Hemp Seeds and Health_Featured_, Nutrition Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
Hemp seeds are a very healthy, nutritious and versatile food. They are rich in protein and contain beneficial fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. I like to sprinkle them over fruit and cereal, and they work well in yogurt and on salads, too. Hemp seeds are a great food for vegans because in addition to being eaten as whole seeds they can be ground to make hemp seed butter, blended with water to make hemp seed milk or pressed to make an oil, a protein powder and a flour.
Healthy Fatty Acids in Hemp Seeds
Hemp seed butter and milk can be made at home or bought in a store. Hemp seed butter can replace peanut butter in sandwiches and on crackers. The milk comes in plain or flavored versions, just like dairy milk. Unlike dairy milk, though, hemp seed milk is a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp protein powder is sold in health food and specialty stores and can be added to foods and to drinks such as smoothies to increase their protein content. Hemp flour is also available and can provide a protein boost to baked goods. Hemp seed oil can be used in smoothies and in cold foods like salads.
When referring to the diet the word “fat” conjures up a bad image in some people’s minds, but it’s actually an essential nutrient. It’s important that we choose healthy fat, however, and that we eat it in moderation. Hemp seeds are a great source of healthy fat.
A two tablespoon serving of hemp seeds contains about 9 grams of fat. This fat consists mainly of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, with a small amount of monounsaturated (very healthy) and saturated (less healthy) fatty acids as well. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (both polyunsaturated) are present in a little over a 3:1 ratio. Some nutritionists say that many of us are eating far too many omega-6 fatty acids in proportion to the omega-3 ones. Hemp seeds contain a good omega-6 to omega-3 ratio…