Humans have been using hemp as food for thousands of years. Its seeds are a fantastic source of nutrition, and nowadays, many consider them a “superfood.”
These seeds have a delicate, nutty flavor and can be munched alone as a healthy snack or sprinkled onto meals for a wholesome boost. Hemp seed oil and hemp protein are two other versatile ways to elevate your regular cuisine.
This article explores the rich nutritional value of hemp foods and why you should consider adding more of them to your diet.
Hemp Seeds Nutritional Value
Hemp seeds are loaded with essential fatty acids, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Each 100g of seeds provides approximately 500-600 kilocalories and comprises around one-quarter carbohydrate, one-quarter protein, and one-third fat. The latter is primarily made up of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha and gamma-linolenic acids.
One of the unique features of hemp seeds is that they provide an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds are widely believed to promote heart health, brain health, joint health, and more.
Hemp seeds are also an excellent plant-based source of vitamins and minerals, including the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B9 (folate)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Finally, hemp seeds are rich in natural antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds, tocopherols, and phytosterols.
The Benefits of Hemp Protein
Hemp protein stands out among plant-based protein sources because it is easy to digest and contains all nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are molecules the body cannot synthesize and must be consumed from food.
It is especially rich in the amino acids glutamic acid and arginine. It also provides the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine, which are usually associated with animal products.
A growing number of companies have started selling hemp food products like protein powder, which offer a convenient way to increase your daily intake of this healthy plant. It is suitable for vegans and those with lactose intolerances and is a great alternative to other plant-based proteins like soy.
Hemp Food Serving Suggestions
There are many ways to enjoy hemp food products. Some of our favorites include:
- Sprinkle hemp seeds over your salad or dips like hummus
- Stir toasted hemp seeds into your granola or porridge
- Drizzle hemp seed oil into soups and sauces at the end of cooking
- Make a healthy salad dressing by shaking hemp seed oil with mustard and vinegar
- Add hemp protein powder to shakes and smoothies
- Mix a scoop of hemp protein powder with brownie or muffin batter
One crucial point to consider when using hemp seed oil is that it is unstable at high temperatures. Therefore, it should be added at the end of cooking rather than used to fry or roast food.
Finding the Best Quality Hemp Food Products
It is essential to buy hemp foods from a reputable source to derive the maximum benefit. Look for companies that use organic, non-GMO hemp grown in places like the USA or European Union. These countries have high agricultural standards and generally produce top-quality hemp plants.
It goes without saying that suppliers should openly list the ingredients and nutritional value of their hemp foods on the packaging. This is especially important for products like hemp protein powder, which may contain artificial additives or sweeteners.
Look for those that go the extra mile and use all-natural ingredients in their powders. Some even combine their hemp with other superfoods, such as cacao or mesquite powder. Decide what additional benefits you want from your hemp food and choose your ideal product accordingly.
Final Thoughts on the Rich Nutritional Value of Hemp Foods
Hemp is a fantastic source of nutrition and may have additional health benefits due to its unique fatty acid profile. It is an excellent way for those following plant-based diets to consume more protein as it is easy to digest and contains a full range of essential amino acids.
Another benefit of hemp foods is that they are incredibly versatile. You can snack on whole seeds, drizzle hemp seed oil over your meals, or mix hemp protein powder with your daily shakes or smoothies.
The only potential drawback is that some companies might include unhealthy additives in their protein powders. So, shop around, look for a high-quality, all-natural brand, and see how adding more hemp to your diet could benefit you.