alive – hemp seeds are extremely rich in B vitamins.
This chain of vitamins – vitamins B1 through B6 – essentially power your entire body. Encouraging immune functionality, nervous system, and brain development, and even liver and red blood cell health, these B vitamins and incredibly important, as well as being incredibly difficult to find in other food sources.
Some people find themselves taking a variety of vitamin supplements to counteract their poor diets – instead of taking a variety of pharmaceuticals or pills every day, consider taking hemp seeds as a helpful dietary supplement.
2. Hemp Seeds and Weight Loss
People have been struggling with their weight ever since it became fashionable in the 19th century to be thin instead of gently chubby. There are a variety of methods to achieve your ideal weight – alongside healthy eating and exercise – including buying supplements at pharmacies or through surgeries, to help make the weight loss process easier.
From eating nothing but kale and spinach to taking appetite suppressants, people are willing to do anything to make losing weight easier.
Strangely enough, hemp seeds for weight loss are a great alternative to medicines. Hemp seeds act as an incredibly effective appetite suppressant, helping you avoid those fleeting feelings of continuous hunger, even though you’re not really hungry.
This might defy your expectation of anything cannabis-related – after all, you’re supposed to get the munchies, right?
The reason hemp seeds work to suppress that irritating appetite that makes you fat is because of its fatty acid content. Hemp seeds are exceptionally rich in Gamma Linolenic acid, which helps balance the ratio between the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
These healthy fats, as well as the healthy balance between fatty acids, cause your body to release natural appetite suppressants, the same chemicals your body releases to tell you to stop eating when you’re full.
Alongside this, hemp seeds are rich in dietary fiber, an important part of ensuring you get that satisfying, “full” feeling, encouraging you to stop eating earlier. This aids weight loss by ensuring you don’t overeat when you don’t need to.
All this means that hemp seeds act to help you lose weight by encouraging the natural process of your body. Your body will tell you to stop eating when you’re actually full, rather than you eating well past that point.
This dietary fiber has other benefits as well…
3. Hemp Seeds for Digestion: Helping You Be… “Regular”
In today’s world of processed food and takeouts, it is easier than ever to fall into unhealthy habits. This can lead to some… unfortunate consequences.
If you’ve ever experienced intense gastric distress or an inability to maintain bowel movement regularity, you’ll understand.
To counteract this, the dietary fiber within hemp seeds is incredibly helpful. In a study conducted by Cheng et al. for the American College of Gastroenterology, researchers tested the effectiveness of hemp seeds to counteract constipation. The results of the study demonstrated that hemp seeds worked to help relieve constipation when taken both as a short term solution and as part of your regular diet.
Even better, they don’t have the unfortunate consequence of making you “too” regular. They thankfully don’t give you diarrhea; they just make it easier to have regular, healthy bowel movements.
It might be distasteful, but as anyone who has ever had trouble going to the bathroom regularly will tell you, getting enough dietary fiber is no joke.
One thing to note is that almost the entirety of the dietary fiber of the hemp seed is located in its outer layer. You can purchase hemp seeds that have been completely deshelled, known as hemp hearts; if you do this, you’re not going to get this incredibly helpful dietary fiber.
All in all, it’s far better to enjoy the slightly tougher outer shell and get the fiber in the hemp seed than it is to buy that pack of de-shelled hearts in the supermarket.
4. Hemp Seeds & Heart Health
Heart disease is an absolute terror on mankind – around 17.3 million people die each year according to the charity organization Heart UK. That obscenely huge figure means that 30% of all people that die each year die as a result of heart disease.
It is difficult to pin down the precise cause of each death due to the nature of heart disease, but generally speaking, the healthier your heart is, the lower your chances are of expiring due to a failing heart.
As expected, hemp seeds can you help you survive longer, as they help reduce the risk of heart disease in a variety of ways.
Firstly, they work to reduce oxidation in the body, the process by which a variety of cells die unnecessarily and can contribute to Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and even dementia. Most importantly, however, oxidation can lead to increased blood pressure and thus increased risk of death due to heart failure. A study conducted by Jadoon et al. for the Journal of American Society for Clinical Investigation discovered that the reduction of oxidation in the human body leads to a lowered blood pressure and increased heart health.
Secondly, hemp seeds have a high content of the amino acid arginine. This amino acid produces nitric oxide, a substance that helps vascular elasticity and general strength, leading once again to lower blood pressure and a healthier heart.
Additionally, the previously mentioned Gamma Linolenic Acid helps to reduce inflammation, something that can cause heart degradation and eventual cardiac arrest due to the increased stress put on the ever important muscle.
5. Hemp Seeds & Your Skin
In the exact same way that the balance of your omega fatty acids help contribute to a healthy heart and encourage you not to eat too much, hemp seeds can also help improve the quality of your skin.
Certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, can in part be caused due to an imbalance of nutrients and fatty acids within your diet. When you don’t get enough of these fatty acids, your skin can flare up in inflamed, itchy red patches.
As evidenced in a study by Callaway et al. for the Journal of Dermatology Treatment, hemp oil has been demonstrated to help treat atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions thanks to its fatty acid content. The researchers noted that these effects work even if you only take them as an emergency supplement after a bad skin flare-up.
However, it’s always better to take them as a long term diet supplement. That way, you get the effects constantly and continuously!
Final Thoughts on Hemp Seed Benefits
Cannabis and its associated plants and precuts suffer a lot of stigmas based on their association with marijuana. It’s easily assumed that anything related to cannabis or hemp is dangerous or will get you high.
As a matter of fact, hemp seeds are incredibly beneficial to the human body, and are even being slowly recognized as something useful. For example, while cannabis isn’t legal in the United Kingdom, it is legal to purchase hemp seeds as a dietary supplement due to their benefits.
Whether you’re looking to expand your vitamin intake, lose weight more naturally or even encourage a healthy heart and skin, hemp seeds have benefits that can significantly help you.
As with any dietary supplement, every individual reacts differently – it’s possible you might not even notice the effects happening – but it seems very likely that hemp seeds could improve your quality of life and make you a healthier person overall.