As a buzz term in the cannabis industry, hemp seeds contain a minute amount of the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This chemical gives marijuana its reputation of creating that "high" feeling. However, hemp seeds make a powerful addition to a diet, as they offer essential nutrients.
Hemp seeds provide necessary vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Additional benefits include helping to regulate the immune system and possibly reducing your risk of heart disease.
Minerals in Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds provide a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one serving of hemp seeds meet the following percentages of the recommended daily value: 50 percent for magnesium and phosphorus, 25 percent for zinc and 15 percent for iron.
These crucial minerals deliver oxygen to your brain, build and repair cellular tissues and support immune health. Hemp seeds also offer 4 percent of your daily fiber intake, which improves bowel function and increases your feelings of fullness.
In addition, hemp seeds contain all of the essential amino acids, allowing hemp to serve as a complete source of protein, a complementary for those following the ever-growing plant-based diet movement (which you can see in the popular Navitas hemp products).
In a wide-ranging May 2019 review of hemp seed protein published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, researchers found whole hemp seeds contain 20 to 25 percent protein. After removal of the outer shell, the edible portion of the seed contains, on average, 35.9 percent protein — a heavy concentration of protein in such a small package.
Hemp Hearts Benefits
According to a 2018 American Heart Association update, an estimated 103 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure. The death rate from high blood pressure also increased by nearly 11 percent between 2005 and 2015, and worldwide, high blood pressure remains the most common cause of cardiovascular-related deaths.
As a heart-related benefit, researchers discovered hemp seed protein diets can counteract this epidemic. Hemp seeds could actually mitigate elevated blood pressure and be used as a therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of hypertension, per an August 2014 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Hemp Brain Benefits
Hemp seeds also offer a vegetarian source of omega fatty acids. According to a comprehensive natural products review of hemp seed, its oil provides significant amounts of higher fatty acts such as omega-6 and omega-3. In certain varieties, the omega-9 fatty acid is present in amounts ranging up to 0.5 percent. These fatty acids can play an important role in helping memory and cognition.
Results from an April 2018 review on the neurological benefits of the Cannabis sativa subspecies hemp published in Surgical Neurology International found that compounds in hemp seeds might contain neuroprotective effects. The review's researchers suggest that due to these compound's properties, the seeds could help with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Hemp and Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 50 million Americans have arthritis, making this health condition a leading cause of disability in the United States. One of the most common types is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which a person's immune system attacks their joints.
A major symptom is joint pain, but a July 2014 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology states that hemp seeds could serve as a remedy. Researchers found that the oil reduced preprogrammed cell death and kept cells viable, suggesting the oil can function as an anti-rheumatoid treatment.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: “Basic Report: 12012, Seeds, Hemp Seed, Hulled”
- Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety: “Processing, Nutrition, and Functionality of Hempseed Protein: A Review”
- European Journal of Nutrition “Preventive and Treatment Effects of a Hemp Seed (Cannabis sativa L.) Meal Protein Hydrolysate Against High Blood Pressure in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats”
- American Heart Association: “More Than 100 million Americans Have High Blood Pressure, AHA Says”
- Hemp Seed: “Development & Modification of Bioactivity”
- Arthritis Foundation: “About Arthritis”
- Journal of Ethnopharmacology: “Hempseed Oil Induces Reactive Oxygen Species- and C/EBP Homologous Protein-Mediated Apoptosis in MH7A Human Rheumatoid Arthritis Fibroblast-Like Synovial Cells”
- Surgical Neurology International: "Review of the Neurological Benefits of Phytocannabinoids"
- Navitas Hemp Products: "Navitas Organics"