You may have heard various terms when it comes to hemp and its products. Some common designations include whole hemp seeds, hemp hearts, hemp nuts, and hulled hemp seeds. So what’s the difference? And what are their benefits?
To Shell or Not to Shell
There are two types of hemp seeds available. Whole hemp seeds contain their fiber-rich shell, and provide great sources of insoluble fiber and minerals. These particular unshelled seeds can aid in digestion and reduce changes in blood sugar.
Shelled hemp seeds, otherwise known as hemp hearts or hulled seeds, are the seed without its crunchy outer shell. These shelled seeds are roughly the size of a sesame seed, and are used for nutritional purposes. Hemp hearts still contain all the beneficial parts of the seed, except for the fiber contained in the shell that is removed.
Hemp seeds, shelled or unshelled, contain loads of essential nutrients that we need for optimal nutrition and health. The seeds are also a remarkable source of plant protein, with a quarter of their calories coming from high-quality protein. Two to three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain about 11g of protein, which makes them comparable to many animal proteins available.
Hemp seeds also contain high amounts of omega 3, or linoleic acid, and omega 6, or alpha-linolenic acid. Consuming omega fatty acids regularly in your diet can assist in aiding many health concerns, including skin disorders, high blood pressure, arthritis, inflammation, and even mood disorders. These healthy fats can be easily added to your diet by incorporating hemp seeds into smoothies or salads.
Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, can also be used to make hemp milk, which provides another easy consumption method.
Hemp seeds are packed with these vital nutrients while staying low in carbohydrates, making them ideal for low carb and low sugar diets. They are even safe for gluten sensitive individuals and or individuals with nut allergies.
While the hemp seed does indeed come from the hemp plant, which is cannabis, these seeds actually contain only trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids. These low levels will never cause an individual to feel “high” or alter their state of mind.
These trace amounts of cannabinoids inside hemp seeds and hemp seed oils are also what keep the products in compliance with current laws surrounding hemp foods. This allows for legal manufacturing, sale and transportation of hemp goods.
Hemp Seed Oil vs. Hemp Extract
Hemp seeds can also be used to make hemp seed oil, a fatty-acid rich oil used in cooking and skincare products. This particular oil does not contain the cannabinoids found in Hemp Extract, which is instead derived from the entire plant. Hemp seed oil comes only from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp Extract is the result of the cannabinoid-rich portions of the hemp plant that have higher concentrations of CBD, or cannabidiol.
Do you prefer using hemp seeds on their own or adding them to your recipes? To learn more about hemp nutrition options, click here.