Despite their nutritional benefits, hemp seeds have long been overshadowed by the hemp plant’s hippy image but the times are a-changing and we’re shining a spotlight on this superfood.
Dating back for over 3,000 years, hemp has been used for food and medicinal purposes. Now, we might know what you’re thinking – isn’t this plant considered cannabis? Technically yes, but you have nothing to worry about… Even though hemp does contain THC, hemp seeds themselves do not.
What does it taste like?
Hemp seeds have quite a nutty flavor, which makes them great to add into smoothies, granola and porridge or even atop a salad, bringing a new dimension of flavour.
You can soak them in water overnight to make your own milk substitute, a great alternative to store-bought nut milk.
It’s easy to find hemp seeds pressed into oil but the oil’s low smoke point means it is best reserved for cooler temperature foods, as heat causes it to break down. Hemp seed oil is also widely used in oil form as a skincare product as it is able to penetrate the skin and hydrate more effectively than other natural oils and is known to work wonders for psoriasis and eczema-prone skin.
What are its benefits?
With a highly-concentrated balance of proteins, fibre and fatty acids hemp seeds are a nutritionally complete superfood. Due to their high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), they can also lead to lower blood pressure ultimately improving heart health. Hemp also has the power to reduce inflammation that is linked to aging, eczema, and aches and pains such as period pain, and strengthen teeth and bones.
High in essential fatty acids, Omega 6 and Omega 3, hemp seeds can be used to increase immunity, boost skin elasticity to counteract ageing and improve cardiovascular health. Several studies show that the linoleic acid present in hemp oil can slow down the ageing process by supporting cognitive function. They’re also packed with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium.
A protein paradise for vegans, hemp seeds are a lot easier to digest than animal proteins and are almost complete in their amino acids (only low in lysine) and also rich in iron and potassium to fight fatigue.
For a protein-rich snack, we love making these Chewy Superfood Hemp Protein Bars from Nutrition Stripped!
1½ cup hemp protein powder
½ cup hemp hearts, shelled
½ cup cacoa powder
½ cup walnuts, ground into a coarse flour
½ cup pumpkin seeds, whole
¼ cup chia seeds, ground
¼ cup dried mulberries
2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)
2 tablespoons spirulina powder
¼ teaspoon pink himalayan sea salt
dash of ground cinnamon
1½-2 cups dates, about 20 pitted
½ cup dried tart cherries
5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
½ cup water (start with ¼ and add gradually)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coarsely grind walnuts and chia seeds. Pour into a large mixing bowl and combine all remaining dry ingredients (hemp powder, seeds, cocoa, pumpkin seeds, mulberries, cacao nibs, and seasonings). Set aside.
Combine all wet ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. This mixture is very thick and sticky so you’ll need a powerful kitchen appliance or mix in small batches. Start with ¼ cup of water in this mixture.
Pour wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl with dry ingredients. This is where you can adjust the water and pay close attention to how much you use.
Using your hands (the best tools for this!), massage and combine the mixture until everything has come together to form a large ball.
If the mixture gets too wet, simply add more cocoa or hemp protein powder. If the mixture isn’t wet enough, try adding more coconut oil or a few more dates. The desired texture is a thick, chewy, sticky bar.
In a 8×8 or 9×9 inch parchment lined pan, evenly spread the protein bar mixture into the pan. Using your hands and fingertips firmly press the mixture into an even layer until it’s even and smooth on top.
Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
Cut into small pieces or 12 whole bars.
Keep some for later in the freezer by wrapping individually in clear wrap or keep in the fridge for later use that week.