“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” – Laozi
Hemp seeds are best known for their omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Animal sources of omega-3 are salmon and sardines; vegetarian sources include walnuts, flaxseed and our dear hemp seed. Hemp seeds contain a precursor omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid, ALA) that the body converts into EPA and DHA.
“EPA and DHA are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function, blood clotting and cell growth as well as components of cell membranes,” says nutrition and wellness expert Dr. Weil. Omega-3 is only found in a few foods and since the body does not produce it, it is essential to consume these items for optimal health.
By contrast, omega-6 fatty acids are found in numerous items, most notably refined vegetable oils, including soy or corn oil, the foundation of most processed foods. While not unhealthy in small doses, the overwhelming amount of omega-6 in our diet throws the body out of balance and has the opposite effect of omega-3, increasing inflammation and putting the body at risk for other health issues.
While it may make sense to just avoid omega-6 altogether and simply strive for omega-3s, it is ideal to find the right balance of the two. Hemp seeds have a 3:1 omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which is believed to be the ideal. In addition to this already stellar profile, hemp contains Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This helpful fatty acid assists in maintaining bone health and regulating metabolism.
Ever questioned a vegetarian about where they get protein? The answer may be hemp seeds. Comprised of a whopping 20-25 percent protein per seed, just three tablespoons contain 10 highly digestible grams. Sprinkle hemp seeds over every meal and you’ll have the protein equivalent of a cup of black beans or a serving of chicken.
Finally, hemp contains 6 percent of your daily value of fiber and 20 percent of your iron in just two tablespoons. This powerful little seed packs a nutritional punch and tastes fantastic. Similar to a cashew in its smooth texture, hemp seeds are a fantastic addition to smoothies, oatmeal, cereals, pastas and even sandwiches. Pick some up for a ridiculously easy way to improve your health.