benefits of hemp seeds

Hemp seeds, derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, are a nutritional powerhouse that can offer numerous health benefits. Despite their association with cannabis, hemp seeds contain only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound, making them safe and non-psychoactive. Let’s explore the incredible benefits of incorporating hemp seeds into your diet.

What Are Hemp Seeds?

Hemp seeds are the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant, specifically a variety known as industrial hemp. Unlike its relative, marijuana, industrial hemp contains very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis. This makes hemp seeds non-psychoactive and safe for consumption.

Historical Context

Portrait of senior agronomist looking at hemp or cannabis plants in the field and cannabis sativa plant in the background.
Portrait of senior agronomist looking at hemp or cannabis plants in the field and cannabis sativa plants in the background.

Historically, hemp has been cultivated for thousands of years for its fiber, used to make cloth and rope, and its seeds, primarily for animal feed and medicinal purposes. However, hemp cultivation declined with the rise of synthetic textiles and the criminalization of cannabis-related plants.

  • 1937: The Marijuana Tax Act made hemp production illegal in the United States.
  • 1970s: Hemp was classified as a Schedule 1 federally controlled substance.
  • 2018: The Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp again, recognizing its versatility and nutritional value.

Nutritional Value of Hemp Seeds

Making candy using marijuana leaves as a component.
Making candy using marijuana leaves as a component.

Hemp seeds are highly nutritious, offering a range of essential nutrients that contribute to overall health.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the nutritional content of hemp seeds:

Macronutrients (Per 3 Tablespoons)

  • Calories: 166
  • Protein: 10 grams
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram

Micronutrients

  • B Vitamins: Essential for energy production and brain function.
  • Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.
  • Iron: Crucial for the formation of red blood cells and oxygen transport.
  • Magnesium: Important for muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control, and bone health.
  • Phosphorous: Vital for the formation of bones and teeth, and involved in the body’s energy production.
  • Potassium: Helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals.
  • Zinc: Supports immune function, protein synthesis, and DNA synthesis.

Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

1. Heart Health

The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seeds help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides, lowering the risk of heart disease.
The amino acid arginine in hemp seeds produces nitric oxide, which helps relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.

2. Digestive Health

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which aids in digestion and helps prevent constipation, ulcers, and hemorrhoids.

3. Skin Health

The combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can help reduce symptoms of eczema and improve overall skin health by balancing blood lipids and reducing dryness and itchiness.

4. PMS Relief

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in hemp seeds can help alleviate symptoms of PMS, such as breast tenderness, irritability, and bloating, by reducing the effects of the hormone prolactin.

5. Protein Source

Hemp seeds are a great source of plant-based protein, making them ideal for vegetarians and vegans. They provide all essential amino acids and are easily absorbed by the body.

Hemp Seeds Benefits for Males

Hemp seeds, derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, are a nutritional powerhouse that offers numerous health benefits, particularly for men. These seeds are rich in protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent addition to a balanced diet. Here are some specific benefits of hemp seeds for males:

1. Muscle Mass and Recovery

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of high-quality protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, which makes them a complete protein source. This is particularly beneficial for men who engage in regular physical activity and must build and repair muscle tissue. The protein in hemp seeds aids in muscle growth and recovery, helping repair muscle fibers broken down during exercise.

2. Heart Health

Hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, essential for maintaining cardiovascular health. These fatty acids help reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease. The amino acid arginine in hemp seeds also contributes to heart health by producing nitric oxide, which helps relax and dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure.

3. Weight Management

The combination of protein and fiber in hemp seeds can help with weight management. Protein takes longer to digest, which helps you feel full longer and reduces the likelihood of overeating. The fiber content in hemp seeds also aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight by promoting a feeling of fullness.

4. Digestive Health

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are crucial for digestive health. Soluble fiber acts as a prebiotic, feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. This can be particularly beneficial for men who may suffer from digestive issues.

5. Antioxidant Properties

Hemp seeds contain antioxidants such as polyphenols, which help protect against diseases like atherosclerosis by preventing free radicals from damaging blood vessel linings and leading to plaque buildup. This antioxidant property helps lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, which are a significant concern for men.

6. Nutritional Value

Hemp seeds are packed with essential nutrients, including iron, zinc, B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients are vital for overall health and well-being. For instance, magnesium is crucial for muscle function and energy production, while zinc supports immune function and testosterone production, which are particularly important for men.

7. Improved Brain Function

The omega-3 fatty acids in hemp seeds are beneficial for brain health. They help reduce inflammation and support cognitive function, which can be particularly important for men as they age. Some studies suggest that the cannabidiol (CBD) content in hemp seeds may have neuroprotective effects, potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

8. Skin and Hair Health

The essential fatty acids in hemp seeds also contribute to healthy skin and hair. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help maintain the skin’s lipid balance, promoting healthy, hydrated skin and reducing dryness and irritation. These nutrients also strengthen hair strands, potentially preventing hair loss and improving hair thickness. In conclusion, hemp seeds offer a wide range of health benefits for men, from supporting muscle growth and recovery to promoting heart health and aiding in weight management. Their rich nutritional profile makes them a valuable addition to any diet, providing essential nutrients that support overall health and well-being.

Hemp Seeds Benefits for Females

1. PMS and Menopause Relief

The GLA in hemp seeds may help alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause by reducing the effects of the hormone prolactin. This can lead to a reduction in symptoms such as breast tenderness, irritability, bloating, and depression.

2. Bone Health

Hemp seeds are a good source of calcium and magnesium, which are essential for maintaining strong bones. This is particularly important for women, who are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis as they age.

3. Hormonal Balance

Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids that help maintain hormonal balance. These fatty acids support the production of hormones and can help manage conditions related to hormonal imbalances, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders. By promoting a balanced hormonal environment, hemp seeds can help alleviate symptoms associated with these conditions.

4. Skin and Hair Health

The essential fatty acids in hemp seeds also contribute to healthy skin and hair. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help maintain the skin’s lipid balance, promoting healthy, hydrated skin and reducing dryness and irritation. These nutrients also strengthen hair strands, potentially preventing hair loss and improving hair thickness. Hemp seed oil, in particular, can be applied topically to manage skin conditions like eczema and acne.

5. Stress and Anxiety Relief

Hemp seeds are rich in magnesium, amino acids, and vitamins that act as natural stress relievers. They also contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. The high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) in hemp seeds have been proven to be useful in treating migraines, depression, and anxiety, providing a natural way to manage mental health.

6. Weight Management

The combination of protein and fiber in hemp seeds can help with weight management. Protein takes longer to digest, which helps you feel full longer and reduces the likelihood of overeating. The fiber content in hemp seeds also aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight by promoting a feeling of fullness.

7. Improved Gut Health

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are crucial for digestive health. Soluble fiber acts as a prebiotic, feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. This can be particularly beneficial for women who may suffer from digestive issues.In conclusion, hemp seeds offer a wide range of health benefits for women, from alleviating PMS and menopause symptoms to supporting bone health and hormonal balance. Their rich nutritional profile makes them a valuable addition to any diet, providing essential nutrients that support overall health and well-being.

Hemp Seeds Side Effects

While hemp seeds offer numerous health benefits, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects:

  1. High Caloric and Fat Content: Hemp seeds are calorie-dense and high in fat. Consuming them in large quantities may lead to excessive calorie and fat intake.
  2. Medication Interference:
    • Anticoagulants: Hemp seeds can reduce blood clotting, which may interact with blood thinners.
    • Cardiac Glycosides: Hemp seeds may affect heart rate, potentially interacting with heart medications like digoxin, leading to a slower heart rate.
    • Diuretics: Hemp seeds may enhance the effects of diuretics, potentially causing low potassium levels.
  3. Pregnancy Concerns: There is not enough research to confirm the safety of hemp seeds for pregnant or breastfeeding women, so they are generally not recommended.
  4. Cannabis Dependence: Trace amounts of THC in hemp seed shells could be problematic for those with a history of cannabis dependence.
  5. Digestive Issues: The high fiber content in hemp seeds can cause bloating, nausea, or constipation if consumed in large amounts. Drinking plenty of water can help alleviate these symptoms.

How to Use Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a versatile and nutritious addition to any diet. Here are some common ways to incorporate hemp seeds into your meals:

1. Smoothies and Shakes

  • Add to Smoothies: Sprinkle a tablespoon of hemp seeds into your smoothie for added protein and healthy fats.
  • Blend into Protein Shakes: Enhance your post-workout shake by blending in hemp seeds.

2. Baking

  • Incorporate into Baked Goods: Add hemp seeds to bread, muffins, cookies, and granola bars.
  • Top Baked Items: Sprinkle hemp seeds on top of your bread or muffins before baking for a crunchy texture.

3. Salads and Dressings

  • Sprinkle on Salads: Add a tablespoon of hemp seeds to your salads for a nutty flavor and extra nutrients.
  • Mix into Dressings: Blend hemp seeds into your homemade salad dressings for a creamy consistency.

4. Yogurt and Oatmeal

  • Top Yogurt: Add hemp seeds to yogurt along with fruits and nuts.
  • Mix into Oatmeal: Stir hemp seeds into your oatmeal or overnight oats.

5. Soups and Stews

  • Garnish Soups: Use hemp seeds as a garnish for soups and stews for added texture and nutrition.

6. Energy Balls and Snacks

  • Make Energy Balls: Combine hemp seeds with dates, nuts, and cocoa to create nutritious energy balls.
  • Healthy Snacks: Mix hemp seeds with dried fruits and nuts for a healthy snack mix.

7. Cereals and Porridges

  • Add to Cereals: Sprinkle hemp seeds on your breakfast cereal or porridge.
  • Mix into Porridge: Stir hemp seeds into porridge for a boost of protein.

8. Cooking and Stir-fries

  • Use in Stir-fries: Add hemp seeds to stir-fried vegetables and grains.
  • Mix into Rice or Quinoa: Stir hemp seeds into cooked rice or quinoa dishes.

9. Hemp Seed Milk

  • Make Hemp Milk: Blend hemp seeds with water and strain to make homemade hemp milk.

10. Pasta and Grain Bowls

  • Top Pasta: Sprinkle hemp seeds on pasta dishes.
  • Enhance Grain Bowls: Add hemp seeds to grain bowls with vegetables and proteins.

Tips for Using Hemp Seeds

  • Store Properly: Keep hemp seeds in a cool, dark place, or refrigerate them to maintain freshness.
  • Use Raw or Toasted: Enjoy hemp seeds raw for maximum nutrient retention, or lightly toast them for a different flavor profile.

Incorporating hemp seeds into your diet can enhance your meals with additional nutrients and flavors.

How to Incorporate Hemp Seeds into Your Diet

Hemp seeds are versatile and can be added to various dishes:

  • Smoothies: Blend them into your morning smoothie for an extra protein boost.
  • Salads: Sprinkle hemp seeds on top of your salads for added crunch and nutrition.
  • Baking: Use hemp seeds in baking recipes, such as bread, muffins, and cookies.
  • Yogurt and Cereal: Add them to your yogurt or cereal for a nutritious start to your day.
  • Hemp Milk: Make hemp milk as a dairy-free alternative.

Dosage and Considerations

While hemp seeds are highly nutritious, they are also calorie-dense. A typical serving size is about 3 tablespoons, which contains approximately 166 calories. It’s important to consume them in moderation to avoid excessive calorie intake.

Conclusion

Hemp seeds are a nutrient-rich food that can provide numerous health benefits, from improving heart and digestive health to enhancing skin condition and providing a complete source of protein. By incorporating hemp seeds into your diet, you can enjoy these benefits while adding a delicious and versatile ingredient to your meals.

Remember, while hemp seeds are safe and beneficial, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Hemp Seed – FAQs

1. What does hemp seed do for humans?

Hemp seeds are highly nutritious and offer a range of health benefits. They are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Improved Heart Health: Hemp seeds contain high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.
  • Digestive Health: The fiber content in hemp seeds helps in promoting healthy digestion.
  • Muscle Development: The high protein content aids in muscle development and repair.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Hemp seeds have anti-inflammatory properties due to their fatty acid content.

2. What is the Indian name for hemp seeds?

In India, hemp seeds are commonly known as “Bhang ke Beej” (भांग के बीज).

3. Is hemp legal in India?

Hemp cultivation is regulated in India. Industrial hemp, which contains low levels of THC (the psychoactive component), is legal in some states under strict regulations. The use of hemp seeds and hemp seed oil for nutritional purposes is generally permitted.

4. Who should not take hemp seeds?

  • Individuals with Digestive Issues: Hemp seeds can cause mild digestive issues in some people due to their high fiber content.
  • Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: It is advisable to consult a doctor before consuming hemp seeds during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • People with Allergies: Individuals with known allergies to hemp or related plants should avoid hemp seeds.

5. Is it safe to eat hemp seeds daily?

Yes, it is generally safe to consume hemp seeds daily in moderate amounts. They are highly nutritious and can be a beneficial part of a balanced diet.

6. Are hemp seeds good for sperm?

Hemp seeds are rich in essential fatty acids and other nutrients that are important for overall reproductive health. However, there is limited direct evidence to suggest that hemp seeds specifically improve sperm quality or count.

7. What are the disadvantages of eating hemp seeds?

  • Digestive Issues: Some people may experience digestive problems such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea due to high fiber content.
  • Potential for Drug Interactions: Hemp seeds can interact with certain medications, so it is important to consult with a healthcare provider if you are on medication.
  • Allergic Reactions: Although rare, some individuals may have allergic reactions to hemp seeds.

8. What is hemp used for?

Hemp has a wide range of uses, including:

  • Nutritional Products: Hemp seeds, hemp oil, and hemp protein powder.
  • Textiles and Fabrics: Hemp fibers are used to make clothing, ropes, and other textiles.
  • Construction Materials: Hempcrete, a sustainable building material.
  • Personal Care Products: Hemp oil is used in lotions, soaps, and other skincare products.
  • Biofuel and Bioplastics: Hemp can be used as a renewable source for biofuels and biodegradable plastics.

9. Do hemp seeds increase testosterone?

There is no substantial evidence to suggest that hemp seeds directly increase testosterone levels. They do, however, provide essential nutrients that support overall health, which can indirectly support hormonal balance.