Hemp seeds are a nutritious food that can be eaten as a snack or added to meals. The seed comes from the hemp plant, which does not contain a traceable amount of THC, the hallucinogenic component of marijuana. Hemp seeds are high in protein and also provide essential fatty acids. Due to their nutrition profile, they may help to stimulate weight loss in some individuals.
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Hemp is an annual plant that belongs to the nettle family. According to the book "Healthy Hemp," this plant will grow almost anywhere, resists pests and crowds out weeds. Hemp grows quickly, only taking 70 to 110 days to mature. The seeds of the hemp plant are small and nut-like and develop in shells in the female plant. They can be eaten whole, toasted or cooked with other foods, adding nutrition to meals.
Hemp seeds contain a wide variety of nutrients, according to author Brigitte Mars in "Better Nutrition" magazine. These nutrients include protein, lipids, choline, inositol and enzymes. Hemp seeds also contain all eight essential amino acids and are an excellent vegetarian source of protein. Finally, hemp seeds contain more essential fatty acids than flaxseeds, which are often touted for their EFA content.
Kym Douglas, in the book "The Black Book of Hollywood Pregnancy Secrets," notes that hemp seeds are one of the superfoods that are a great weight-loss helper. This may be in part due to hemp seeds being high in omega-3 EFAs, which, according to Margaret Furtado in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery," has been shown in studies to increase satiety in those who are overweight or are trying to cut down on calories. Furtado adds that omega-3s have been shown to have anti-obesity effects.
Foods high in omega-3s, such as hemp seeds, have other benefits beyond weight loss through satiety. Omega-3s are linked to regulating mood, sleep, reactions to stress and hormonal actions, according to Furtado. They are also anti-inflammatory. Balancing these systems in the body may be helpful in stimulating weight loss.
Hemp seeds may thin the blood due to their high omega-3 content. If you currently take blood thinning medication, check with your doctor before adding hemp seeds to your diet. The oils in hemp seeds can go rancid over time, so it is advised to keep them in the refridgerator and dispose of them if you do not consume them within two months.