The Health Benefits of Eating Hemp Seeds
For a number of years, Hemp has been removed from the public lexicon, too often associated with the cannabis plant. And while hemp does originate from the cannabis sativa plant, its uses and benefits are so immeasurably widespread, that it is simply unfair to tarnish hemp with the same brush as cannabis.
For thousands of years, hemp has been cultivated and used for a host of industrial and commercial purposes. The first evidence of its use can be found almost 10,000 years ago, when it was spun into a usable fibre for reasons unknown. In today’s world it is used in a variety of ways including in the production of paper, insulation, textiles, clothing, biofuel, paint and plastics.
However, it is also used as a food due to its wealth of nutritional benefits. It does not contain any of the psychoactive materials associated with its cannabis cousin. Instead, it contains nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fats that can benefit the human body in a variety of ways.
Don’t be overawed by the technical terms of some of the materials found in hemp seeds. While its list of ‘ingredients’ may look like an immense reel of scientific jargon, all should be considered an essential part of a human’s diet.
Firstly, hemp seeds contain a number of vital and rich proteins, the two most prominent being Edestin and Albumin. Both of these proteins hold vast amount of amino acids that are essential to the body. One particular amino acid, arginine, has anti-inflammatory properties and can significantly help in the recovery of short or long term injury.
Hemp oil, extracted from the seeds contains a fatty substance known as gamma linolenic acid. This reduces inflammation in the body, much like arginine. However, it is more associated with the inflammation found in arthritis patients and those who suffer from joint pain.
While the 30% fat content found in hemp seeds can make it seem like they are unhealthy, it is in fact the complete opposite. These tiny seeds are full of rich, healthy fats. Two fatty acids are especially prevalent in hemp seeds; omega-3 and omega-6. These acids have a range of health benefits, including regulating the immune system, helping to clear skin disorders and promoting cell growth.
Like many other edible seeds, hemp seeds are extremely high in magnesium and B vitamins. Both of these elements are associated with reducing anxiety and stress. Magnesium does this by supporting neurotransmitter functions in the brain, while B vitamins are extremely adept at regulating stress hormones that are produced.
One of the most important holistic functions that hemp seeds can assist with is the reducing the risk of heart conditions. The aforementioned amino acid, arginine, has the ability to dilate blood vessels, thereby decreasing hypertension in the body.
Not only can hemp seeds be used in the prevention of heart-related conditions, it has also been associated with the prevention and management of cancers and related pains. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid found in the hemp seed in very small doses. THC has been studied to have therapeutic benefits against cancerous cells.
The fatty acids found in hemp oil derived from the seeds can also help with a number of skin conditions. Hemp seed oil has been known to relieve itchiness associated with eczema and to prevent dry skin through penetrating right down to the innermost layer of the skin and hydrating extensively.
One of the most fascinating, yet under-studied potential therapeutic benefits of hemp seeds is their association with the prevention and management of multiple sclerosis. Studies have suggested that the seeds have a direct effect on the mitochondrial and myelin membranes, which when compromised, can lead to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Hemp seeds are considered appetite suppressants due to the sheer volume of protein content (just 30 grams of hemp seeds can provide 11 grams of protein). Protein is difficult for the human body to breakdown and therefore keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Finally, hemp seeds are a great source of fibre, which is key to improving digestion in the human body. Both soluble and insoluble fibre is found in hemp seeds, with the former reducing blood sugar levels and the latter helping food and waste pass through the intestines. The fibre content in hemp seeds is also associated with a lower risk of diabetes.