They may be tiny, but hemp seeds pack a mighty nutritional punch. Here’s why they’re so good for you – and how to start enjoying them every day.
Hemp seeds might be one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet. Whether you’re looking to get more natural plant-based protein in your diet, or want to give your gut a boost, you’ll want to give this superfood seed a try.
Here are the top benefits of hemp seeds and how you can naturally enrich your meals with it!
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15 Natural Benefits of Hemp Seeds
1. Hemps Seeds Are Rich in Essential Fatty Acids
One of the most well-known benefits of hemp seeds is their rich essential fatty acid content. Hemp seeds are rich in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for supporting brain health, reducing inflammation, and even supporting heart health. (1, 2)
2. Hemp Seeds Are a Great Source of Fiber
Most Americans don’t get enough fiber. The recommended daily fiber intake for the average adult female is 21 to 25 grams per day and 30 to 38 grams per day for men. (3) Fiber helps to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke. (4) Fortunately, whole hemp seeds are incredibly rich in fiber, providing more than your daily fiber requirement in one serving!
3. Hemp Seeds Are Packed with Healthy Fats
Aside from the fatty acids mentioned above, hemp seeds are also rich in monounsaturated fats. Get enough of these kinds of fats to lower cholesterol and support overall heart health. (5)
4. Hemp Seeds Are a Plant-Based Source of Complete Protein
While animal products are typically considered the highest and best quality sources of protein, hemp seeds make a perfect plant-based option. That’s because they contain all nine essential amino acids, making these little seeds a complete protein source. Just three tablespoons of hemp seeds pack a whopping 10 grams of protein!
5. Hemp Seeds Are Hypoallergenic
If you’re allergic to nuts and seeds, hemp seeds might be an unexpected exception. Hemp seeds are hypoallergenic and well tolerated, but to be extra safe you can start with hemp seed protein. It’s a great choice for anyone who may be sensitive to other Paleo protein powders, and for those who are looking for something that may be a little easier on the stomach. If you’re looking for brand recommendations, Nutiva and Manitoba Harvest are excellent options.
6. Hemp Seeds Pack Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to its rich protein, fiber, and healthy fat content, hemp seeds are great for boosting your overall vitamin and mineral levels. These little seeds pack in a nice dose of B-vitamins to support energy, zinc to boost immune health, and magnesium to nurture your heart and bones. (6) Think of these seeds as one of nature’s greatest multivitamins!
7. Hemp Seeds Calm Inflammation
With inflammation at the root of nearly all disease, eating anti-inflammatory foods like hemp seeds are an excellent way to keep your body in tip-top shape. (7) The essential fatty acids play a huge contributing role in combating inflammation. (8) Plus, hemp seeds are rich in zinc, which lessens the inflammatory load on the body. One recent study found that zinc supplementation reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine, which is a type of protein secreted by your cells. (9, 10)
8. Hemp Seeds Support the Immune System
With their rich vitamin and mineral content, hemp seeds can help keep you healthy all year long. The added punch of zinc fights off the common cold and reduces oxidative stress markers in the body. (11) Amping up your hemp seed intake during flu season is an excellent way to give your immune system a boost.
9. Hemp Seeds Enhance Brain Health
If you’re looking for a brain-boosting food, hemp seeds can help in a few different ways. First, the essential fatty acids in hemp seeds can protect your brain against normal aging while fighting neurodegenerative disorders. (12) The omega-3 content, in particular, is great for infant cognitive development, which is why pregnant women have even more of a reason to eat some! (13)
10. Hemp Seeds Hydrate Your Skin
If you’re looking for youthful skin, you’ll want to get enough healthy fat in your diet. The balance of omega-3s, omega-6s and monounsaturated fats in hemp seeds are particularly great for healing damage caused by sun exposure. (14) For an extra skincare bonus, try eating hemp seed oil as well – it can treat atopic dermatitis to give your skin a healthy glow. (15)
11. Hemp Seeds Soothe Pain
Hemp seeds are rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that can ease diabetic neuropathy and rheumatoid arthritis. Women can also use GLA to ease premenstrual symptoms like irritability, swelling, and bloating. (16) If you’re prone to uncomfortable PMS symptoms, it may be worth reaching for a spoonful during that time of the month.
12. Hemp Seeds Boost Digestion
If you want to support your digestion, hemp seeds should be your new go-to for a number of reasons. For one, their rich fiber content can help promote bowel regularity and reduce your risk of acid reflux, certain ulcers, constipation, and even hemorrhoids. (17)
13. Hemp Seeds Support Weight Loss
Fiber wins again when it comes to supporting a stable weight. Dietary fiber can help lower body weight, which supports overall health. (18) Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea, and even infertility. (19) For maximum fiber intake, choose whole hemp seeds over hemp hearts.
14. Hemp Seeds Protect Your Heart
Hemp seeds offer up plenty of arginine, an important amino acid that supports healthy blood pressure levels. (20, 21) The high content of healthy fat, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals all contribute to a healthy heart as well.
15. Hemp Seeds Ease Menopause
If you’re struggling through menopause, you’re probably aware of the increase in anxiety and irritability. One menopause-focused animal study found that rats given hemp seeds for three weeks experienced a drop in anxiety. (22)
5 Ways to Enjoy Hemp Seeds
Sprinkled Over Avocado: For a mineral-rich snack, sprinkle hemp seeds over half an avocado with a drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt.
Blended in a Smoothie: Add a couple of tablespoons to a smoothie or protein shake and blend it up!
Added to Baked Goods: Try making a Paleo almond flour bread with a tablespoon or two of hemp seeds baked inside. You can also sprinkle hemp hearts or seeds over sliced bread with a slather of almond butter or drizzle of raw honey.
Enjoyed with Coconut Yogurt: Try making a coconut yogurt parfait with full-fat unsweetened coconut milk yogurt, hemp seeds, berries, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup or raw honey for a touch of sweetness.
Tossed in Salads: Add a handful of hemp seeds to your favorite salad for some added crunch and nutritional value. Tip: They taste great in arugula salads with some unsweetened dried cranberries and pecan halves.
The Bottom Line
Hemp seeds can make a wonderful addition to your diet. Enjoy hemp seeds daily to add a dose of protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids to your meals while supporting heart, skin, immune, and digestive health!