Hemp and marijuana are often perceived as identical twins – as one and the same. In reality though, they are more like distant cousins that only convene at awkward family gatherings.
The seeds do indeed come from the hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa, which is the same species from which marijuana is produced. Yet they contain such a microscopic trace of THC – the compound that produces drug-like effects – that however much you eat, you won’t be left feeling giddy.
Here are nine health benefits of hemp seeds you may not have known…
Hemp reduces the risk of heart disease
Hemp seeds contain arginine and gamma-Linolenic acid, both of which have been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease. Animal studies have also suggested that the seeds may lower blood pressure and the risk of clotting.
Hemp can help digestion
The hemp seed shells contain high amounts of soluble and unsoluble fibre, which benefits digestive health by cleansing the colon. Fibre also increases satiety, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Hemp seeds are a great source of protein
More than a quarter of the calories in hemp seeds come from high-quality proteins, topping other superfoods such as chia seeds. By weight, the seeds offer a similar amount of protein as beef, lamb or chicken and are a great source of protein for vegans or vegetarians.
Hemp improves muscle control and function
Hemp seeds not only contain all 20 amino acids, but they also possess nine of the essential amino acids, which our bodies cannot produce. These improve muscle control, mental function and general body maintenance of cells, tissues and organs.
Hemp may ward off Alzheimer’s disease
Omega 3 fatty acids are primarily found in fish, but they are also found in some plants and nuts, including hemp seeds. On top of their benefits to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, they may even ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
Hemp can help maintain bone health
As well as Omega-3, the seeds are also a great source for the Omega-6 fatty acids. These help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism and aid brain function.
Hemp helps skin disorders
An oil can be extracted from the seeds which is easily absorbed into the skin. This can regenerate and nourish dried skin, prevent sagging due to aging and can provide relief for skin conditions such as eczema.
Hemp reduces symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause
Symptoms caused by PMS are often caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin. The gamma-Linolenic acid, found in hemp seeds, is known to naturally balance hormones. Other studies have suggested that the seeds can reduce the symptoms of menopause.
Hemp is a good source of vitamins and minerals
Hemp seeds are a great source of vitamin E, which helps to strengthen the immune system, and also minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.