9 Benefits of Hemp Seeds for Your Body and Skin
Produced by the hemp plant known as Cannabis Sativa, hemp seeds have been scientifically confirmed to be nutritious, rich in minerals, protein and healthy fats. Although they come from the same family as cannabis (marijuana), hemp seeds contain only negligible amounts of THC, the hallucinatory compound in marijuana accounting for its drug-like effects.
9 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
1. Hemp seeds are rich in nutrients.
Containing more than 70% fat, hemp seeds are exceptionally rich in essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid (omega-6) (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3) (ALA), as well as gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), which are known to boost the immune system. Hemp seeds are a also a good source of vitamin E and minerals like potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc alongside vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, chlorophyll and enzymes that are essential for certain bodily functions. (1, 2)
2. Hemp seeds support hormonal balance.
Hemp seeds are high in GLA, which has been confirmed to help prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins support smooth muscle contraction, keep inflammation in check, and control body temperature. (3) GLA is recommended for hormonal balance because it is the building block of prostaglandin, a hormone responsible for reducing both the physical and emotional effects of prolactin imbalance, a condition that is experienced by the majority of women of reproductive age. It may even reduce the symptoms of menopause. (4)
3. Hemp seeds may relieve arthritis and joint pain.
In one study, an omega-6 fatty acid found in hemp seed oil, relieved symptoms of arthritis compared to placebo. Additionally, the fatty acids in hemp seeds were found to support the GLA effect by helping reduce inflammation. (5)
In one study, participants saw up to a 25% reduction in arthritis symptoms by consuming the GLA found in hemp seeds, as compared to a placebo. For optimal results, take 1 tbsp of hemp seed oil daily with fish oil.
4. Hemp seeds support weight loss.
Hemp suppresses appetite and helps you feel full for a longer period of time and reduces sugar cravings. Some nutritionists recommend adding 4 tablespoons to breakfast to prevent excess hunger throughout the entire day because a 30-gram serving of this seed contains around 11 grams protein, or around 25% of its caloric content. Protein is the most satiating out of the three macronutrients, and it provides all the essential amino acids, making it comparable to other proteins such as beef, eggs, chicken or even quinoa. (6)
5. Hemp seeds promote digestive health.
With half of its carbohydrate content coming from fiber, hemp seeds were found to provide the just enough amount of bulk required for the gastrointestinal system to function at its best. Fiber is nature’s broom, and consuming adequate amounts of fiber every day are key to long term gut health and sustainable weight loss. Fiber slows down gastric emptying, which prevents blood sugar spikes and cravings. Furthermore, the fiber in hemp seeds supports good bacteria in the gut, which can contribute towards a stronger immune system.
6. Hemp seeds are beneficial to hair, skin and nails.
Hemp seeds have been found to help boost skin health. They truly work miracles on dry, red and flaking skin. Widely used in premium cosmetic products, hemp seed oil is a key ingredient in lip balms, lotions and soaps. The oil penetrates the deeper layers of the skin and supports cell growth, promoting soft, younger-looking skin. It is also known to heal various skin disorders, such as psoriasis and eczema. To take full advantage of these benefits, daily intake of about two tablespoons of hemp seeds is also recommended. Also, a homemade preparation of hemp seed oil and shea butter may be used as an alternative to moisturizer.
7. Hemp seeds protect against cancer.
Due to its high fatty acid content, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil boost immunity and control inflammation. The British Journal of Cancer notes that the THC found in hemp seeds can curb and even reverse glioblastoma multiforme (a fatal form of brain cancer). The journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment reported miraculous symptom improvement for advanced stage breast cancer. German researchers from the University of Rostock communicated similar results for lung cancer. Though future trials are needed to evaluate the extent of its antitumoral activity, hemp seeds show promise as an anti-cancer food. (7)
8. Hemp seeds promote cardiovascular health.
The key prescription for building and maintaining a healthy heart includes a balanced diet that consists mostly of whole foods, and minimal processed foods and refined sugar. Hemp seeds fall under these general conditions and more. It also contains arginine, which is responsible for the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a molecule that dilates blood vessels, causing them to relax, resulting in lowered blood pressure. Lower blood pressure has been linked to a lower risk of stroke and heart disease.
In one study, results show that increased arginine intake lowered levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker that has been linked to cardiovascular disease. (8)
9. Hemp seeds may improve skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Hemp seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids, with a 3:1 ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s. This is recommended for most people in order to reap the benefits of fatty acids for boosting immunity. Psoriasis and eczema may be a sign of suboptimal levels of essential fatty acids in the blood, a condition that may be alleviated by applying hemp seed oil to the affected area, or by consuming hemp seeds orally. (9)
Other Uses of Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds have a wide variety of uses in the health industry. Its fibers are considered to be the longest and most solid of all natural fibers, and the plant can be grown even without the use of pesticides or harmful chemicals. Hemp may also be used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products such as biofuel, plastics, textiles, paper, food, clothes and rope.
The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana
Most people think that hemp and marijuana are one and the same, and to a certain extent, they are right. Hemp refers to strains of Cannabis sativa that are bred specifically for things like topical ointments and oils, construction materials, cloth fibers, and a wide variety of other uses other than intoxication.
On the other hand, marijuana is used to describe the strains of Cannabis sativa that are bred for the trichomes that grow on the flowers of the plant. Hemp is considered a plant and is known for having low THC content, with the upper end being capped off at 0.3%. Past this point, it will be considered marijuana instead. Hemp also contains another cannabinoid called CBD, and produces more of it than THC, while marijuana produces more CBD than THC.
Due to their oil and fat high content, hemp seeds may have certain side effects if consumed extensively. One tablespoon of shelled hemp seeds contains between 3 and 4g of polyunsaturated fat or ‘good’ fat and plenty of omega-3 and omega-6.
Particularly in the beginning, if your digestive system is a bit sensitive to dietary changes, you may experience mild diarrhea. That is why it is best to start including hemp seeds gradually in your diet, starting with a teaspoonful a day and slowly increase intake to the recommended serving of 2 tablespoons daily.
2011 research established that hemp seeds are not likely to cause any drug interactions. However, before adding them to your diet, it is best that you consult your physician or naturopaths about any nonprescription medication you may be on. If you are on anticoagulant therapy, be cautious, as hemp seeds may cause bleeding. (4)
Eating hemp seeds regularly can be highly beneficial for your health. With an irresistible nutty flavor, hemp seeds are a great addition to your grocery list as it supplies a wide range of nutrients that support overall health and wellness. For a very long time, they were ignored by nutritionists, but they are now among the top foods recommended for balancing hormones, boosting metabolic rate and improving digestion.