By March 29, 2013 10 Comments Read More →

Are Hemp Seeds Part of a Healthy Diet?

Kent Mao, Contributor
Waking Times

Hemp and marijuana seem to be popular topics in today’s society since legalization measures were passed in Colorado and Washington last November. While it’s common to hear advocates proclaim the medical benefits of marijuana, studies have shown that hemp seeds can also provide a number of health advantages as well, making them a unique dietary staple that has yet to be fully recognized.

Before we get into the plenty of nutritional benefits that hemp seeds have to offer, it’s important to note the difference between hemp and marijuana.

You see, marijuana and hemp are actually two different names for the same species of Cannabis plants. But where they differ is in their THC content. Hemp are strains of Cannabis that only contain trace levels of THC, meaning they cannot get you “high” or intoxicated in any way. Although some may still try, hemp is definitely not something that should be smoked. On the other hand, hemp seeds are fast becoming a popular health food – and for good reason, we might add.

Hemp seeds happen to be one of the most nutritious of health foods and appear to possess a unique combination of the healthy aspects of seeds as well as the medical benefits of marijuana. It might be hard to imagine how this could be, so let’s take a look at the facts.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of hemp seeds is that they contain omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) in a ratio of 4:1 – the ideal ratio recommended by the World Health Organization for fatty acid intake.

Why is this important? EFAs are required by the human body for maintaining good health, but cannot be synthesized on their own, meaning that EFAs can only be obtained through a balanced diet. What’s more, no other nut or vegetable oil contains EFAs in the same ratio as hemp seeds, which makes them one of the healthiest sources of EFAs that are known today.

But that’s not all. The oil from hemp seeds contain other healthy fats as well, namely polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). You might be familiar with PUFAs if you are one of the many who take fish oil supplements on the daily, which are also rich in PUFAs. However, plant sources of PUFAs have been found to be more tolerated by the human body, which makes a good argument for switching from fish oil to hemp seeds.

The important part of all this is that regular intake of PUFAs and EFAs has been linked to the prevention of diabetes and various forms of heart disease. They are also believed to help prevent and even improve the outcome of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which are two of the most common ailments among the aging population.

If this still isn’t enough to convince you to scribble hemp seeds down on your grocery list, consider this fact. Hemp seeds contain all 21 known amino acids, which makes them a more complete source of protein than eggs, meat, milk, and soy. Vegetarians, take note.

What’s more, hemp seeds are also rich in soluble and insoluble fibers. Fiber is another key component of a healthy diet, helping to reduce blood glucose and cholesterol levels as well as regulating movements of the bowel.

Finally, hemp seeds contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including the highly coveted Vitamin E. Vitamin E is one of the most well known antioxidants and is commonly available as a dietary supplement. Antioxidants also provide tremendous health benefits and have been shown to reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and arthritis, among many others.

Whether you happen to be a diet fanatic or not, the bottom line is that hemp seeds are one of the most nutrient-rich health foods on the market today. While hemp cultivation is still prohibited under US federal law, almost half a million pounds of hemp seeds are imported by the States every year and are commonly available in grocery stores in the form of shelled seeds, oil and flour. It might be just hearsay, but they taste great too!

About the Author

Kent Mao runs the excellent website TruthOnPot.com, an online resource for medical marijuana facts, information and research. TruthOnPot.com actively engages in the online discussion of marijuana research and policy. You can learn more by visiting www.truthonpot.com

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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10 Comments on "Are Hemp Seeds Part of a Healthy Diet?"

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  1. Greg Calise says:

    Very poorly researched. Hemp seeds are very high in Omega 6 EFA and low in Omega 3 EFA. Omega 6 EFA is definitely not the one you want to ingest. Also, hemp seed oil turns rancid very quickly, just like flax seed oil, another seed that is touted as being healthy, but is very detrimental to health. Both Flax and hemp have been cultivated for thousand of years, and the seeds and oils of neither plant were ever ingested. You don’t think the ancients would have been eating them if they were healthy?

    • Jimmy says:

      polyunsaturated fats particularly omega 6′s are still used to suppress the immune system in transplant operations post surgery !! A carefully kept secret apparently.

    • Kent says:

      Hi Greg,

      We may disagree on dietary intake of EFAs, but my article is absolutely based on scientific research. The 4:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 was reported in this study:

      Cholesterol-induced stimulation of platelet aggregation is prevented by a hempseed-enriched diet. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18418423)

      This is a direct quote:

      “The nutritional benefits of hempseed may be due to its complement of PUFAs. Hempseed possesses a ratio of omega-6 : omega-3 PUFAs of approximately 4:1.”

      Also, while too much Omega 6 is indeed bad for you, hemp seeds contain much healthy levels of Omega 6 than most foods. Here’s another quote from an article on Mercola.com:

      Most experts agree that the omega 6:3 ratio should range from 1:1 to 5:1. The sad reality is that it now ranges from 20 to 50:1 for most Americans.”

      (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/01/12/aha-position-on-omega-6-fats.aspx)

      • karen says:

        I use hemp powder in my green smoothies and I love it! I’ve heard more health benefits in regards to the actual plant (hemp) than the use for smoking marijuana. I for one do not agree with smoking marijuana for any reason. However, this plant is useful for many reasons, such as clothing, paper, and supplemental use. I wasn’t aware of actually using the seeds, but I would like to try that as an alternative to nuts! I love nuts but I know they’re high in fat! Anyway, Greg, I have to disagree with you in regards to this study, I guess I’m a full believer in Dr Mercola and most things he puts out, I know are true and very much about health. Thanks for the article!

    • Henry says:

      Ah there’s always a nay-sayer, isn’t there? Whether hemp seed oil turns rancid quickly or not (and quickly is a relative term anyway) I don’t know, but milk and fruit juice also turn rancid “quickly” in just a few days without special treatment like refrigeration. So would you also be so vehement to tell people to avoid drinking milk or fruit juice for that reason?
      God has given us the herbs of the field for our food and medicine. They contain the nutrients our bodies need for optimum health. I’m inclined to believe hemp seeds as being beneficial rather than detrimental, due to a large body of articles and research on hemp that I’ve read all attesting to the positive effects of hemp. I’ve also read that there are companies that employ people to leave negative comments such as yours in discussions on certain topics on which they want to shape/control public opinion. Are you one such paid shill, Greg?

  2. Jimmy says:

    and what’s with the “WANNA GROW KILLER POT”!!….er NO!
    someone here is Losing the plot! and it’s not me!

  3. Eldred Coot says:

    Hemp seeds make a good substitute for nuts in cookies. If you can not eat nuts then add enough hemp seeds to get the right crunch and flavor.

  4. andrew james says:

    The article doesn’t cite how much vitamin D is present in Hemp seeds. Any numbers on that?

  5. Miguel Grande says:

    I use hemp seed in my oatmeal every morning. I don’t cook the seed but add it after the oatmeal is done. I also put a couple eggs in it as well. It took a while to get used to the texture of the hemp, but once I did, I won’t eat it any other way.

    One thing the hemp seed does, is that it promotes regularity. Another thing I add to the oatmeal is organic coconut oil which eliminates tooth decay and is beneficial in many ways.

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