By now you’ve heard so much about the benefits of hemp, you know its more than just distant cousin of cannabis. But other than knowing that it is some sort of super seed, how much do we really know about this nutty nutrition powerhouse?

What exactly are hemp seeds?

Hemp seeds are the edible portion of the Cannabis Sativa L plant. Once they are shelled, sometimes they are called hemp nuts. They’re about the size of sesame seeds, but a little softer.

Wait a second… Isn’t cannabis illegal?

Nope – just relatives down the line, sort of like your grandma’s cousin’s brother’s… dog. Don’t worry – if there is a drug test in store you won’t fail it (even though hemp does contain microscopic amounts of THC, the active component in marijuana).

What makes it so good for me?

  • It’s a great source of plant protein: hemp seeds are a complete protein, which means it contains all of the 10 essential amino acids.
  • It’s free of top allergens: hemp seeds are free of soy, dairy, gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, wheat and the rest of the gang, making it a great choice for most individuals
  • It contains good fats: unsaturated fats make up the bulk of hemp seeds, which studies have shown may help lower your blood cholesterol

What’s the deal with the Omega 3s and 6s in hemp?

Hemp seeds contain a balanced ratio of 1:3 Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. These good fats help our body function properly, from brain development to immune system support.

What does the ratio mean?

Studies have shown that hemp seed oil is the closest to the best Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio (1:3) possible of any naturally occurring oil. Because we get too much Omega 6 in our diet, the closer the ratio in the foods we consume, the better.

Any other benefits?

You betcha! Hemp is high in magnesium, vitamin E, and chlorophyll.

What kind of hemp food-stuffs are available?

Seeds, milk, flour, protein powder, oil and seed butter are among what is currently on the market.

  • Hemp seeds: raw hemp seeds are a delicious way to enjoy some of the extra aforementioned nutritional benefits with a subtle nutty flavour. Try them on salads, in granola, or in your favourite baked good – they’re great everywhere. With 10g of protein for 3 tbsp., they’re also a great protein source.
  • Hemp milk: a delicious, creamy, non-dairy blend fortified with the nutrients you need with a hint of nuttiness. Different brands each have their own taste, but the underlying hemp flavour marries them all together. Sweetened or unsweetened, chocolate, vanilla, and original are among the common flavours.
  • Hemp flour: gluten-free and 41% protein, hemp flour is a great addition to your pantry, but be sure to pair it with other flours when you bake; 1/4 of the amount of flour in the recipe can be replaced with hemp flour. Hemp seeds can’t mill into flour; instead they become butter because of the high oil content. In order to get flour, you need to remove the oils. We mill the byproduct of pressing hemp seed for oil, which we call hemp cake, into flour for just such a use.
  • Protein powder: different than hemp flour, as protein powder takes whole hemp seeds, cold-presses them to expel oil, then mills the left-over cake at low temperatures to remove more of the fibre.
  • Hemp oil: has the same nutty taste, but with so many benefits you’ll be using it for every salad. You cannot heat hemp oil, so instead, save it for your cold dishes or toss it in after the fact.
  • Hemp seed butter: just like peanut or nut butters, hemp seed butter is ground hemp seeds to make a deep, rich hempy paste.

Who makes hemp foods?

Ruth’s Hemp Foods
Manitoba Harvest
Living Harvest

Check out our review on Living Harvest hemp products!

Try our delicious Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad

Join the conversation on the Ecoki Facebook page
Follow us on Twitter
Become an Ecoki Author
How to request a hands-on review
Join the Ecoki Kiva Lending Team to help people around the world!