This article is a summary of the research paper Nutritional Profile and Benefits of Hemp Seed, Nut, and Oil by Gero Leson and focuses on hemp nutrition facts.
The hemp crop is fondly called a superfood for its naturally-rich culture of nutrition. Hemp nutrition foods are continuously expanding on grocery shelves and across natural food stores.
The seeds of the hemp plant and the oil extracted from them are edible. This is in addition to its medicinal and cosmetic uses. Hemp seeds are good for consumption in their raw, sprout, and powder form. These can also be made into a liquid and used for baking. Or to make beverages such as hemp milk.
What contributes to hemp nutrition?
Like most other oilseeds, hemp nuts contain oil (typically 44%), protein (33%), dietary fibre, and carbohydrates (12%). In addition to this, the nut contains vitamins, phytosterols, and trace minerals.
That maximum percentage of hemp nutrition lies in the composition of:
- Its oil, which contains healthy fatty acids
- Its protein, which contains all the essential amino acids.
Essential Fatty Acids in Hemp Seeds
Effect on the human body: formation of healthy cell membranes. Proper thyroid and adrenal activity. Regulate hormone production. Proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. Regulation of blood pressure; liver function, immune and inflammatory responses. Regulation of blood clotting. Crucial for transport and breakdown of cholesterol. Support healthy skin and hair.
Most oil seeds contain plenty of essential fatty acid Linoleic Acid (LA) from the omega-6 family. But offer little of the essential fatty acid Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) from the omega-3 family. Health organisations across the world agree that humans should ingest these two essential fatty acids in the ratio of 4:1.
However, the present diets contain a ratio of approximately 10:1 or higher. Clinical studies find that this imbalanced ratio is a major co-factor in health conditions such as Arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, Diabetes, and skin and mood disorders.
Hemp nutrition gains advantage in that hemp nut and oil offer an omega6/omega 3 ratio of 3:1 or less differing with the variety of the plant. No other vegetable oils have been studied to offer such an optimal ratio of essential fatty acids.
Super Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Moreover, hemp oil provides a substantial amount of the rarer super polyunsaturated fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid and stearidonic acid. These are produced naturally in the body from LA and ALA respectively. Supplementation of these aids in the reduction of symptoms of atopic dermatitis and other skin disorders.
Saturated and Trans-Fatty Acids
Effect on the human body: Trans-fat raises the bad cholesterol level in the body and lowers the good cholesterol levels. Regular intake of trans-fats increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Typically, hemp oil contains less than 10% saturated fatty acids and zero trans-fatty acids.
Protein in Hemp Seeds
Effect on the human body: Body uses protein to build and repair tissues. Proteins are used to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an essential building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Hemp protein is, naturally, of exceptional quality in terms of amino acids composition and protein structure. All essential amino acids are present in hemp protein in nutritionally significant amounts and at a ratio closer to complete sources of protein. Hemp nutrition just keeps getting better.
Hemp protein consists of 33% of Albumin and 67% of Edestine—a structure closely similar to proteins manufactured in our blood. This makes hemp protein easily digestible. In studies, hemp protein appears to be free of anti-nutrients and thus there is no interference with protein uptake.
Why is hemp a superfood?
Hemp nutrition wins over other sources of fats and proteins because of its optimally desirable balance of basic nutrients. On consuming hemp seeds, nuts, and/or oils, the human body receives what it needs without a caloric burst of non-essential nutrients. That is to say, hemp seeds, nuts, and oil are easy and healthy on the body.
Hemp Nutrition Facts in a Nutshell
According to a report from USDA National Nutrient Database, a 20 gram serving of hemp seeds contains: