Hemp Seeds: Are They Good for You?
In this Article
In this Article
In this Article
- Nutrition Information
- Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
- Potential Risks of Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a rich source of nutrients. Part of the hemp plant, these seeds are technically a nut that can be eaten raw or used to make milk, oil, cheese substitutes, or protein powder.
While related to the cannabis plant, hemp seeds have little to none of the psychoactive compound THC found in marijuana. For centuries the seeds have been used for oral and topical applications to treat and prevent certain health issues. A growing body of modern clinical research is backing up many of these claims.
Hemp seeds’ nutty flavor and versatility also make them a great substitute for the levels of protein, essential fatty acids, and other nutritional benefits found in meat and dairy products.
Hemp seeds can be:
- Eaten raw, roasted, or cooked
- Shelled as hemp hearts
- Cold-pressed to produce hemp seed oil
- Used for non-dairy hemp milk and hemp cheese
A 30 gram serving (three-tablespoons) of raw hemp seeds contains:
- Calories: 166
- Protein: 9.47 grams
- Fat: 14.6 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2.6 grams
- Fiber: 1.2 grams
- Sugar: 0.45 grams
Hemp seeds are also good source of:
Hemp seeds also contain high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Studies have shown that the ideal ratio for the fatty acids in hemp seeds is 3 to 1. At this ratio, these fatty acids help to support healthy cholesterol levels, immune system function, and may help regulate your metabolism.
Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein. They contain all nine essential amino acids, and research suggests that hemp’s protein content is well-absorbed by our bodies.
In addition to this protein load, hemp seeds history is tied to their potential health benefits. Many modern studies have backed up several of these claims.
Hemp seeds’ health benefits include:
Hemp seeds are a great source of magnesium, which helps regulate your heartbeat and is linked to the prevention of coronary heart disease. They also contain Linoleic acid, which one study found reduced participants’ cholesterol levels by 15% and may act to reduce blood pressure.
One of the omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seeds is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA,) which may have anti-inflammatory effects similar to drugs like ibuprofen. One study found a 75% reduction in arthritis-associated pain in participants after nine months of GLA supplementation.
Hemp oil can be used in cooking to add nutritional benefits to your meal, and it can also be applied topically to the skin. Studies have found that hemp seed oil can relieve the symptoms of eczema and improve dry or itchy skin.
Research is ongoing, but hemp seed oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects may also help to treat acne.
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in hemp seeds is the optimal level for nutritional benefit. This balance supports both heart and cognitive health and is often lacking in most diets..
Hemp seeds also contain plant compounds called terpenes. While research is ongoing, studies suggest that terpenes may help protect the brain and prevent tumor growth.
Potential Risks of Hemp Seeds
While the fat content in hemp seeds comes primarily from its healthy essential fatty acids, eat them in moderation to meet your recommended daily consumption of fat. High fat intake can also cause nausea or diarrhea.
Other things to consider before adding hemp seeds to your diet include:
Hemp seeds may interact with certain medications including anticoagulants.
Studies have shown that hemp seeds reduce blood clotting, which can interact with blood-thinner prescriptions.
There is not enough clinical research to show that hemp is safe either orally or topically for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so it is not recommended.
Hemp seed shells can contain trace amounts of THC, the active psychoactive compound in marijuana. People with a previous dependence on cannabis may consider looking for an alternative.
The fiber content in hemp seeds can cause digestive discomfort like bloating, nausea, or constipation in large amounts. Make sure to drink plenty of water when eating hemp seeds to help avoid gut problems.
Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. “Cannabis sativa (Hemp) Seeds, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and Potential Overdose.”
Biochemical Education: “The action of vitamin K and coumarin anticoagulants.”
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: “Evaluating the Quality of Protein From Hemp Seed (Cannabis sativa L.) Products Through the Use of the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score Method.”
Journal of Dermatological Treatment: “Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis.”
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostatis: “Dietary hempseed reduces platelet aggregation.”
Oilseeds and fats, Crops and Lipids:“A short review on sources and health benefits of GLA, The GOOD omega-6.”
Mayo Clinic. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.”
Nutrients: “Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review with Emphasis in Epidemiological Studies.”
Nutrition & Metabolism: “The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed.”
Plant Science: “Terpenes in Cannabis sativa – From plant genome to humans.”
PLOS One: “The ameliorative effect of hemp seed hexane extracts on the Propionibacterium acnes-induced inflammation and lipogenesis in sebocytes.”>
The British Medical Journal (BMJ): “The importance of a balanced ω-6 to ω-3 ratio in the prevention and management of obesity.”
The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behaviour Letter: “FDA on CBD in pregnancy and breastfeeding”
USDA FoodData Central: “Seeds, hemp seed, hulled.”
Find out what the research says about hemp seeds, who should have them, and how they may affect your health.
Three Ways to Eat More Hemp
Hemp seeds are considered a superfood, packed with plant-based protein and a nutrient-rich profile that includes fibre, minerals, healthy fats and vitamins. They are allergen-free and hemp is sustainable to grow.
For those looking to increase the protein content in their diet, hemp seeds are an excellent option. More than 25% of hemp seeds’ total calories is from high-quality protein, compared to chia seeds and flaxseeds whose calories are 16-18% protein.
But how to eat more hemp? Here are three ways!
1) Hemp seeds – shelled or whole
Hemp seeds are small brown seeds which come from the hemp plant and have a slightly nutty flavour. They come in a hard hull or shell.
The seeds can be eaten whole, with the shell left on, and add a lovely crunch to recipes such as our vegan flapjack. Some people also separate the seed from the hull, and then grind up the hull into a fibre-rich powder that can then be used in food.
In some parts of the world, whole hemp seeds are roasted and eaten as a popular snack, like popcorn, often sold from street-food stands in bags or cones.
However, for convenience, many people opt for shelled hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts, where the shell has already been removed. Shelled hemp seeds are softer in texture and paler in colour.
The Hemp Pantry sells delicious organic shelled hemp seeds and these can be enjoyed in a number of ways. They can be eaten raw, baked or toasted.
Here are a few ideas:
· Sprinkled on salads
Add a tablespoon of hemp hearts to just about any salad to enhance its superfood credentials.
A favourite is a fresh and colourful tabbouleh salad with parsley, tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, olive oil, bulgur wheat, pomegranates and hemp hearts.
Hemp seeds can also be used to make hummus and dips.
· Mixed with granola or cereal
A healthy, protein-rich breakfast kickstarts your day and fuels you all morning.
Why not add hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds to your favourite vegan granola, top with fruit and coconut yoghurt for a delicious and filling first meal of the day.
· Added to soups and stews
A few hemp seeds can be added to any soup or stew, whether cooked from scratch or shop-bought, to improve the healthy nutrient profile.
Brighten up your lunch with our bright-green vegan pea, mint and hemp soup.
· In cakes and bakes
Hemp seeds can be an ingredient in cakes and bakes recipes. For inspiration, see our flapjack recipe.
As they have a slightly nutty flavour, they can be used in place of nuts in many recipes. They can be included in cakes, such as carrot or banana, in muffins and in energy bars for an extra shot of protein.
· With pasta
Hemp seeds can be sprinkled on top of pasta, or used as a key component of the sauce.
Make some hemp pesto or add hemp seeds to our vegan bechamel sauce recipe with some vegan cheese for a moreish creamy pasta.
· To make delicious bread
Hemp seeds work perfectly in bread recipes, adding a delicious nutty taste and complementing other seeds.
Spread our vegan butter alternative Veurre® on warm hemp bread as a perfect accompaniment to soup.
· As a dairy milk substitute
Shelled hemp seeds can also be used to make hemp milk, which is a great dairy-free alternative to milk.
Simply blend 100g shelled hemp seeds with 1 litre of water. There’s no need to filter it and it will last up to five days in the fridge. It has a mild nutty flavour and perfect to use on your morning cereal.
For a toasty flavour and more of a crunch, you can toast hemp seeds in a frying pan or in the oven.
The browned seeds can then be added to salads, soups, eaten as they are, or used as an ingredient in baking and cooking.
Hemp seeds are very versatile and can even be enjoyed in sweet treats – they are a key ingredient in our mouth-wateringly good vegan fudge which comes in five flavours from lemon drizzle to chocolate.
2) Hemp seed oil
Hemp seed oil is made from pressing hemp seeds. It is not the same as CBD oil which comes from the flowers, stalks and leaves of the hemp plant.
Hemp seed oil is packed with healthy polyunsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. It contains a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids, which is considered the ideal ratio. For this reason, it has been dubbed ‘nature’s most perfectly balanced oil’.
The Hemp Pantry’s organic cold-pressed hemp seed oil has a mild nutty, slightly grassy flavour. It’s a light-green oil that is perfect for drizzling over salads, vegetables and soups. It can also be used to make salad dressings, dips and pesto.
Hemp seed oil can also be applied topically like olive oil or coconut oil to nourish the hair and skin.
One thing that’s not recommended is frying with it. Hemp seed oil has a low smoke point which means it starts to burn at a lower temperature than other vegetable oils.
3) Hemp protein powder
Whole hemp seeds that have been pressed to remove the oil are then grinded into a fine powder.
This fine powder is considered a complete protein source as it contains all nine essential amino acids. These cannot be made in the body and can only come from food.
Essential amino acids perform a number of vital roles in our body including in our nervous, reproductive, immune and digestive systems. They are also widely known for their role in muscle repair and development.
The Hemp Pantry’s organic hemp protein powder contains 50% protein and has a natural, earthy, slightly nutty flavour. For a massive protein hit, add hemp protein powder to smoothies and shakes, cakes and bakes, porridge and cereals. See our vegan berry and hemp smoothie recipe for a fresh and fruity drink.
We add hemp protein powder to our tasty Kakaoboll. These bite-sized cacao, coffee and oat balls are inspired by the traditional Swedish sweet treat. They are perfect for a mid-morning snack, a before-during-or-after workout energy boost or to satisfy a sweet craving.
Eat more healthy hemp
Brimming with protein, fibre, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins, it’s no surprise that hemp seeds, hemp seed oil, and hemp protein powder are popular choices for those on plant-based, vegan, protein-rich or healthy diets.
Delicious and versatile, hemp can be eaten at every meal of the day, including in snacks and drinks!
To check out our hemp-based, organic vegan products, including shelled hemp seeds, hemp seed oil and hemp protein powder, please visit our online shop.
Hemp seeds are considered a superfood, packed with plant-based protein and a nutrient-rich profile that includes fibre, minerals, healthy fats and vitamins. But how to eat more hemp? Here are three ways!