The previous years has brought us superfoods such as kale, quinoa, flax seeds, and chia seeds. But have you ever heard of hemp hearts? I bet you haven’t. Hemp hearts are the edible parts of the seeds coming from the Hemp plant, which comes from the same family as the marijuana plant (Cannabis). Sounds scary? There’s no need to worry, though. Hemp hearts are completely safe and pack a lot of health benefits.
But first, what are superfoods? Superfoods, according to Health.com, are foods which have a large amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. With that, these superfoods contain high amount of nutritional content which can help combat diseases in order to live a healthier life. While this is not an official legal or medical definition, superfoods have spread within the community (particularly with the health buffs) since these foods help reduce the chances of getting chronic diseases. Examples of superfoods include tomatoes (which have high amounts of Lycopene, Potassium, Fiber, and Vitamin C) and kale (which are studied to have enzymes that neutralize cancer-causing substances in the body). However, it is interesting to note that the term “superfoods” is not yet an official term used and accepted by dieticians and nutritionists. The term is more of a marketing construct used to categorize and promote food with large amount of nutrients and health benefits.
Anyway, hemp hearts may be one of the least popular among these so-called superfoods out there. While its name may sound cute and adorable, hemp hearts pack a punch of a lot of nutrients in a small package. Hemp hearts may come from the same family as marijuana. However, hemp hearts only contain trace amounts of the drug found in marijuana, THC. Therefore, consuming hemp hearts will not make you high.
Curious about this up and coming superfood? Here are seven things why hemp hearts are awesome superfoods:
- Compared to other seeds such as flax or chia, hemp hearts have more protein content.
For a 2 tablespoon serving of hemp hearts, you can already get 10 grams of protein. This is pretty high given their small size. For comparison, the same serving of flax seeds has 5 grams of protein while chia seeds will contain 4 grams. In fact, the protein content of hemp hearts are comparable to beef, lamb, and quinoa!
- Hemp hearts are vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
Given that they are plant-based, contains all essential amino acids, and has a high protein content, hemp hearts are excellent protein sources for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet. It is considered to be one of the best plant-based protein sources out there. Additionally, hemp hearts can also act as an alternative for those who have allergies with other kinds of nuts and seeds.
- Hemp hearts are easy to digest.
Compared to eating hemp seeds as is, hemp hearts are easier to digest since the hard outer shell of the seed has already been taken off. While the shell of the hemp seed contain most of the fiber content, the hemp heart still has a relatively hefty amount of fiber in itself. Therefore, hemp hearts can be considered a source of highly digestible protein.
- Hemp hearts can be processed into healthy and dairy-free milk.
It is really stress-free to make hemp milk at home. There is even no need to soak these hemp hearts before preparing! By just blending hemp hearts, water, and natural sweeteners, your delicious and nutritious drink will be ready in no time. Since it is homemade, the flavor that you will be getting is tailor-made for your taste. Hemp milk therefore is an excellent, highly nutritious alternative to milk such as dairy, soy, and nut milk products.
- The amount of recipes using hemp hearts is pretty much limitless.
Hemp hearts can complement both your favourite sweet and savoury recipes. You can add them as is to your salad, oatmeal, or yogurt. You can turn your hemp hearts into milk and use it in your cereals. You can include hemp hearts into your post-workout protein shake. You can even mix in some hemp hearts into the spreads you use for your bread, biscuits, or crackers. These are just some suggestions but you can add hemp hearts to pretty much anything – from breakfast food to snacks to dessert!
- Hemp hearts are good for the skin, for the joints, and for the heart.
Hemp hearts are full of essential fatty acids. When hemp hearts are turned into oil, it can help provide relief to skin disorders. Examples of skin diseases hemp hearts can relieve include dry skin and eczema. In addition to this, hemp oil can also help relieve arthritis and joint pain.
Hemp hearts are rich in and have a balance of omega fatty acids. With a three-to-one ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s, hemp hearts are ideal in ensuring and maintaining the health of your heart. Intake of hemp hearts can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Therefore, there will be a lower risk for heart diseases through the consumption of hemp hearts.
- Hemp hearts (or the hemp plant, in particular) is a super crop.
The hemp plant is considered to be a sustainable and non-GMO crop. This means that there really is no need to use chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides since hemp can resist pests and diseases by itself. Also, the hemp plant never undergoes genetic modification meaning that the hemp hearts you are eating are all natural and organic.
Hemp hearts, then, really are healthy!
With all these benefits, it is safe to say that hemp hearts are worthy for a place in your diet. Hemp hearts significantly help maintain good health. A small serving of hemp hearts can already provide a huge amount of vitamins and minerals such as fatty acids and protein, among others. In addition, consuming hemp will not make you high – it will make you healthy. If you’re looking to add some nutty crunch to your healthy lifestyle, consider consuming hemp hearts.