Organic shelled hemp seeds are rich in essential amino acids, proteins and phytonutrients that help boost our immune system and keep our heart, blood vessels, major organs, cells and skin all in tip top condition. And this deliciously creamy seed with a pleasing nutty flavour manages to combine the finest qualities of both pine nuts and cashew nuts, yet for a fraction of the price. This article provides an insight into the almost infinite benefits of shelled hemp seed and shows you how to make the most of this versatile, vegetarian source of cost-effective nutrients.
The origins of hemp seed
Hemp belongs to the mulberry family and is one of the oldest known medicinal plants on our planet. As far as we know, this powerful and healing plant originated in Central Asia and its use dates back to the Stone Age. The Chinese utilised hemp to make clothes, shoes, rope and even an early type of paper. Hemp’s potent medicinal properties have been harnessed throughout the centuries by a variety of cultures, from the ancient Indians, Mesopotamians, Sumerians, Persians, and Egyptians to the indigenous tribes of Central America. The variety of hemp that is used to produce shelled hemp seeds is also known as industrial hemp, which unlike marijuana, has virtually no psychoactive effects.
What makes shelled hemp seed so special?
There are in excess of 3 million edible plants in the world, yet none compare to the incredibly high nutritional value of hemp seeds.
Shelled hemp seeds are an exceptional source of complete protein – a protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine essential amino acids required by humans. Only algae such as spirulina, chlorella and AFA blue-green algae contain more vegetable protein than hemp seed. And 65% of this protein is in the form of globulin edestin, which is considered the most edible and readily digestible form of protein available. We need protein for muscle growth, endurance, to balance our blood sugar levels, accelerate healing, encourage a natural cleansing of our bodies and to promote strong teeth and healthy bones. Those on strict vegan or rawfood diet often suffer from a lack of protein, so hemp seed is an ideal addition to their diet.
Peeled hemp seeds contain over 20 beneficial minerals including magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, platinum, phosphorus, sulphur, boron, nickel, germanium, tin, iodine, chromium, silver and lithium in addition to number of important trace elements that are considered fundamental for a well functioning human body.
Vitamin E and Lecithin
Shelled hemp seeds are packed with vitamins and a large number of enzymes and antioxidants such as vitamin E and lecithin, both of which are important for healthy brain chemistry. Lecithin also supports efficient liver function, which in turn promotes the body’s natural cleansing process.
Essential fatty acids
Shelled hemp seeds contain the highest concentration of essential fatty acids of all seeds in the world. More importantly hemp seeds boast a 4:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, which according to a study by the Center for Genetics on Nutrition and Health in 2001 called, ‘The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases’, was specifically associated with a 70% decrease in mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In addition, their report points out that ‘it has been estimated that the present Western diet is “deficient” in omega-3 fatty acids with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of 15–20/1’. Shelled hemp seeds also contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) an anti-inflammatory acid, which in combination with the chlorophyll found in the seeds, helps to regulate our hormone levels.
Shelled hemp seeds are rich in alpha, beta and gamma globulin, which strengthen our immune system, repair old and damaged tissue and create brand new tissue.
Shelled hemp seeds contain a very small amount of THC (less than 1%), the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, which is used in modern medicine to treat a range of diseases including cancer, eye diseases (such as cataracts and glaucoma), ADHD/ ADD, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia and tremors. It is also used to manage pain and reduce some of the side effects associated with prednisone and chemotherapy.
The humble hemp seed even contains histidine, an essential amino acid, which is particularly beneficial for children. Histidine is a precursor of histamine, a compound released by our immune system cells during an allergic reaction. It is required for human growth, restoring damaged tissue and protecting the myelin sheaths that enclose our nerve cells. It’s also necessary for the production of red and white blood cells, to prevent the kind of internal damage caused by radiation and for the removal of heavy metals from the body. As histadine stimulates the production of gastric juices in our stomach, it’s especially beneficial for those suffering from indigestion.
Help yourself to hemp seeds
Shelled hemp seeds are a tasty and nutritious addition to any diet and, as they contain no gluten, are especially suitable for those on a gluten free diet.
Below are 3 winning ways to enjoy them.
Scatter onto Soups n Salads
Shelled hemp seeds are a crunchy addition to soups and salads, resulting in a delicious, nutty flavour and added bite. Scatter shelled hemp seeds liberally over your favourite salad leaves, add a few splashes of cold press extra virgin olive oil, toss and serve or add the seeds as a final flourish to both hot and cold soups.
Stir into shakes and smoothies
For added flavour, volume and texture, mix peeled hemp seeds into your choice shakes, smoothies and nut milks.
Heavenly hemp seed milk
Shelled hemp seeds can be used to prepare a heavenly hemp milk that boasts a richer and creamier consistency than standard milk …and it’s perfect for those who are lactose intolerant.
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