Even though hemp-based products have been used for thousands of years, there’s consistently more and more uses being discovered for this amazing plant and what benefits it has.
The negative stigma surrounding cannabis that has been created in the last century has left many Americans believing that this plant and anything associated with it is a gateway drug.
Luckily, the stigma has slowly been lifted as modern science and progressive consumers are learning more and more about the numerous benefits of this multidimensional plant.
What is Hemp?
First and foremost, the clarification needs to be made as to what hemp actually is. It is indeed from the same family as the marijuana plant, however, the key difference is that hemp is grown for the purpose of using the entire plant and even its seeds to manufacture consumables.
Typically cultivated outside, it has the ability to grow to be as large as 15 feet tall. Hemp is easy to grow, some might say like a weed, and doesn’t require much in terms of pesticides or fertilizers.
As far as physical similarities are concerned, hemp matches its marijuana cousin in that regard, however, marijuana which is typically grown indoors generally grows to be only 5 to 7 feet tall. The fibers of the hemp plant can be used to weave clothing, fabrics, and other consumer goods as they have been shown to be both a sturdy and sustainable resource. This versatile plant has a plethora of uses for consumption in everyday life that is still being explored further.
Hemp seeds are exactly as they sound, the seeds of the hemp plant. Stemming from the edible part of the hemp plant, these seeds do not contain any levels of THC, which is the psychoactive component often confused with hemp oil.
They can be consumed just as they are as a seed, much like the chia seed, sprinkled on top of food, pressed into an oil, ground up as a powder or meal form, and even turned into milk.
Also referred to as hemp heart, technically speaking, they are a nut with a mild nutty flavor profile to them. What makes this seed so special are the nutrients it provides. Considered to be a superfood, hemp is a great source of much-needed vitamins and minerals that are conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
Hemp can be considered a superfood from the sheer volume of nutrients it provides. Hemp seeds are exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats, protein, and various minerals. Used often for its health benefits, hemp seed should be at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to looking for ways to incorporate much-needed nutrients into their diets.
- Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids: These essential fats cannot be produced by your body naturally, and therefore are obtained by the foods you consume. These omega fatty acids play an integral role in working to support your heart and immune system.
What makes hemp seed ideal is the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids; there is a tendency for people to consume too much Omega 6 acids and not enough Omega 3’s, but because hemp contains both, the balance it has makes it an ideal source for these two combined.
- Protein: An excellent source of protein, even compared to other plant-based protein sources such as soybeans, as well as meat-based protein like beef and lamb. Because of its high protein content, hemp seed also contains all nine essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for all proteins.
Working to protect the heart, amino acids play a key role in keeping our bodies healthy and energized. Like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, the human body can only produce 10 of the 20 amino acids, and we, therefore, must obtain them through the foods we eat. For non-meat eaters, hemp seed is a viable protein alternative.
- Fiber: A vital nutrient that helps keep your stomach and intestinal health in good standing, fiber helps to regulate your digestion, which is also ideal for weight management. Fiber also is essential to aiding in supporting healthy blood sugar or glucose levels. Compared to other plant-based proteins, hemp seeds are easily digestible.
- Vitamin E: The role Vitamin E plays in maintaining optimal health is by protecting the cells from damage. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, your body stores it and uses it as needed.
- Other Minerals and Vitamins: Hemp seed contains a plethora of other valuable minerals and vitamins, which are important to your health such as magnesium, potassium, Vitamin B-6, phosphorus, riboflavin, and folate.
Uses of Hemp Seed
As mentioned previously, hemp seed can be used in a variety of different items. Besides consuming the actual seeds themselves or having it ground into powder form, the most versatile way that it is used in a variety of products is in its oil form. Hemp seed oil can be found in a vast amount of products on the market today, many of which you may not have even realized.
- Beauty and Skin Care: Hemp seed oil makes an amazing moisturizer, which is ideal for use in many skincare products. When it comes to anti-aging, one key issue is lack of hydration to the skin, which causes fine lines and wrinkles. The inclusion of hemp seed oil offers that an intense dose of moisturizer your skin needs to reduce the appearance of those unwanted lines. It is likewise especially crucial when combined with certain agents that are known to dry out the skin to counteract the dryness that can occur.
- Pet Care: Used for pet salves and tinctures, hemp seed oil provides the same level of hydrating support. In ingestible forms, the nutrients and minerals such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids help to support muscle and joint health.
- Foods: As previously stated regarding all of the nutritional benefits of hemp seed, it makes a great stand-alone food additive as a seed. When ground up as a meal, it can be incorporated into just about any consumable item. Find it in nutritional supplements, vitamins, and more.
Hemp seeds can make a great nutrition additive to your cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, and much more. Or, take it to the next level and make your own nutrition bars/trail mix utilizing hemp seeds in a homemade recipe. Hemp milk makes a fantastic dairy-free alternative much like soy or almond but with the added benefit of the nutrients found in this superfood. Consumed as a food, the possibilities are countless, stifled only by your creativity in figuring out what new and innovative ways you can incorporate it.
Is It Safe to Use?
If you are worried about any of the potential psychoactive properties associated with hemp and cannabis, the easy answer is that there isn’t anything to worry about. Hemp seed products do not typically have any THC in them and must fall below the 0.3 perfect thresholds in order to be produced and sold in the U.S. as a hemp product and not labeled as a cannabis product.
Out of an abundance of caution, if you feel that there is not enough clarity or understanding about how hemp seed products may affect you, consulting a physician is always the route to take.
Based on the number of nutrients packed into one little seed, it is no wonder why many health aficionados and experts consider the hemp seed to be an incredible superfood. The uses for this multifaceted plant has been explored and used in mainstream products but has the ability to be used in more ways than it is currently.
The stigma surrounding hemp’s association with other cannabis plants has hindered its explosiveness onto the health food scene, but with the more recent acceptance of cannabis as a whole, the doors are opening for this amazing plant to show the world what it can truly do.