Hemp hearts

Hemp hearts, also known as hemp seeds, are a nutritional powerhouse gaining rapid recognition for their diverse health benefits. These small, nutty-flavored seeds are packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals essential for overall health.

With their rich content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, hemp hearts support heart health, provide a complete source of protein, and offer anti-inflammatory properties.

Additionally, they are beneficial for digestive health, blood sugar balance, and brain function. This article delves into the health benefits, nutritional facts, recipes, uses, and potential side effects of hemp hearts, highlighting why they are considered a superfood

What Are Hemp Hearts?

Hemp Hearts are the shelled seeds of the hemp plant, and they have a delightfully nutty flavor. They don’t contain CBD or THC, so please don’t confuse them with those types of hemp products! Hemp seeds are the hulled version of hemp seeds, and despite being slightly lower in fiber, they are more useful because they’re not so hard or crunchy as the seeds. They’re relatively high in fat and recommended to be eaten in moderation, but they also have twice the protein of chia seeds or flaxseeds, are loaded with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source.

Hemp Hearts Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts (per 3 tablespoons or 30 grams)

  • Calories: 166
  • Protein: 9.5-10 grams
  • Fat: 14.5-15 grams
    • Saturated Fat: 1.4 grams
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 11.4 grams
    • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2.6-3 grams
    • Fiber: 1-1.2 grams
    • Sugars: 0.5-1 gram
  • Sodium: 1.5 mg

Key Nutrients

  • Essential Fatty Acids: Hemp hearts are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, with an optimal ratio of about 3:1, which is beneficial for heart health and reducing inflammation.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: They are a good source of vitamin E and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc.

How to Use Hemp Hearts

Hemp hearts are incredibly versatile and can be incorporated into various meals and snacks. Here are some ways to use them:

1. Smoothies:

  • How to Use: Add a tablespoon or two of hemp hearts to your morning smoothie for an extra boost of protein and healthy fats.
  • Tip: They blend well with fruits, vegetables, and other superfoods.

2. Salads:

  • How to Use: Sprinkle hemp hearts over your salads as a nutritious topping.
  • Tip: They add a pleasant nutty flavor and a slight crunch to your greens.

3. Yogurt and Oatmeal:

  • How to Use: Mix hemp hearts into your yogurt or oatmeal for added texture and nutrients.
  • Tip: Combine with fruits, nuts, and a drizzle of honey for a delicious breakfast or snack.

4. Baked Goods:

  • How to Use: Incorporate hemp hearts into your baking recipes, such as muffins, cookies, or bread.
  • Tip: They can add extra fiber and a nutty flavor to your baked goods.

5. Energy Balls and Bars:

  • How to Use: Use hemp hearts as an ingredient in homemade energy balls or bars.
  • Tip: Mix with dates, nuts, and a bit of cocoa powder or other flavorings for a healthy, on-the-go snack.

6. Soups and Stews:

  • How to Use: Stir hemp hearts into soups and stews for added nutrition.
  • Tip: They can thicken the soup slightly and add a creamy texture.

7. Protein Boost:

  • How to Use: Add hemp hearts to your protein shakes or mix them into your favorite pancake or waffle batter.
  • Tip: They’re a great plant-based protein source, making them ideal for vegetarians and vegans.

8. Meatloaf, Meatballs, and Patties:

  • How to Use: Use hemp hearts as a binder in meatloaf, meatballs, or patties.
  • Tip: They help hold the ingredients together while adding extra nutrients.

9. Toppings:

  • How to Use: Sprinkle hemp hearts over avocado toast, pasta dishes, or casseroles.
  • Tip: They enhance the nutritional profile of your meals with minimal effort.

10. Direct Consumption:

  • How to Use: Enjoy a spoonful of hemp hearts directly as a quick and nutritious snack.
  • Tip: Keep a small container of hemp hearts at your desk or in your bag for an easy, healthy nibble.

Storage Tips:

  • Keep Fresh: Store hemp hearts in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain their freshness and nutritional quality.

By integrating hemp hearts into your diet, you can enjoy their health benefits while adding variety and texture to your meals.

Hemp Hearts Recipes for Weight Loss

1. Hemp Heart Smoothie Bow

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or any plant-based milk)
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • Fresh fruits, granola, and nuts for topping

Instructions:

  1. Blend Ingredients: In a blender, combine the banana, frozen mixed berries, almond milk, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and honey or maple syrup.
  2. Blend Until Smooth: Blend until the mixture is smooth and thick, resembling a soft-serve consistency.
  3. Pour and Top: Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with your favorite fresh fruits, granola, and nuts.
  4. Serve Immediately: Enjoy this vibrant and nutritious smoothie bowl immediately for a refreshing breakfast or snack.

2. Hemp Heart Energy Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips or dried fruits
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine rolled oats, almond butter, honey or maple syrup, hemp hearts, chocolate chips or dried fruits, and vanilla extract.
  2. Form Balls: Mix until well combined, then roll the mixture into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter.
  3. Chill: Place the energy balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Store: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. These energy balls are perfect for a quick snack or post-workout boost.

3. Hemp Heart Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Blend Ingredients: In a blender, combine hemp hearts, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  2. Blend Until Smooth: Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Drizzle and Toss: Drizzle over your favorite salad and toss to coat.
  4. Store Leftovers: Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to one week. This dressing adds a nutty flavor and creamy texture to your salads.

4. Hemp Heart Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh fruits and nuts for topping

Instructions:

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a jar or container, combine rolled oats, almond milk, hemp hearts, chia seeds, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
  2. Stir and Refrigerate: Stir well to combine, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Top and Serve: In the morning, stir the oats and top with fresh fruits and nuts before serving. This make-ahead breakfast is perfect for busy mornings.

5. Hemp Heart Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a food processor, combine basil leaves, hemp hearts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  2. Blend Until Smooth: Pulse until the mixture is well blended and smooth.
  3. Serve or Store: Use the pesto immediately on pasta, sandwiches, or as a dip. Store any leftover pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Are hemp hearts a good source of protein?

Yes, hemp hearts are an excellent source of protein. Here are some key points highlighting their protein content and benefits:

Protein Content

  • High Protein Density: A serving of three tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp hearts provides approximately 9.5-10 grams of protein.
  • Complete Protein: Hemp hearts contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source, which is particularly beneficial for those following vegan or vegetarian diets.

Side Effects of Hemp Hearts

Hemp hearts, also known as shelled hemp seeds, are generally safe and nutritious for most people, but they can have some potential side effects and considerations:

1. Digestive Issues:

  • Possible Effects: Consuming large quantities of hemp hearts may lead to digestive discomfort, such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
  • Reason: Hemp hearts are high in fiber, which can sometimes cause digestive issues if your body is not accustomed to it.

2. Allergic Reactions:

  • Possible Effects: Although rare, some individuals might be allergic to hemp hearts, which can result in symptoms such as itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
  • Reason: Like any food, hemp hearts can trigger an allergic response in sensitive individuals.

3. Interaction with Medications:

  • Possible Effects: Hemp hearts could interact with certain medications, especially anticoagulants (blood thinners).
  • Reason: Hemp hearts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have a natural blood-thinning effect.

4. High Caloric Content:

  • Possible Effects: Consuming hemp hearts in large amounts may lead to increased caloric intake.
  • Reason: Hemp hearts are calorie-dense due to their healthy fat content, which can contribute to weight gain if not balanced with overall caloric intake.

5. THC Content Concerns:

  • Possible Effects: There may be concerns about the trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in hemp hearts.
  • Reason: While hemp hearts contain only minute amounts of THC, it is not enough to cause psychoactive effects or show up on drug tests. However, those concerned about THC should opt for products tested for THC content.

6. Nutrient Imbalance:

  • Possible Effects: Relying too heavily on hemp hearts for nutrition can lead to an imbalance of nutrients.
  • Reason: Although hemp hearts are nutrient-dense, they should be part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods to ensure comprehensive nutrient intake.

7. Hormonal Effects:

  1. Possible Effects: Concerns exist that the phytoestrogens in hemp hearts might affect hormone levels.
  2. Reason: Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that mimic estrogen in the body, but the levels in hemp hearts are generally too low to cause significant effects.

Tips for Minimizing Side Effects:

  • Moderation: Consume hemp hearts in moderation to avoid digestive discomfort and excessive caloric intake.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water when increasing fiber intake to help your digestive system adjust.
  • Balanced Diet: Incorporate hemp hearts as part of a varied diet to ensure balanced nutrition.
  • Medical Advice: If you are taking medications or have any health concerns, consult your healthcare provider before adding hemp hearts to your diet.

By being aware of these potential side effects and taking steps to mitigate them, you can enjoy the health benefits of hemp hearts safely and effectively.

Hemp Hearts – FAQ

1. What do hemp hearts do for your body?

Hemp hearts are highly nutritious and offer several health benefits:

  • Heart Health: Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, they help maintain heart health by controlling cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Complete Protein Source: They contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source, ideal for vegan and vegetarian diets.
  • Digestive Health: The fiber content supports healthy digestion and can help prevent constipation.
  • Blood Sugar Balance: They help regulate blood sugar levels due to their high fiber and healthy fat content.
  • Brain Health: Omega-3 fatty acids support brain health and can help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in hemp hearts has anti-inflammatory effects, which can help with conditions like arthritis and skin issues such as eczema and acne.

2. Who should not eat hemp hearts?

While hemp hearts are generally safe for most people, certain individuals should exercise caution:

  • People with Digestive Issues: The high fiber content may cause digestive discomfort in some individuals.
  • Allergic Individuals: Rarely, some people may experience allergic reactions.
  • Those on Anticoagulants: Hemp hearts may interact with anticoagulants due to their high omega-3 content, which can affect blood clotting.

3. Do hemp hearts contain CBD?

No, hemp hearts do not contain CBD (cannabidiol). CBD is found in the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the hemp plant, not in the seeds. Hemp hearts are derived from the seeds and are free from CBD and THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

4. Are hemp hearts a laxative?

Hemp hearts are not a laxative, but their high fiber content can promote healthy digestion and help prevent constipation. They support regular bowel movements due to their fiber content, but they are not classified as a laxative.

5. Are hemp hearts good for losing weight?

Yes, hemp hearts can be beneficial for weight loss:

  • High Protein Content: They help keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods, which can prevent overeating and reduce calorie intake.
  • Low Calorie Count: With only around 170 calories per three tablespoons, they are a low-calorie addition to a weight loss diet.
  • Nutrient Dense: Packed with nutrients, including fiber, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals, they allow you to consume fewer calories while still getting the necessary nutrients.

6. How much hemp heart should I eat daily?

A typical serving size is three tablespoons (30 grams) per day. This amount provides a good balance of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. However, you can adjust the serving size based on your dietary needs and health goals.These FAQs provide a comprehensive overview of the benefits, uses, and considerations for incorporating hemp hearts into your diet.