Hemp Seeds Benefits and How to Use ‘Em
Hemp seeds benefits are amazing. I’ve fallen in love with these soft, buttery seeds. Here’s how I use hemp seeds—and how you can too.
Written by Genevieve Howland Updated on May 24, 2019
I love me some seeds. I had heard about the great hemp seeds benefits, but I shied away from them as I just couldn’t get past the idea that I was eating… linen. But then again, people used olive oil in their lamps for years, so what do I know? 😉
Michael, aka Papa Natural, ordered a bag in one of his big Vitacost shopping sprees and loved them in his smoothie. I was intrigued. I grabbed a handful and… Delicious! Soft, buttery, and easy on the tummy.
Since then, I love to put hemp seeds on salads, on top of eggs or just by the handful!
Hemp Seeds Benefits: Nutrition!
Can we say WOW! These little seeds are mighty in nutrition!
A complete plant protein
They are one of the very few plant proteins that is complete, meaning that they contain all of the amino acids, including the ones our bodies can’t make themselves.
Hemp Seeds Benefits: Rich in vitamins and minerals
Hemp seeds contain both vitamins and minerals essential for good overall health.
- Vitamin A – Supports eye, hair, skin and immune function
- Vitamin B1 – Supports nervous system and brain development
- Vitamin B2 – Supports healthy eyes and skin
- Vitamin B3 – Improves digestion
- Vitamin B5 – Assists liver in metabolizing toxins
- Vitamin B6 – Helps form red blood cells
- Vitamin D – Strengthens bones and helps utilize calcium
- Vitamin E – Boosts metabolism and supports hair, nail, and skin health
- Calcium – Supports healthy bone development
- Iron – Helps the blood carry oxygen
- Magnesium – Supports muscles function, plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism
- Manganese – Supports healthy sugar metabolism, antioxidant properties
- Phosphorus – Balances acid/base in the body, helps build bones
- Potassium – Balances sodium in the body, helps regulate fluids in the body
- Zinc – Supports nerve and muscle function, keeps copper in balance
Let’s just talk about Magnesium for a minute…
One of the greatest hemp seeds benefits is that they are so rocking in magnesium. Most of us are deficient in this precious mineral. I love to get my nutrients through food as much as possible and hemp seeds are a powerhouse. One ounce of hemp seeds contain a whopping 192 mg of magnesium, that’s nearly 50% of your RDA!
Hemp seeds contain a special GLA Fatty Acid
One of the best hemp seeds benefits is the GLA. GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is an amazing fatty acid that can help regulate hormones by supporting prostaglandin production.
Getting enough GLA in the diet is also shown to fend off diseases such as diabetic neuropathy, Rheumatoid arthritis, and breast cancer.
GLA is an omega 6 fatty acid, which may be confusing considering omega 6’s are “supposed” to be bad for us.
Here’s the thing, it’s not the omega 6’s themselves that are bad, it’s that we often consume too many, especially linoleic acid from processed vegetable oils, so the natural balance becomes out of whack.
Hemp seeds actually have an ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids (3:1), and GLA is the best omega 6 fatty acid to consume. But considering it’s almost impossible to avoid excess omega 6’s in our modern world, it’s a good idea to add cod liver oil to balance the excess omega 6’s.
Was that going too deep down the rabbit hole for you? Welcome to my world. 😉
No Phytic Acid!
Another one of hemp seeds benefits is that they contain no phytic acid! These acids can block absorption of key nutrients like calcium and iron in the digestive tract. That’s why I usually soak and/or sprout my nuts and seeds, but you don’t have to do so with hemp seeds.
Hemp Seeds Benefits: Fiber
Hemp seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Insoluble fiber helps keep the digestive tract moving smoothly and controls the pH of the intestines which helps avoid colon cancer and constipation.
- Soluble fiber is helpful in regulating blood sugar levels and can help control “bad” cholesterol. The fiber in hemp seeds helps to curb sugar craving and general hunger.
Hemp Is Not Marijuana
Many people are skeptical of hemp because they are concerned that it’s too closely related to marijuana.
Truth is, hemp is an entirely different plant (but from the same family) and has less than .3% THC (compared to 5-10% in marijuana).
Rest assured, you can’t get high (or in trouble!) from eating hemp seeds.
How to Eat Hemp Seeds
Since they are made up of fragile oils, it’s best to consume hemp seeds raw and keep them stored in the refrigerator.
Add them to homemade bars. Take dates, figs, apricots and mix with nuts like walnuts and pulverized almonds. Mix in hemp seeds for more nutrition and good fat!
Add hemp seed to your favorite salad dressing. The fatty acids will help you absorb the vitamins and minerals from your greens! You can also just sprinkle some on top of your salad.
Make homemade hemp seed milk. I like homemade almond milk but if you have to avoid nuts, hemp seed milk is a nut free, dairy free milk alternative.
Add them to a smoothie. Throw a tablespoon into one of these:
There are a lot of other creative ways to use hemp seeds like chocolate hemp seed butter, lamb and hemp meatballs, and hemp seed tabouli. The possibilities are endless!
Hemp Seeds Are the New Acia Berry
They’re versatile, delicious, and power packed, what’s not to love?
How About You?
Have you tried hemp seeds? What’s your favorite way to eat them?
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About the Author
Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 85,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.
Dennis Boshnack Nov 26 at 11:42 pm
I got this from another web site. Is this right or wrong and why?
For years I didn’t understand why the Weston A. Price Foundation discouraged the consumption of hemp seeds, until finally I was able to ask Sally Fallon herself, through a mutual friend. I got a good answer: polyunsaturated fats (source). Our bodies do not benefit from polyunsaturated fats (source), and hemp seeds are full of them. So really, we shouldn’t eat hemp seeds regularly. When we do eat them, they’re only high in phytic acid when unhulled, and most hemp seeds are sold hulled.
Danielle Nov 25 at 12:05 am
My friend owns a business and makes her own almond, oat, and hemp milk. I recently learned about all the benefits of hemp from her too! Thank you for sharing!
Natalie Nov 24 at 7:57 pm
I love hemp seeds and could use the extra protein boost in pregnancy but my midwives cannot tell me if they’re safe to consume while pregnant! It’s so frustrating. Also, is hemp oil safe to use in dr bronners soap while pregnant? Thanks!
Victoria Dec 1 at 9:07 am
Yes their completely safe. I’m guilty of being paranoid of doing certain things while pregnant too, but you’ll know if something is wrong.
Bridget Nov 24 at 5:57 pm
I have recently started eating them after starting the Plant Paradox in September. They are super yummy! I mostly top my salads, put I have put them in smoothies. Thanks for the other suggestions!
Mary Nov 24 at 12:25 pm
I love hemp seeds! I enjoy them in soup, on eggs, avocado, cottage cheese, and sprinkled on wraps. So yummy! Since they have a nuttier flavor I prefer them on/in non sweet foods. That’s just my preference though.
Jelvin Edes Aug 26 at 8:54 pm
I agree that the hemp seeds have many nutritions benefits and the best way to use hemp seeds by adding it into your diet meal, just like sprinkling whole or ground seeds on cereal or yogurt, adding the seeds to smoothies, baking with hemp seeds and others rich in omega-3s.
Ann Jul 6 at 1:46 pm
I just bought a mix of chia, hemp & flax seeds. Is it okay to them to water to drink throughout the day?
Joy Roxborough Jan 27 at 5:03 pm
I have read elsewhere tgat hemp seeds DO contain phytic acid…
David Meddings Oct 2 at 5:43 pm
Just a correction – flax/linseed is linen. Hemp is really superior to linen and cotton
Kevin Sep 11 at 8:38 pm
I just eat a tablespoon of them directly out of the bag ( shelled ) first thing in the morning. Taste good. Kida like sunflower seeds. Let me know if i shouldñt be eating them that way.
jerry Aug 14 at 10:12 pm
can whole, unhulled, unshelled hemp seeds be consumed or MUST the shells be removed. i want to grind them up along with my flax and chia seeds.
Hemp seeds benefits are amazing. I've fallen in love with these soft, buttery seeds. Here's how I use hemp seeds—and how you can too.
How to use Hemp Seeds in Your Cooking
Cannabis sativa is having a moment—from selling out in our first recreational marijuana stores to adding heft as hemp to vegetarian dishes around town. And while everyone is talking about the former, we’re here to celebrate the latter.
Hemp seeds (which have no psychoative effects) are a favorite of Colin Patterson, chef and owner of Sutra Seattle (Wallingford, 1605 N 45th St.; 206.547.1348; sutraseattle.com), the city’s only vegan fine dining restaurant. “Hemp seeds are one of the only plant-based foods that contains the same omega fats you find in fish,” says Colin Patterson, who has always relied on whole foods for flavor, not fake meats and proteins such as tempeh or seitan. “I don’t think [fake proteins] showcase food very well, it’s an easy out, and it’s also not very nutritious.”
Hemp seeds can be pulverized and used as a thickening agent for vegan-friendly “creams.” “If you add saffron to broth-soaked hemp seeds and purée them, you get a similar effect to a seafood saffron sauce,” as the omegas contribute a subtle fishy undertone.
At Sutra Seattle in Wallingford, Patterson uses hemp seeds for sauces, creams, salad dressings and soups. The seeds help enrich lobster mushroom risotto or a house-made Caesar salad, which he also blends with seaweed for a strong, ocean-like flavor. They may also be eaten raw, although Patterson suggests soaking them for at least 15 minutes before eating. “They have a very subtle, toasty flavor,” and soaking them helps to release the seeds’ nutritional flavor. “You’re making them come alive.”
Why you should try hemp seeds: For vegans or people with dairy allergies, hemp seeds give food a velvety texture that is otherwise hard to create. “Without [having to use] coconut milk or nuts, hemp seeds let you explore a fatty feel,” Patterson explains, “and diversity is good in a diet.”
How to use them at home: Soak the seeds in liquid—broth, water or vegetable juice—for 15 minutes or longer. Purée and strain to remove any solid pieces of the seed. For adding creaminess to soups, plan to use about 1 cup of hemp seeds per every 1.5 cups of liquid. For salad dressing, add soaked seeds to a blender with fresh herbs, lemon juice and water, and blend until the desired consistency is reached—no need for oil, as the seeds add the fat.
Where to find hemp seeds: Patterson orders them in bulk and recommends purchasing shelled hemp seeds, which break down more easily. They are sold as hemp hearts or shelled hemp seeds at most natural food stores, including Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com; $21.99/pound). They are also available in 7-ounce (organic) and 8-ounce (non-organic) bags at PCC Natural Markets (pccnaturalmarkets.com, $10.50).
Click here for Patterson’s recipe for smoked lentil sunchoke cake with black garlic hempseed sauce.
Cannabis sativa is having a moment—from selling out in our first recreational marijuana stores to adding heft as hemp to vegetarian dishes around town. And while everyone is talking about the former, we’re here to celebrate the latter.Hemp seeds (which have no psychoative effects) are a favorite of Colin Patterson, chef and owner of Sutra Seattle (Wallingford, 1605 N 45th St.;