Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a plant, very similar to marijuana and is often confused as the same. While the leaf of the marijuana plant contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is activated when the leaves are heated, leading to pychoactive effects, hemp only contains tiny amounts of THC.
Used nutritionally, hemp seeds are used either whole or crushed to release the oils. Heating is avoided to keep the fragile oils, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients bioactive.
A Good Source of Healthy Fats
Hemp is a good source of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids. It is one of the largest sources of ALA, a precursor to EPA and DHA (the bioactive forms of omega 3 fatty acids found in wild, deep sea fish). While ALA does not convert at high levels, being a rich source of plant based healthy fats, it is very beneficial, especially for those who choose to live a vegan lifestyle.
Hemp also contains GLA, a specific omega-6 fatty acid as well as many phytosterols. Phytosterols have been shown to have the potential to actually help to remove fat build up in arteries.
A Great Source of Vegan Protein
Containing all of the 10 essential amino acids required for making and repairing proteins, hemp is a great plant source of “whole protein”. Further, while many plant sources of protein contain phytates which can be called “anti-nutrients” as they are difficult to digest, reduce mineral absorption and can create gut irritation in some people, hemp does not contain phytates.
A Real Powerhouse!
So, Hemp seeds are a good source of macronutrients (carbohydrates including fibre, fats and proteins).
Well, they are also a good source of micronutrients, containing many vitamins and minerals including: calcium; iron; magnesium; phosphate; potassium; zinc; some B vitamins (including folate); vitamin C; vitamin A; and vitamin E.
This makes hemp seeds a powerhouse of nutrition. It may be especially important as a good source of magnesium as many people these days are tend to be deficient and it is a mineral that is important in many biological functions. While magnesium deficiency can be linked to issues such as insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease and bone health. Supplementation shows promise in alleviating symptoms of PMS such as bloating, insomnia, water retention, weight gain and breast tenderness, along other things
So, Do I Try It?
Hemp seeds then, contain many healthful compounds, are a good source of proteins, carbohydrates ad healthy fats, do not contain a significant amount of THC and so far, at least, have not shown evidence of any potential negative side effects. It may then, be worth having a try, to see how it affects you, take it cautiously at first and write in a journal any changes you feel. If after a week of taking up to 2 Tablespoons a day has helped your feeling of wellbeing and hasn’t shown you any concerns (remember to read back over your journal to find any possible correlations), then maybe you can continue to use them in your health regime. If you find you don’t like the results, then maybe they are not right for you, remember, each person has a different biochemical make up, so the aim is to find things that work to support you and your unique body.