If you've shied away from hemp because you think it's a form of marijuana, you'll feel relieved to know hemp contains very low levels of THC. Aside from its fibers to make clothes and paper, hemp also has highly nutritious seeds. They're easily digested, contain all the essential amino acids (they're a complete protein), and are an excellent source of the essential fatty acids that lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. These nutritious nuggets also offer vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and copper.
Now that you know why you should eat hemp, here are seven foods you can enjoy to reap all the health benefits.
- Hemp seeds: Hulled hemp seeds have a nutty flavor and creamy texture when chewed. Eat them by the handful, sprinkle them on salads, cereal, or oatmeal, or add them to baked goods as you would flaxseeds. For 90 calories, a two-tablespoon serving of hemp seeds offers two grams of fiber, five grams of protein, and 883 mg of omega-3s.
- Ground hemp seed: Ground hemp seed, also called hemp seed meal is a powder that works well in baked good recipes, smoothies, or sprinkled on yogurt or peanut butter toast. It's a great way to get the protein and omega-3s of hemp seeds without the crunch. In stores, you might also see hemp protein powder. This is a little different as its main ingredient is hemp protein concentrate, which is often used in homemade shakes or smoothie recipes.
Keep reading for five other ways to enjoy healthy hemp.
- Hemp seed flour: Hemp seeds can be ground finely into a flour, and its nutty, mild flavor blends well with whole wheat flour to be used in bread, pancake, and muffin recipes. A four-tablespoon serving of hemp seed flour offers 14 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein. Wowza!
- Hemp seed butter: Just like peanuts are ground up to make peanut butter, you can do the same thing and make hemp seed butter. Two tablespoons of creamy hemp seed butter offer 2.5 grams of omega-3s (the RDI of omega-3s is 1.1 grams), and nine grams of protein. It'll also run you 180 calories, so it might not be the best choice if you're counting calories.
- Hemp seed oil: Hemp seed oil is pressed from the hemp seed, making an oil that is best added to food already prepared like salads or to drizzle on bread. Cooking this oil above 350 degrees will destroy its nutritious properties. One tablespoon of hemp seed oil is around 120 calories and a whopping 2.5 grams of omega-3s.
- Hemp milk: You can also drink your hemp. It's not as healthy as the above sources since the fiber is stripped away, but a one-cup serving of vanilla hemp milk offers three grams of protein and is a tasty dairy-free alternative for vegans and those avoiding lactose.
- Hemp ice cream: Made with hemp milk, this frozen treat is dairy free, but also free of any real nutritional value.
What's your favorite way to eat hemp?