Top 5 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds + Nutrition Info and Fun Facts

Hemp has a long and complex history, with reports of farming stretching back to China 5000 years ago. Its seeds and stems were listed in the first medicine books of the Ancient Hindus of India and its beneficial properties noted throughout American political history.

“Make the most of Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere” 
- George Washington, 1st President of USA. (1)

Is hemp the same as marijuana?

While both hemp, hemp seeds, and marijuana come from the same strain of plant, hemp used for clothing and hemp-seeds used for consumption do not contain the same amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as marijuana used for drug purposes. As such, there are no psychoactive effects from hemp or hemp-seeds.

How do I use hemp?

Hemp seeds are nutrient-rich containing B vitamins, high amounts of the minerals iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, and protein. Below are the top 5 health benefits of hemp seeds.

Hemp Seeds Health Benefits

Improved Cardiovascular Health

According to research, ischemic heart disease (2) is the leading cause of death globally. Hemp seeds contain an ample quantity of the amino acid, arginine, a precursor to the production of nitric acid in the body. Nitric acid (3) helps to lower blood pressure, control the platelet aggregation that can cause blood vessel blockages, and in the regulation of heart muscle contractility. (4) The high concentration of omega 3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (5) reduce inflammation, which also lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Improve Bowel Function

Fiber is well known for promoting healthy gut bacteria and optimal bowel movement. Yet, despite these significant benefits many people still do not consume a fiber-rich food plan. Regular consumption of hemp seeds increases your fiber intake. Plus, hemp seeds have been shown to reduce the severity of constipation, lessen straining at the stool and increase spontaneous and complete bowel movements. (6)

Improved bone strength

Decreased bone density is a symptom of aging. An increased risk of bone weakness and fracture then becomes a significant health issue, with hip fractures a common occurrence. 

Hemp contains gamma-linolenic acid, which has been shown to increase bone density (7) and so potentially reduce the risk of fracture. Hemp seeds are also bountiful sources of the bone-building minerals phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.

Enhanced Immunity

Zinc is critical for the different arms of our immune system, from the growth and function of T and B cells, to its free radical quelling anti-oxidant properties (8).  The nutrients found in hemp seeds like vitamins B6 and E, iron, copper and zinc support the physical barriers of the skin and mucosa to enhance cellular immunity and antibody production. (9)

Perfect source of vegan protein

Hemp seeds are high in protein and offer a healthy alternative to meat protein. With processed meat products being linked to cancer, consuming hemp seeds provides the body with both a meat alternative and the complete set of essential amino acids required to preserve health.

Nutrient Info For Hemp Seeds

Serving size: 1 oz handful

Top 10 Nutrients by %DV
  • Omega 3s163% AI
  • Manganese106% DV
  • Magnesium49% DV
  • Phosphorus46% DV
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)24% DV
  • Copper22% DV
  • Fat21% DV
  • Zinc18% DV
  • Protein18% DV
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)13% DV
Table for Common Nutrients
Calories 155 calories 8%
Fat 13.7g 21%
Protein 8.8g 18%
Carbohydrate 2.4g 1%
Sugars 0.4g 1%
Fiber 1.1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Saturated Fats 1.3g 7%
Calcium, Ca 19.6mg 2%
Iron, Fe 2.2mg 12%
Potassium, K 336mg 7%
Magnesium, Mg 196mg 47%
Vitamin A, RAE 0.3μg 0%
Vitamin C 0.1mg 0%
Vitamin B-12 ~μg 0%

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database - Release 28.
See the complete nutrition facts with over 150 nutrients, or the nutrition facts comparison of Hemp Seeds vs other foods.

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Hemp Seeds Fun Facts

  1. The first US president, George Washington, grew hemp.
  2. Shelled hemp seeds are also called hemp hearts.
  3. The oil from hemp seeds is versatile, being suitable for use in paints, soaps, cooking and as an edible oil.
  4. Hemp milk can be used as a dairy replacement.
  5. Hemp was a compulsory crop that farmers were required to grow in 1763.
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Data Sources and References

    1. Hemp Foods Australia
    2. WHO Top 10 Causes of Death
    3. Nitric oxide and pathogenic mechanisms involved in the development of vascular diseases.
    4. The L-Arginine-Nitric Oxide Pathway
    5. Gamma-linolenic acid inhibits inflammatory responses by regulating NF-kappaB and AP-1 activation in lipopolysaccharide-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages.
    6. Efficacy of a Chinese herbal proprietary medicine (Hemp Seed Pill) for functional constipation.
    7. Calcium, gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation in senile osteoporosis.
    8. Zinc in Human Health: Effect of Zinc on Immune Cells
    9. Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses