June 18th, 2013

The Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

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Groovy Green Livin Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds have slowly made there way onto my growing list of edible seeds. Most of these edible seeds have made their way into my smoothies (my Blendtec has been getting an intense workout this year) and are sprinkled on many dishes throughout the week. These seeds aren’t for smoking, but they do pack a powerful nutritional punch. For the reasons you are about to read about hemp seeds are not only on my list, but they’re making their way to the top since their super hero qualities are hard to beat.

Groovy Green Livin Hemp SeedsOn a recent trip to our local Whole Foods Market I found myself starring at a bag of hemp seeds. I’ve been wanting to give them a try every since chia seeds were such a big hit.

There were several brands to choose from, but I was drawn to this brand (Manitoba Harvest Organic Shelled Hemp Seeds) because it was organic.

Health benefits of hemp seeds

  • Hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Hemp is a high protein seed and contains all of the essential amino acids (similar to flax). Great addition for those eating vegan or vegetarian diets.
  • Two tablespoons contains 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.
  • They’re filled with other nutrients including:
    • Chlorophyll and Vitamin E.
    • Important B vitamins.
    • Folic acid (important for women who are trying or may become pregnant)
    • Phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are involved in energy metabolism, protein and bone synthesis.
  • Generally hemp seeds are easily digestible and don’t leave you gassy or bloated. 

Where do hemp seeds come from?

Many people think hemp is marijuana, but they’re not the same. Though hemp comes from a variety of Cannabis, it contains very little of the chemical THC which is the active ingredient in pot. The hemp plant, even for culinary purposes such as hemp seeds, is for the most part still illegal to grow in the United States. Hemp seeds are mainly grown outside of the US. When Colorado voters legalized marijuana in November of 2012, they also legalized hemp.

What do they taste like?

Hemp seeds look a bit like sesame seeds with a green tint. I found them to taste a bit nutty-but not a strong nut flavor. I’ve heard people describe the flavor as a cross between a pine nut and a walnut flavor.

How to use hemp seeds

I’m just starting to experiment with hemp seeds, but I’ve used them in my smoothies and sprinkled them on salads. Next up testing them out as a nut butter or mixing them into my oatmeal.

What’s YOUR favorite way to eat hemp seeds?

photo credit: digiyesica via photopin cc
Disclosure: There are a few affiliate links in this post. Any purchases made will help support this blog. Thank you!

20 Responses to “The Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds”

  1. Hi Lori:

    Good post and Manitoba Harvest is a good company. I would add however that it is important to know not just where your seeds come from (i.e., are they organic? where they grown by farmers who understand that taking care of their land contributes to the health of the planet? etc.), but also how the seeds are processed.

    For example, are the seeds processed in a facility free of other nuts so that no cross-contamination is possible? Were they processed mechanically instead of chemically with potentially toxic chemicals? If you are purchasing hemp seed oil, hemp seed flour or hemp seed protein powder: were the seeds processed at temperatures lower than 50C (i.e., they are many different types of “cold pressing”)? Were the seeds processed and the oil packaged in an oxygen-free environment to prevent early oxidization? Is the package Earth-conscious? PBA-free? Were the seeds properly cleaned of debris? Was each batch tested for THC and chemical residues? Are the results of such tests available? And many more.

    Hemp seeds has been used for millenia (the earliest known use dates back to 20,000 BC) for food, clothing, medicine, etc. Most of the rest of the world freely farms and uses hemp. Much confusion exists in the US over hemp which has been joined with marijuana as an “evil weed.” That story begins in the 1920s with the development of Rayon by DuPont. However, they are two very different plants. Much like a Chihuahua and St. Bernard are two very different dogs.

    Personally, I mix my hemp seeds with my smoothies, or spread them over my buttered toasts in the morning. I also fry my eggs with hemp seed oil.

    Full disclosure: I am the founder of EcoStar Health, Inc., an online retailer of premium hemp seed foods, deluxe body care products formulated by Tracy Darling, MD, and human-grade organic pet foods and supplements.


    Jean-Pierre Ruiz, President & CEO
    EcoStar Health, Inc.

  2. Great post on one of my favorite vegan nutrient sources: hemp!
    What’s so great about hemp seeds: hemp seeds do not require soaking, unlike many other nuts and seeds. You can just use them as is, blend in a smoothie, add to crackers, toss in your salad or eat from a spoon.
    You can make your own hemp milk, hemp butter, hemp pesto and hemp salad dressings. I am going to be corny and add: “Hemp, Hemp, Hooray! That’s how much I love the creamy texture of hemp-based foods.
    I ditched soymilk and replaced it with hemp milk a while ago and never looked back! I add hemp milk to my tea to make lattes. Hemp milk is a great addition to cereal and granola.
    Hemp seeds are versatile and so easy to use. Fall in love with hemp!

  3. I’ve never tried hemp seeds. I had no idea they contained protein. Yeah! another source for non-meat protein. When you described the flavor as across between pine nuts and walnuts, I immediately thought I can try them in my spinach pies in place of pine nuts. I will have to give them a try next time I am at Whole Foods.
    Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) recently posted..The Best Snack Mix Ever!My Profile

  4. […] + Health benefits of hemp seeds. […]

  5. Let me know what you think Kristina. I’m really loving them in my smoothies.

  6. Good point Deborah-no soaking required. Do you make your own hemp milk? I’ve never tried that. Thanks for adding some great hemp info!

  7. This is some great info, I did not know much about hemp seeds before now. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I knew hemp was used in products and fabric but didn’t know it was an edible product. I normally have flax or chia seeds. Glad to know they contain protein!
    Sarah recently posted..SquareHue GiveawayMy Profile

  9. I tried 3 tbsps of them for the first time with a cup of plain greek yogurt and a tbsp of honey. It was very good. The seeds mostly added some texture.

  10. I just received my hemp seeds (Organic Nutiva brand) in the mail this week. Fist time buyer. I found a recipe to add ground hemp seeds to popcorn, today I added whole ones to my tuna salad and later sprinkled on tortilla chips. All were very good. Very minimal taste, slightly nutty perhaps. I am all for the nutrients that they contain tho.

  11. Hi Joy, You’ll have to let me know how the hemp seeds taste with popcorn. Enjoy!

  12. […] I’m getting enough protein, fat + carbs. Macronutrients. Adding in ingredients like flax, hemp + chia seeds. Spirulina  + Maca. Berries. Greens. Drizzles of honey. Avocados + sprouts. Almonds + […]

  13. Hemp is not only a superfood for your body but it also has great number of potential industrial uses. I

  14. These look great, I love hemp seeds in small doses, the taste and textures get a bit overwhelming with larger bites, thank you for sharing!

  15. I had no idea that hemp seeds were so helpful and even beneficial! It is always good to learn of a new food that can provide tried and tested health benefits. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Hemp has so many incredible benefits. It’s like a superfood. I normally use hemp oil as a way to treat my anxiety.

  17. Awesome post! There are so many wonderful uses for Hemp. Thanks for sharing!

  18. There are so many different things you can use hemp seeds in, either as a main ingredient, or just a sprinkle to add that nutritional kick to your diet.

  19. Hey Lori! This is amazing! Thanks for sharing. Could Hemp seed be a good replacement for Sesame seed? Hemp seed is like a super food, probably going to try it with my smoothie!

  20. You could certainly try hemp seeds in your smoothie. I’m sure they would be delicious!

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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