Tuesday, July 09, 2013

A nutritious and delicious way to easily add more healthy fat and complete protein to your diet …

Hemp seeds come from the plant Cannabis sativa and are used as a rich dietary nutrient source.  They can be eaten alone or on salads or other foods to help improve your protein and essential fatty acid intake.

Do you mean “weed” seeds?
The plant Cannabis sativa has a number of different species.
In past, the most well known species were those that were high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), whose buds were smoked or eaten as a psychoactive drug.

Hemp can be grown without the use of herbicides, and with very little pesticide, allowing more to be produced with less damage to the environment.  At the same time, most of the plant can be used for a variety of different functions.  Outer fibres from the plant material are used to produce cords and clothing, while inner fibres are used as mulch, and animal litter.  The seeds can be used as a food source (as further explained in this article), and oil from the pressed seeds can be used in oil-based paints, and in plastics.  Hemp oil can also be used as a moisturizer in creams and as oil in cooking.  All of these uses allow for very little wastage of the harvested plant.

The seeds of hemp can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, sprouted, prepared as tea, used for flour in baking or made into hemp milk.  Hemp is also used to make protein powder.  Unshelled seeds can be more easily digested, although the seed husks can act as an excellent source of fibre in the digestive tract.

Nutrition Content
The nutritional content of hemp seeds is quite rich.  Around 44% of the weight of hemp seed is healthy edible oils, the vast majority of which are essential fatty acids (EFAs).  One tablespoon of hemp oil per day can provide the full daily requirement of EFAs for an average adult.  They are a relatively rich source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids by weight.  For more information on the health benefits of omega fatty acids, please click here.  The seeds can also be an excellent source of protein and contain all 9 essential amino acids, making hemp seeds a complete source of protein as well.

How can I get more hemp seed?
There are a number of different hemp seed products available on the market.  The seeds themselves can be purchased, often shelled so that only the easy to digest nut or “heart” remains.  Unshelled varieties provide an excellent source of fibre.  Eating 3 – 5 tablespoons of hemp seeds per day can help to improve your nutritional status, and provide an excellent source of EFAs as well as some protein.

Important Information
How the seeds are processed is extremely important to their nutritional content.  Any exposure to temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit can cause oxidation of the oils.  To help preserve the nutritional value, storing the seeds you will use within a few days in the fridge, and those you will use later can be stored in the freezer.

No comments: