What are Hemp Seeds And What Are Their Nutritional Benefits?

Anyone who knows me knows that I love accommodating blog topic requests from friends and family.

It just so happened that my good friend Sarah was interested in the nutritional value of hemp seeds, so I decided to write a little informative piece on them in case anybody else out there was interested.

I know that hemp seeds generate a lot of interest for their nutritional value, and they certainly are a healthy option to consider incorporating into your diet.

Let’s see what I have to say about them…

What Are Hemp Seeds?

Hemp seeds are derived from a plant known as the “industrial hemp” plant. Yes this plant is in the same family as marijuana, but it hemp seeds do not share any of marijuana’s potent effects.

In other words , you do not need to fear or avoid hemp seeds because of their botanical association with marijuana.

Instead, consider them more like other commonly consumed seed varieties like sunflower seeds, flax seeds or chia seeds.

Nutritional Benefits

The #1 reason that you should consider incorporating hemp seeds into your diet is that too many of us rely on chips, cookies and other less healthy foods when need to be relying on healthy nutrient rich snacks like nuts and seeds.

As far as specific nutritional benefits go, here are 3  things to keep in mind about hemp seeds:

1. They pack a protein punch:  Hemp seeds contain ~5 grams of protein per tablespoon which makes them a great plant-based protein alternative for those who may be lacking.

2.They are a good source of magnesium: If you don’t currently consume nuts, seeds or legumes ( chickpeas, lentils,etc) there is a strong chance you are one of the many Canadians who don’t consume enough magnesium from your diet.

3. They contain omega-3 fatty acids: These healthy fats are only available in certain foods ( ie: fatty fish, flax seeds, walnuts etc) so if you don’t consume those foods, you may not be getting enough. Hemp seeds can help fill that void

How To Incorporate Them

Hemp seeds offer some unique nutritional benefits, but at the end of the day they are not drastically different than most other nut or seed varieties.

They can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet but they alone will not offer you any sort of nutritional salvation.

I recommend alternating them with other nut/seed varieties you currently consume , using 1/4 cup servings at a time, and incorporating them anywhere you would incorporate nuts/seeds.

They would go great in cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or even as part of a baked goods recipe like a cake or muffins.

Of course you can also enjoy a few handfuls with a piece of fruit at any time of the day to make the ultimate snack.

Final Thoughts

Hemp seeds are healthy foods that most people could probably do with incorporating more of in place of less healthy options like chips and cookies.

Although they are not super foods or miracle foods, including them in your diet as part of a variety of different nuts/seeds will do wonders for your health in the long term.

Hope this helps!

Until next time,

Andy De Santis RD MPH

Image courtesy of Zuzuan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net