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Nutritious, Reduces Risk of Heart Disease: Why Hemp (That Won't Get You High) is Beneficial

Although hemp seeds have gained massive popularity only recently, they have been a staple food in many societies and are a source of excellent nutritional value. Many consider hemp to be a superfood and its qualities show that it’s worthy of the reputation.

  • Last Updated: October 27, 2020, 16:22 IST

Hemp’s reputation has markedly improved and flourished as its numerous health benefits come to light. Although derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, hemp does not produce mind-altering effects as it contains only traces of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Hemp has been consumed for centuries and has many essential nutrients required by our body. It has, hence, become popular amongst people wanting to improve their overall health.

Here’s a roundup of the major benefits that hemp offers to its consumers:

1. Hemp Seeds are Incredibly Nutritious

Although technically a nut, hemp seeds are highly nutritious. They have a mild and nutty flavour. Hemp is considered to be a complete protein as it’s a powerhouse of eight essential amino acids present in quantities enough to meet the body’s needs. This makes hemp a good alternative protein source for vegans and vegetarians. In addition, hemp is exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, namely, omega-6 and omega-3. They even contain gamma-linolenic acid, a nutrient linked to several health benefits. A great source of vitamin E and minerals like potassium and phosphorus, hemp seeds can be consumed cooked, raw or roasted. Even hemp seed oil is considered very healthy for dietary intake.

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2. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

Hemp seeds have the amino acid arginine present in high amounts which releases nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a type of gas molecule that dilates and relaxes the blood vessels, resulting in lowered blood pressure and a drop in the risk of heart disease. Additionally, the gamma-linolenic acid that is found in hemp seeds reduces inflammation, lowering the chances of heart diseases. Animal studies show hemp seeds or hemp seed oil to be effective in controlling blood pressure, avoid the risk of blood clot formation and assist heart recovery after a heart attack.

3. Promotes Healthy, Glowing Skin

Hemp has been shown to promote healthy skin. Hemp cannabinoids have the potential to make skin less oily as oily skin can lead to acne. Cannabidiol, specifically, reduces the secretions of sebocytes – the skin cells producing fat or oil. Hemp contains a good amount of essential fatty acids, vitamins and other vital nutrients. The fatty acids are the building blocks of skin’s surface layers while healthy fats have an important role in maintaining skin health. Omega-3, especially derived from plant sources like hemp, help create a smoother, healthier-looking complexion. Hemp also reduces redness and swelling of the skin caused by inflammation – from the inside out.

4. Provides Relief from Aches, Soreness, and Joint Irritation

A potent, superior-quality hemp extract can help ease muscle tension, joint irritation or general aches and pains in the body. CBD along with other cannabinoids, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), encourage a healthier response to inflammation, thus relieving the swelling in the joints. Hemp products can provide comfort whenever body suffers from systemic redness and swelling, curing chronic body pains.

5. Reduces Symptoms of PMS and Menopause

Due to the sensitivity to the hormone prolactin, many women may suffer heightened physical or emotional symptoms caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found extensively in hemp seeds, lowers the effects of prolactin and reduces the tendency of breast pain and tenderness, irritability, depression and fluid retention, generally associated with PMS.

6. Aids Digestion

Fibre is essential for good digestive health. Whole hemp seeds are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. The soluble fibre is beneficial for regulating cholesterol levels and keeping sugar in check. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to stool and helps food and waste pass through the gut. It even lowers the risk of diabetes.

7. Promotes Sense of Calm and Restful Sleep

The organic hemp extract leads to deep, full-body relaxation which results in a restful sleep. Consumption of hemp seeds enables one to stay calm and focused during the day. Hemp’s natural phytocannabinoids – including CBG, CBD and a little of THC – work together to promote one’s mental well-being.

Although hemp seeds have gained massive popularity only recently, they have been a staple food in many societies and are a source of excellent nutritional value. Many consider hemp to be a superfood and its qualities show that it’s worthy of the reputation.

Did You Know Hemp Seeds Can Help You Lose Weight? What Are These Seeds? Know More

Hemp seeds can help those suffering from constipation. Insoluble fibers that are present in the hemp seed can also provide relief from diarrhea. On the other hand, soluble fibers, stimulate the production of bile juice, which in turn reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol.

Hemp seeds and their several health benefits


  • Hemp seeds have a mild and a nutty flavor
  • Hemp oil is made by pressing the hemp seeds
  • Hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may lower the blood pressure level

Hemp seeds which is considered as one of the super foods are the seeds from the the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Hemp seeds are tiny brown seeds extremely nutritious and rich in proteins, healthy fats and various minerals. They have a mild, nutty flavor and are often referred to as hemp hearts. Hemp is a widely utilized and diverse industrial crop in the world. The fiber content in the seeds is considered to be the longest and most durable of all the natural fibers. It can even be grown without any deadly herbicides or pesticides. Hemp seed oil or hemp oil is made by pressing the hemp seeds. These seeds aid in digestion, balance the hormones and improve metabolism. You can sprinkle them on your foods, salads and ground them into powder and add it in your milk.

Hemp seeds have a mild and a nutty flavor
Photo Credit: iStock

Have a look at some of the health benefits of hemp seeds:

1. Healthy heart: Heart diseases are the number one cause of death all over the world. Including hemp seeds in your diet may lower the risk of heart disease. The hemp seeds contain amino acid arginine in high quantities which produces nitric oxide in your body. As an added benefit, hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may lower the blood pressure level, help in speedy recovery after a heart attack and decrease the risk of blood clot formation.

2. Aids in digestion: Hemp seeds are the ideal dietary supplement as it contains a mix of soluble and insoluble fibers. As we all know that fiber is important for gastrointestinal health. The fiber in the hemp seeds feeds the probiotics in the stomach, hence keeping it healthy. As an added benefit, it is beneficial for people dealing with constipation. Just a handful of hemp seeds a day can help those suffering from constipation. Insoluble fibers that are present in the hemp seed can also provide relief from diarrhea. On the other hand, soluble fibers, stimulate the production of bile juice, which in turn reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol.

3. Joint pain and arthritis: A study published in the Journal of Ethno pharmacology took a look at the hemp seed oil’s effects on arthritis and joint pain. They concluded that the hemp seed oil has anti-arthritic effects, which can help patients suffering from its symptoms and other joint pains. One tablespoon of hemp seed oil daily along with a quality fish oil can do wonders for people who are suffering with some sort of joint pain.

Hemp seed oil has anti-arthritic effects
Photo Credit: iStock

4. Improved skin: Instead of using skin ointments for skin damage one can use hemp seeds for skin ailments. The essential vitamins, minerals and most importantly the presence of omega 3 fatty acids can improve skin conditions like eczema. You can incorporate hemp seeds in your daily skin care routine for healthy skin.

You can incorporate hemp seeds in your daily skin care routine
Photo Credit: iStock

5. Weight loss: Hemp is fibre rich and a natural appetite suppressant, therefore it can help you feel full for longer and reduce hunger cravings. Simply adding four tablespoons of hemp seeds to your breakfast will help curb the excess hunger all day long. This is due to the fiber content in hemp seeds, which promotes satiety and in turn controls your weight.

Hemp seeds promote weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


The many properties of hemp have long been known. Now it’s going mainstream the time is definitely right to enjoy the plant’s amazing versatility and health-giving benefits.

Read on and you’ll learn:

• How hemp and hemp seed oil will benefit your health
• Why hemp is not the same as marijuana
• The heart and skin health benefits of hemp products
• How to use hemp best when cooking

There’s no doubt about it, hemp is the hot ingredient of 2019.

It’s in dozens of new food products; it’s popping up in everything from burgers to smoothies, as well as protein powder and hemp hearts, and in its more natural form as hemp seed oil.

The commercial growing of hemp is starting to increase around the world as many countries change their rules and regulations, allowing it to be legally grown. It’s predicted the global hemp-based food market will be worth over US$4 billion by 2026.

Hemp is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant. It’s been cultivated for thousands of years for its fiber, edible seeds, edible oil, lubricant, and for use as a fuel.

But it’s that mention of Cannabis that sometimes makes people nervous – even though nothing we eat made from hemp will get us high. Hemp is quite different from the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing marijuana. It’s harvested from a non-psychoactive variant of the Cannabis plant.

Hemp is quite different from the tetrahydrocannabinol-containing marijuana… Nothing we eat made from hemp will get us high

So hemp-based food products shouldn’t be confused with CBD-based products, which do have psychoactive properties. Some CBD-based foods are also marketed with the term hemp in their names, which can be frustrating for consumers. It’s important to scrutinize the labels on anything labeled ‘hemp’, just to be sure you’re getting what you think you are.

Promoters of hemp call it a wonder plant. It can feed, clothe and house us all at once, they say, because it can be used to make textiles, building material, medicines and food. It’s a highly sustainable crop as it is ‘low input’, requiring no fertilizer, pesticides or water.

You’ll also hear talk of hemp’s health benefits.

Hemp seeds (sometimes called hemp hearts) are high in health-promoting omega-3 and have a good balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats fight inflammation and have heart health benefits, and because of hemp seeds’ particularly healthy fat profile, research into hemp’s health benefits looks promising. Several animal studies have found hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may reduce blood pressure , decrease the risk of blood clot formation and improve heart health .

It’s important to note that the omega-3 in hemp – like all plants – is different to the omega-3 we get from oily fish. It may be more difficult for our bodies to process and absorb this type of omega-3, and we need more of it to get equivalent benefit compared with fish oils. But if you’re not into fish, or are vegetarian or vegan, hemp seed oil could be a useful way to get omega-3 into your diet.

Hemp seeds are gut-friendly – they’re a low-FODMAP food and a good option for anyone prone to Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There’s also some interesting research looking at the effect of hemp seed oil, when consumed, on skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema , that’s found a positive effect here too.

However, the oil is not suitable for cooking with – it has a low smoke point – so it’s best used for dressings or finishing. It also has a fairly strong, nutty flavor, which you may find is an acquired taste – so dressings using other strong flavors such as balsamic vinegar will balance that out.

Hemp seeds are especially high in protein compared to other seeds. This is why they’re often made into protein powders. Hemp is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. This is fairly rare among plants (quinoa is another example) and makes it useful for anyone not getting much protein from animal sources.

If you’re looking for a plant-based post-workout protein powder, hemp is a little lower in protein than other plant proteins like pea or soy, but it is quite a bit higher in fiber, which is a useful bonus.

It’s in the area of fiber, in fact, that hemp might be particularly good for us. The whole, unhulled seeds are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which have proven gut and heart health benefits. Hulled seeds (hearts) have less fiber, but are easier to eat.

Most of us could use more fiber in our diets to get to 30 grams a day, the level where serious health benefits kick in. The fiber content in the seeds available for sale seems to vary a bit, which may depend on how much they’ve been processed. If you’re thinking of trying hemp seeds, compare labels and go for unhulled, higher-fiber types.

As with other seeds, hemp seeds can be added to all sorts of dishes: try them in cereal, salads, smoothies and baking.

If you’re prone to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it’s worth knowing that hemp seeds are gut-friendly – they’re a low- FODMAP food so shouldn’t aggravate a grumbly tummy.

When it comes to hemp-based treats, it’s worth being circumspect. Hemp chocolate, bliss balls and sweets are probably not health foods. As with anything else we see promoted as ‘super food’, eating hemp in a product that also contains tons of sugar and saturated fat tends to counteract any possible benefit.

But in its whole and oil forms, hemp is an ancient food that’s well worth getting to know again.

Niki Bezzant is a New Zealand-based food writer, editor and commentator. She is the founding editor (now editor-at-large) of Healthy Food Guide magazine, and is currently president of Food Writers New Zealand and a proud ambassador for the Garden to Table program which helps children learn how to grow, cook and share food. She is a member of the Council of Directors for the True Health Initiative , a global coalition of health professionals dedicated to sharing a science-based message of what we know for sure about lifestyle and health.

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