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hemp seed oil nutrition facts

What are the health benefits of hemp?

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Hemp is a plant grown in the northern hemisphere that takes about 3-4 months to mature. Hemp seeds can be consumed or used to produce a variety of food products including hemp milk, hemp oil, hemp cheese substitutes and hemp-based protein powder.

Hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavor. Hemp milk is made from hulled hemp seeds, water, and sweetener. Hemp oil has a strong “grassy” flavor.

Hemp is commonly confused with marijuana. It belongs to the same family, but the two plants are very different. Marijuana is grown to contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that is responsible for its psychoactive properties. Hemp describes the edible plant seeds and only contains a trace amount of THC.

This feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods. It provides a nutritional breakdown of hemp and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate more hemp into your diet and any potential health risks of consuming hemp.

Hemp leaves, powder, seeds and oil.

Share on Pinterest Hemp is available in a variety of forms, including oils and powders.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 2 tablespoon serving of hemp seeds weighing 20 grams (g) contains :

  • 111 calories
  • 6.31 g of protein
  • 9.75 g of fat
  • 1.73 g of carbohydrates (including 0.8 g of fiber and 0.3 g of sugar)
  • 14 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 1.59 mg of iron
  • 140 mg of magnesium
  • 330 mg of phosphorus
  • 240 mg of potassium
  • 1.98 mg of zinc
  • 22 micrograms (mcg) of folate

Hemp seeds also provide vitamin C, some B vitamins, and vitamins A and E.

The nutritional content of hemp is linked to a number of potential health benefits.

Healthy fats

The American Heart Association recommends consuming two 3.5-ounce servings of fish, especially oily fish, each week. This is because fish is a major source of omega-3 fatty acids. If a person does not regularly consume fish, they may not be getting enough DHA or EPA.

Hemp is a plant-based source of concentrated omega-3 fatty acids. However, the fatty acids that hemp contains are alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), which are poorly converted to DHA and EPA in the body at a rate of only about 2 to 10 percent.

Despite this inefficient conversion rate, hemp is one of the richest sources of ALA, and so still represents a very good source of healthy fat, particularly for those who do not consume fish or eggs.

Hemp contains a specific omega-6 fatty acid called GLA and hemp oil contains an even higher percentage of GLA.

Hemp seeds also contain phytosterols, which help in reducing the amount of cholesterol in the body by removing fat build-up in the arteries.

Protein source

Hemp contains all 10 essential amino acids, making it a good plant-based protein source. Hemp does not contain phytates, which are found in many vegetarian protein sources and can interfere with the absorption of essential minerals.

Magnesium

Magnesium plays an important role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, including the metabolism of food and synthesis of fatty acids and proteins. Magnesium is involved in neuromuscular transmission and activity and muscle relaxation.

Magnesium deficiency — which is especially prevalent in older populations — is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, and osteoporosis. Nuts and seeds like hemp are some of the best sources of magnesium.

Research suggests that people experiencing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may be able to alleviate symptoms such as bloating, insomnia, leg swelling, weight gain and breast tenderness by ensuring an adequate intake of magnesium. Magnesium combined with vitamin B6 appears to be most efficacious in these instances.

Hemp is a plant whose seeds can be consumed or used to make food products such as milk and oil. It provides protein, fiber, and healthy fats, and it may be useful as part of a weight-loss diet. Risks include digestive problems. Find out more about hemp seeds and how to include them in your diet.

Hemp Seed Nutrition

Hemp Seed Protein

Hemp seeds are second only to soybean in protein content. Proteins serve a variety of functions in the human body such as acting as enzymes, antibodies, and the structural components of tissues, hormones and blood protein. The main function of dietary protein is to supply amino acids for the growth and maintenance of body tissue. Digestion disassembles proteins into their basic building blocks – the amino acids.

Hemp protein contains all 20 known amino acids including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce. Proteins are considered complete when they contain all 9 essential amino acids in a sufficient quantity and ratio to meet the body’s needs. Hemp seeds contain an adequate supply of these high quality proteins (EAAs) for a well balanced diet.

Hemp protein is free of the tryspin inhibitors which block protein absorption and free of oligosaccharides found in soy, which cause stomach upset and gas. Approximately 65% of the protein in hemp seeds is made up of the globulin protein Edestin and is found only in hemp seed. Edestin aids digestion, is relatively phosphorus-free and considered the backbone of the cell’s DNA. The other one third of hemp seed protein is Albumin, another high quality globulin protein similar to that found in egg whites. (see our nutritional composition tables for further info)

Hemp Seed Oil

The oil contained in the hemp seed is 75-80% polyunsaturated fatty acids (the good fats) and only 9-11% of the lesser desired saturated fatty acids. Hemp seed oil is reputed to be the most unsaturated oil derived from the plant kingdom. The essential fatty acids (EFAs) contained in hemp seed oil are required in our diet more than any other vitamin, yet our bodies do not naturally produce them. They must be obtained from external sources in the food we eat. EFAs are involved with producing life’s energy throughout the human body and without them, life is not possible. In general, North Americans have a high dietary deficiency in EFAs due to out high intake of animal fats versus plant fats, caused by our high consumption of processed foods and meats versus natural organic foods.

Hemp seed oil has been dubbed “Nature’s most perfectly balanced oil”, due to the fact that it contains the perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 (linoleic/ LA) to Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic/ LNA) essential fatty acids, determined to be the optimum requirement for long-term healthy human nutrition. In addition, it also contains smaller amounts of 3 other polyunsaturated fatty acids in Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), oleic acid and stearidonic acid. This EFA combination is unique among edible oil seeds. (see nutritional composition )

Extensive studies have demonstrated that many common illnesses are related to deficiencies or imbalances of specific fatty acids in the body. Symptoms are often related to a lack of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and their derivatives, the postaglandins. Most people eating a healthful diet, one that includes a balanced ratio of essential fatty acids, also have healthy skin and a strong immune system.

Yet some individuals may experience shortages in specific fatty acids or their metabolites due to dysfunctional enzyme systems or other inhibitions in their metabolic pathways caused by genetic, immune-system-related, or even environmental factors. It has been proven in several clinical studies that dietary supplementation with EFAs or their metabolites (such as GLA) will often prevent or even cure these illnesses. Since hemp seed oil contains both EFAs in a desirable balance while also providing two of the EFA metabolites, it is a good resource for the prevention and treatment of certain illnesses.

Hemp seed oil also provides an adequate supply of antioxidants (Vitamin E), carotene (precursor to Vitamin A), phytosterols, phospholipids and a number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, along with modest amounts of iron and zinc. Hemp seed oil also provides a good source of chlorophyll. The daily recommended allowance of hemp seed oil is 14-28 ml (1 to 2 tablespoons). This allowance provides between 8 and 16 grams of Omega 6 (LA) and between 3 and 6 grams of Omega 3 (LNA). And lastly, unlike other Omega-rich alternatives (flax, evening primrose, borage or fish oils) that are sold mainly as a vitamin supplement, hemp seed, hemp oil and hulled hemp seed all have a flavorful “nutty” taste that will create consumer demand and can easily be added into most any recipe to obtain a balanced diet!

Caution: Highly unsaturated vegetable oils such as Hemp Seed Oil are denatured by heating above 150єC (300єF), which can result in the production of unhealthy trans-fatty acids and increased peroxide values. Use Hemp Seed Oil as a flavor-enhancer in many recipes. Do not use as a substitute for frying oils. Keep bottles tightly sealed after opening and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Hemp Carbohydrates

In addition to the high quality protein and oil found in hemp seeds, 34% of this nutritional package deal is rounded out with carbohydrates made up of dietary fiber and a small amount of sugar. This dietary fiber is made up of 3% soluble fiber and 27% insoluble fiber. (see nutritional composition.

Benefits of consuming Hemp Seed & Oil

– Excellent source of essential fatty acids including Omega 3, 6 and GLA

– Lower blood LDL cholesterol levels

– Lower blood pressure

– Improve cardiovascular circulation & function

– Improve organ function

– Improve immunity levels

– Increased energy levels & metabolic rate

– Reduce symptoms of PMS & menstrual cramps

– Reduce inflammation and the symptoms of arthritis

– Improve recovery of muscles after exercise

– Reduce & treat dry skin and hair conditions

– Reduction of many degenerative diseases through preventative measures

Hemp products are GMO-Free, Gluten-free, Herbicide & Pesticide free, peanut free, Vegetarian approved, Kosher certified, No THC and Tryspin inhibitor free.

Hemp products have a wonderful nutty flavor that can easily be incorporated into your diet while providing a powerful daily supplement.

Hemp Food Nutritional Comparison

Hemp seed oil has been dubbed, “Nature’s most perfectly balanced oil” due to the fact that it contains the perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of both the required essential fatty acids (EFAs) for long term human consumption. Omega 6 -Linoleic Acid (LA) : Omega 3 – Linolenic Acid (LNA). Hemp oil is also an excellent source of the LA derivative super-polyunsaturated Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) at 2.5-3% of volume* * Based on EFA composition noted in research crop reports conducted in Manitoba and Canada during the last three years.

Only Hemp seed oil contains Omega 6, Omega 3 and GLA Only Hemp seed oil contains 75-80% polyunsaturated fatty acids – highest in the plant kingdom and unique among seed oils.

The following tables and charts offer typical specifications and compositional breakdowns of various hemp seed & oil products.

Hemp Seed Nutrition Information