Hemp seeds are the achenes (small, dry, one-seeded fruits) of the Cannabis sativa plant. Packed with nutrients, fibre and antioxidants, they offer a whole host of benefits when incorporated into the daily diet. It’s one of the only perfect plant-based proteins containing all 20 amino acids. The building blocks that create a complete source of protein are often hard to find in the plant world. What’s even better is, hemp includes the nine which the human body cannot produce.
Hemp seeds have become known as a ‘superfood’ thanks to their dense nutritional profile. They contain 30% fat, 80% of which is the ‘good’ kind – polyunsaturated. Rich in Omega 6 (linoleic acid) and Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid), both of which the body doesn’t produce, they’re also full of Vitamin E, known for balancing cholesterol and fighting ‘free radicals’. These have negative effects like breaking down healthy cells, which can lead to heart disease and cancer. As Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant properties, it can reduce this damage, lessening the effects of ageing in cells and fighting inflammation. Vitamin E is also known for repairing skin damage, thickening hair and balancing hormones.
Other minerals hemp seeds contain include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc. A great source of essential fatty acids, they contain one of the best ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 found in nature. Their 3:1 profile is considered the optimal ratio for these kind of fats. Hemp seeds contain tons of protein with more than 25% total calories from protein alone. If seeking a plant-based protein, hemp seed is much more appealing than flax seed, for example, which contains around 15% protein. If you compare hemp seeds to beef by weight, the statistics are surprisingly similar. Two to three tablespoons of hemp seeds provide around 11 grams of plant based protein.