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The Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Posted Feb 10 2010 10:50am

by Joanna Beujekian-Steven

Can a seed really provide all the essential amino acidsalong with healthy fatsimportant minerals such as iron and zincand even chlorophyll? The answer is: yes! Hemp seedswhich cannot be grown in the USA at the time this article was writtencan do all this and more. Here are a few reasons why adding hemp seeds to your diet can greatly benefit you by increasing your intake of vital nutrients and filling the gaps of an otherwise potentially unbalanced diet.

Photo by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

- Amino acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of proteinand chemical reactions within our organisms will always call for amino acids instead of actual protein. Indeedwe have to expand energy to break down the protein we ingest in order to obtain useful amino acidsand when the proteins have been cookedand therefore denatured (like transparent egg whites which become white in contact with heat)even more energy is needed. Hemp seeds are a great source of amino acids and easily digestible protein, and if you get them from a truly raw source like Manitoba Harvestyou really are fueling your system with one of the best protein sources out there.

- Minerals: Minerals such as ironcalcium and zinc are vital to our well-being. Deficiencies are very likely to lead to health problems like anemiaosteoporosisbrain degeneration and more. Butnot all sources of minerals are equal. For exampledairy has an acidifying effect on the bodyand calcium needs to be used to rectify the resulting pH imbalance. It is also more difficult to digestand an increasingly large number of people discover that they are lactose intolerant. Againhemp seeds are valuable allies in our mineralization. They are very rich in ironproviding 40% of our daily needs in a single ¼ cupand they are also rich in zinca mineral which can be hard to find in many dietsbut even more in a vegetarian one (arguably one of the healthiest diets regardless of this fact).

- Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids: While some try to avoid fats at all costsit is now well known that omega 3 fatty acids might play a key role in fighting anxietydepression and other mild mood disorders. Butstandard diets are usually very low in Omega 3sand fish is becoming increasingly high in heavy metals and other pollutantsand has become an unsustainable way to get enough healthy fatty acids as fish populations keep falling. Hemp seeds contain a perfect balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids, and are an easy and pleasant way to get more of them without the often encountered inconveniences of animal sources.

- Cholesterol: Being a plant foodhemp seeds are naturally devoid of cholesterol. In an Iranian study where the effects of hemp oil were tested on ratsresearchers found that after eating hemp seedsthe rats’ LDL levels decreased while their HDL levels increased. They therefore recommended that people with high LDL cholesterol levels use more hemp products in their meals.

- Beauty: Hemp is a beautifying food. In a Finnish study from 2005 the effect of hemp oil in patients with atopic dermatitis was studied. After 20 weeksthe treatment group showed higher levels of healthy fatstheir skin quality increasedand their need for medication decreased. According to the researchers“Dietary hemp seed oil caused significant changes in plasma fatty acid profiles and improved clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis. It is suggested that these improvements resulted from the balanced and abundant supply of PUFAs in this hemp seed oil.”
According to David Wolfe in his book Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future, “sulfur-bearing amino acids such as cysteine and methionine [both present in hemp seeds] help the liver and nervous system detoxify poisons. They also improve the immune systemphysical strengthflexibilityagilitycomplexionhair lusterspeed of healingand the functionality of the liver and pancreas.”

There are many reasons why it would probably be wise to add hemp seeds to your diet; these are just a few of them. With their broad spectrum of amino acidshigh mineral contentperfect balance of Omega fatty acidsand their many health promoting qualitieshemp seeds really are one of the most perfect foods to feed our bodies.

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