I have run across any number of fascinating food items to add to my culinary vocabulary at Costco, seemingly an unlikely place for such discoveries. The discoveries include chia seeds, black rice, quinoa, and roasted seaweed to name a few. You can click the links to read about them.
On my latest trip I encountered yet another grain that can also qualify as a super food – Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds. Frankly, they were as new to me as were many of the above.
The bag boasted Source of Omega 3’s, 11 grams of protein per serving, all natural super food. “Hemp seeds are a terrific source of essential amino acids like our Quinoa, making them a complete source of protein.” Pretty impressive stuff.
Andrea Cespedes writing for the Livestrong Group said, “Hemp seeds are a source of Omega-3 fatty acids and high quality protein. Sprinkle the tiny, ivory seeds on salads or cereal, add them to yogurt, include them in baked goods or mix them into smoothies. They have a nutty taste, reminiscent of sesame seeds. Adding hemp seeds to your diet offers multiple nutritional benefits.
“A two tablespoon serving of hemp seeds contains 160 calories. Hemp seeds are approximately 12 percent carbohydrates, meaning this serving size contains about five grams of carbohydrates. Two tablespoons of hemp seeds provides just one gram of fiber.
“Hemp seeds contain 10 grams of fat per 2-tablespoon serving, almost all of which is heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Hemp seeds provide significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. This type of unsaturated fat helps with brain development and function and protects against heart disease.
“Unlike most other plant proteins, hemp is a complete protein. It contains all of the amino acids that the body cannot produce in desirable ratios. Complete proteins are primarily found in fish, poultry, eggs, dairy or meat. Hemp seeds are valuable to vegans as a protein alternative to soy or quinoa. Two tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 11 grams of protein.”
Suzy Chen, RPh, writing for Healthiertalk.com said, “These tiny seeds are jam-packed with important nutrients. They contain essential minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium which strengthens our bones. They also have an abundance of vitamin E, which protects our body tissues from damage. In addition, they can improve immune function, raise energy and relieve dry hair and skin….
“Most importantly though, hemp seeds contain both Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids and I highly recommend those to keep your health in tip-top shape. They have been connected to attaining healthy cholesterol levels (naturally!), protecting against heart disease, and lessening the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Approximately fifty-five percent of hemp is actually composed of linoleic acid, which is the major component of flax seeds – which you all know are great for you too.”
As an arthritis sufferer, I was particularly impressed with her next paragraph, “In a 2008 Italian study, it was concluded that hemp seeds can reduce inflammation and lessen pain symptoms for those with muscular or skeletal inflammation. These effects, among others, occur because of the special ratio of the essential fatty acids in hemp seeds.”
Anything that reduces inflammation is high up on my I Want It list. It’s no fun being able to know it’s going to rain by how much my hands hurt.
The bag I bought suggested the following for places to add hemp seeds – your favorite smoothie, top your salad or blend into your salad dressing, sprinkle it on your favorite yogurt, sprinkle on your morning oatmeal or any breakfast cereal and finally, blend it into your favorite muffin or pancake recipe.
For those of you with darker imaginings, you are no doubt aware that hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana, so it is associated in some folks’ minds as something for getting high. It ain’t! Pharmacist Chen writes, “These little seeds are composed mainly of a non-psychoactive compound called “cannabidiol.” This has been shown to actually block the effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the ingredient in marijuana that induces the “high.” Because of this, many scientists have actually nicknamed hemp as “anti-marijuana.”
So, you can feel free to indulge with no fear of law enforcement officers kicking down your door some night and tossing you into the slammer.
I have just begun including them in my morning smoothie. At lunch they cover my granola.
To read about another super food check out my item Are Chia Seeds Good For You?