Technically a nut, Hemp seeds are exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats, proteins and various minerals. They have a mild nutty flavour and are often referred to as Hemp hearts, when the outer shell or hull is removed (de-hulled).
There are many health benefits from Hemp seeds that are backed up by science. Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, Linoleic Acid (Omega-6) and Alpha-Linolenic Acid (Omega-3). They also contain Gamma-Linolenic Acid, which has been linked to several health benefits. Hemp seeds are a great protein source, as more than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein. Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals, such as Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, Sulphur, Calcium, Iron and Zinc. The seeds contain high amounts of the amino acid Arginine, which produces nitric oxide in your body - a gas molecule that makes your blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to a potentially lowered blood pressure. The Gamma-Linolenic Acid found in hemp seeds has also been linked to reduced inflammation.
Fatty acids may affect immune responses in your body. Studies suggest that your immune system depends on the balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are a good source of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids. They have about a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which is considered in the optimal range. The oil may also relieve dry skin, improve itchiness and reduce the need for skin medication. About 25% of calories in hemp seeds come from protein, which is relatively high. In fact, by weight, hemp seeds provide similar amounts of protein as beef and lamb 30 grams of hemp seeds, or 2–3 tablespoons, provide about 11 grams of protein.
Hemp seeds are considered a complete protein source, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids. Your body cannot produce essential amino acids and must obtain them from your diet. Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom, as plants often lack the amino acid Lysine. Hemp seeds contain significant amounts of the amino acids Methionine and Cysteine, as well as very high levels of Arginine and Glutamic Acid. The digestibility of hemp protein is also very good — better than protein from many grains, nuts and legumes. Hemp seeds may reduce symptoms associated with PMS and menopause, thanks to its high levels of gamma-linolenic acid.
Whole hemp seeds contain high amounts of fibre — both soluble and insoluble — which benefits digestive health. However, de-hulled or shelled hemp seeds contain very little fibre.