After eating for 30+ years a mostly vegetarian diet (nothing with eyelashes), I knew it was important to include a good quality protein source to my daily food regimen. Accent on good quality. A friend turned me on to hemp hearts (aka hemp seeds) many years ago when I was in China. It’s touted as having the “perfect ratio of the essential omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids required by humans,” as reported in the American Journal of Cardiology, Clinical Nutrition, Epidemiology, the British Medical Journal, and a host of other medical journals.
Before you start getting yourself all in a worrisome rut, thinking “Hey, isn’t hemp another name for marijuana?” know that I am talking about hemp seeds only, not the leaves or stems of the marijuana plant. Hemp hearts do come from the same cannabis family, but there is no mind-altering effect from these tasty little buggers.
You may have already seen some other hemp products out there in the natural foods world, including hemp milk and protein powder. The fact that the U.S. mistakenly categorized hemp products alongside its more well-known-sister-smoking product we heard about in Woodstock doesn’t mean it was a good idea. When Canadian research showed no “high” associated with hemp products, the U.S.D.A. had to admit they were way off and allowed the products to fill the health store shelves again, although it’s still illegal to grow it here so most hemp products come from Canada where the government is a bit more flexible.
Checking on any negative side-effects, I found this from a physician on the Wellsphere website: “The only precaution I have ever come across when it comes to integrating hemp hearts into your diet applies to people who have bleeding problems. Hemp hearts natural anti-coagulation properties may cause thin blood. In order to be safe, build up to a tolerable level over time.”
The little seeds have an almost sweet taste, reminding me of small pine nuts, and they can be used in anything: soups, salads, raw, or cooked. I throw a couple of tablespoons in my morning blueberry/banana smoothie. The increased energy I feel lasts for many hours, beating the heck out of consuming a plate of scrambled eggs for breakfast.
We’ve all been told we need more fiber and less fat and sugar. One of the great things I learned about hemp hearts is that they provide all of that just in a couple of tablespoons. The fact that they’ve been used in various ways (food, clothing, fuel, to name a few) in China for over 5000 years is nothing to scoff at either.
Give hemp hearts a try, Spirited Woman. Your happy, digestive system and increased energy level will thank you for it.