The Amazing Benefits of Hemp Seeds
~ by Joanna Beujekian-Steven
Can a seed really provide all the essential amino acids, along with healthy fats, important minerals such as iron and zinc, and even chlorophyll? The answer is: yes! Hemp seeds, which couldn’t be grown in the USA at the time this article was written, can do all this and more. Here are a few reasons why adding hemp seeds to your diet can greatly benefit you by increasing your intake of vital nutrients and filling the gaps of an otherwise potentially unbalanced diet.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and chemical reactions within your organisms will always call for amino acids instead of actual protein. Indeed, we have to expand energy to break down the protein we ingest in order to obtain useful amino acids, and when the proteins have been cooked, and therefore denatured (like transparent egg whites which become white in contact with heat), even more energy is needed. Hemp seeds are a great source of amino acids and easily digestible protein, and if you get them from a truly raw source like Manitoba Harvest, you really are fueling your system with one of the best protein sources out there.
Minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc are vital to your well-being. Deficiencies are very likely to lead to health problems like anemia, osteoporosis, brain degeneration and more. But, not all sources of minerals are equal. For example, dairy has an acidifying effect on the body, and calcium needs to be used to rectify the resulting pH imbalance. It is also more difficult to digest, and an increasingly large number of people discover that they’re lactose intolerant. Again, hemp seeds are valuable allies in your mineralization. They are very rich in iron, providing 40% of your daily needs in a single ¼ cup, and they are also rich in zinc, a mineral which can be hard to find in many diets, but even more in a vegetarian one (arguably one of the healthiest diets regardless of this fact).
Omega 6 and 3 Fatty Acids
While some try to avoid fats at all costs, it is now well known that omega 3 fatty acids might play a key role in fighting anxiety, depression and other mild mood disorders. But, standard diets are usually very low in Omega 3s, and fish is becoming increasingly high in heavy metals and other pollutants which make it an unsustainable way to get enough healthy fatty acids as fish populations keep falling. Hemp seeds contain a perfect balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids and are an easy and pleasant way to get more of them without the often encountered inconveniences of animal sources.
Being a plant food, hemp seeds are naturally devoid of cholesterol. In an Iranian study where the effects of hemp oil were tested on rats, researchers found that after eating hemp seeds, the rats’ LDL levels decreased while their HDL levels increased. They therefore recommended that people with high LDL cholesterol levels use more hemp products in their meals.
Hemp is a beautifying food. In a Finnish study from 2005, the effect of hemp oil in patients with atopic dermatitis was studied. After 20 weeks, the treatment group showed higher levels of healthy fats, their skin quality increased, and their need for medication decreased. According to the researchers, “Dietary hemp seed oil caused significant changes in plasma fatty acid profiles and improved clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis. It is suggested that these improvements resulted from the balanced and abundant supply of PUFAs in this hemp seed oil.”
According to David Wolfe in his book Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future, “sulfur-bearing amino acids such as cysteine and methionine [both present in hemp seeds] help the liver and nervous system detoxify poisons. They also improve the immune system, physical strength, flexibility, agility, complexion, hair luster, speed of healing, and the functionality of the liver and pancreas.”
There are many reasons why it would probably be wise to add hemp seeds to your diet; these are just a few of them. With their broad spectrum of amino acids, high mineral content, perfect balance of Omega fatty acids, and their many health promoting qualities, hemp seeds really are one of the most perfect foods to feed your body.