Hemp is a multi-purpose crop, delivering fibres, shivs, seeds and pharmaceuticals. The fibre is used for light weight papers, insulation material and biocomposites. The shivs, the woody inner core of the stem, are used for animal bedding and construction. Hemp seeds, small nuts with a high nutritional value, can be consumed raw or pressed into hemp seed oil, which has an excellent and unique fatty acid profile. Both seeds and oil are used for human food and animal feed. The non-psychotropic Cannabinoid CBD is an interesting pharmaceutical and food supplement also derived from industrial hemp.
Let’s look at Hemp Seeds for Nutrition
Hemp seeds also known as ’hemp hearts’ pack a nutritional punch. They are rich in healthy fats, protein and minerals.
Hemp seeds are made up of over 30% healthy fats, including alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega 3. The hulled seeds contain 2.6g of ALA in every 3 tablespoons (tbsp). They also contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which supports the growth and function of nerve cells, muscles and organs. GLA is also anti-inflammatory and can decrease prostaglandin E1 which decreases prolactin an in turn can reduce the symptoms of PMS.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to healthy aging throughout life. They are incorporated into the membrane lipid bilayer in virtually all body cells and affect membrane composition, cell signalling cascades, and gene expression, all of which play vital roles in brain development and function, cardiovascular health, and inflammatory response.
Hemp seeds are also high in protein. There is approximately 11g of protein in 2-3tbs of hemp seeds. With a protein content of about 25%. They are wonderful nutrition boost to any vegetarian or vegan diet. With all the amino acids and an amount of protein that is comparable to beef by weight, hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein.
Hemps seeds also contain multiple micronutrients Vitamin E, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Sulphur, Calcium and Zinc.
Hemp seeds contain ‘heart healthy’ compounds including the amino acid arginine. L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, nitric oxide increases blood flow and can help to maintain optimal blood pressure. Nitric oxide will also help blood vessels dilate and therefore help blood flow freely. Insufficient nitric oxide in the body has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Hemp seeds are high in soluble and insoluble fibre. They provide the bulk needed for healthy regular bowel function while feeding the probiotics in your digestive system. This in turn boosts the immune system and helps with the absorption of nutrients.
Hemp seeds contain anti-cancer properties. Due to the high fatty acid profile of hemp seeds, they can decrease inflammation and increase immune function which can play a significant role in supporting the treatment of cancer. The British Journal of Cancer in a 2006 study (1) determined that THC has the potential to stop and possibly reverse glioblastoma multiforme (a type of brain cancer). Further study needs to be conducted in this area but the therapeutic benefits of hemp show future promise. Enjoy your next guilt-free salad with hemp seeds!
Hemp Seed Crusted Trout
2 Rainbow Trout Fillet
30 grams Dijon Mustard
½ Lemon (sliced into wedges)
40 grams Hemp Seeds
½ tsp Italian Seasoning
½ tsp Nutritional Yeast
Sea Salt & Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small mixing bowl combine the hemp seeds, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast and salt.
- Place the trout fillets on the prepared baking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel. Smear the Dijon mustard evenly on to the top of the fillets.
- Spoon the hemp seed mixture on top of the mustard coating and press down with the back of the spoon to ensure the hemp seeds stick to the fish. Bake for about 9 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakey.
- Serve with fresh lemon wedges and season with additional salt if needed. Enjoy!
- GUZMAN, M et al, “A pilot clinical study of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme”, British Journal of Cancer, 2006 Jun 27; Vol 95: 197–203 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7282/#A32362