Health Benefits Of Hemp Seeds: 5 Reasons To Sprinkle It On Your Food

Sprinkle them over pasta, salads, and smoothies, bake them into granola, mix them into your morning oatmeal, add them to vinegarettes, or even blend and strain them to make milk – hemp seeds are versatile and delicious. To make things better, their nutritional quality has propelled them to the top of nutritionists’ lists. Hemp seeds are seeds of the hemp plant. However, despite being from the same family as cannabis (marijuana) they are of a different variety and contain only trace amounts of THC, which is the psychoactive compound that is found in marijuana. Here are all the health benefits you can reap by adding these seeds to your diet.

1. Are A Good Source Of Protein

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, it’s important to include high-quality plant-based sources of protein in your diet. This is where hemp seeds come in. A whopping 25% of calories in hemp seeds come from protein and, by weight, 2–3 tablespoons provide about 11 grams of protein – similar amount as provided by beef and lamb.1 2 What’s better is that this protein is a complete protein source, which means that it provides all 9 essential amino acids. In particular, hemp seeds contain significant amounts of the amino acids methionine and cysteine, as well as very high levels of arginine and glutamic acid. Since the body can’t produce essential amino acids, it’s important to obtain them from your diet. In addition to this, the digestibility of hemp protein is also good, better even than most grains, nuts, and legumes.3 4


2. Aid Digestion

The soluble fiber in hemp seeds may also reduce spikes in blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels.

As mentioned earlier, hemp protein is digested better than most other kinds of protein. And if you tend to have digestive woes, adding hemp seeds to your diet can help ease symptoms. The fiber in it can aid better digestive health. Just 3 tbsp of the hulled seeds offer 3.6 gm of fiber, which makes up for 14.4% of the recommended daily intake.5 Whole hemp seeds, meanwhile, are a good source of both soluble (20%) and insoluble fiber (80%). The former forms a gel-like substance in your gut and is a valuable source of nutrients for beneficial digestive bacteria.6 7 Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, adds bulk to your stool and may help food and waste pass through your gut. Do bear in mind that shelled hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts, contain very little fiber as opposed to whole hemp seeds.8 9


3. May Relieve The Symptoms Of PMS And Menopause

If you find that you experience pain and get moody and irritable in the days leading up to your menstruation, you’re not alone. Up to 80% of women of reproductive age report suffering from physical or emotional symptoms caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS).10 These are likely caused due to sensitivity to a hormone that goes by the name prolactin.11 Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found in hemp seeds, produces prostaglandin E1, which has been found to reduce the effects of prolactin. In one study, conducted in women with PMS, taking 1 gram of essential fatty acids — including 210 mg of GLA — per day significantly decreased symptoms. Other studies have found that GLA can help relieve symptoms in women who didn’t respond to other PMS therapies. In addition to irritability, GLA might also relieve breast tenderness, depression, and fluid retention that’s associated with PMS.12 13

Besides this, since hemp seeds are high in GLA, studies have linked it to a reduction in the symptoms of menopause as well. While the exact mechanism behind this is unclear, researchers theorize that the GLA may regulate hormonal imbalances and inflammation associated with menopause.14 15 16


4. May Protect Heart Health

Consuming hemp seeds regularly can help stave off heart disease, which has been found to be the number one cause of death worldwide. They contain high amounts of amino acid arginine, which produces nitric oxide in your body.17 And nitric oxide is a gas molecule that makes your blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.18 In one large study, conducted in over 13,000 people, found that increased arginine intake decreased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammation marker that can cause heart disease when present in high levels.19 20

In addition to this, the gamma-linolenic acid found in hemp seeds has also been linked to lowered inflammation and a decreased risk of diseases like heart disease.21 22 Animal studies have found that hemp seeds may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation, and help the heart recover after a heart attack.23 So be sure to grab a pack of hemp seeds on your next grocery run.


5. May Help Treat Skin Disorders

Whether you have dry skin, eczema, or sensitive skin, hemp seeds may help. They contain fatty acids in a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 (considered to be in the optimal range), which affect immune responses in the body.24 25 And since studies suggest that the immune system depends on the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, its no surprise that hemp seed oil has been found to relieve the symptoms of eczema.26 It may also relieve dry skin, improve itchiness, and reduce the need for skin medication. That said, these studies have not been conducted on hemp seeds specifically.27 28  Adding them to your diet, however, may still be a safe and easy way to promote better skin health.