Hemp hearts are the seeds of the hemp plant, part of the Cannabis sativa family. They’re incredibly nutritious as well as rich in healthy fats, protein and a variety of minerals.
Technically, hemp hearts are a nut, and that’s why they have a nutty flavour. They add a creamy texture to any meal making them an ideal smoothie ingredient. I put them on everything – meat, veg, stewed apple, brownies – but especially love them in smoothies!
They contain 30% fat, and have a uniquely healthy balance of omega-3 and -6. As well as containing 25% protein, significantly more than counterparts like chia or flax seeds, they contain lots of minerals including phosphorous, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron and sulfur.
Hemp hearts have been used in Chinese herbal medicine for more than 3,000 years but with the contemporary rise in lifestyle conditions, these little seeds are making a comeback as a stepping stone to healthier eating.
What’s in hemp hearts?
Here are just some of the nutrients found in hemp hearts:
Arginine is an amino acid, which produces nitric oxide in the body, a gas molecule that lowers blood pressure. In a study of more than 13,000 people, increasing the level of arginine in the diet led to a reduction in C-reactive protein, one of the markers for heart disease.
Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA)
Gamma-linolenic acid is an important omega-6 fatty acid that boosts the immune system and regulates inflammation, and is used in many alternative medicine remedies to treat everything from eczema and depression to menopause and arthritis.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that’s essential for proper organ function by slowing down their aging process. It’s used in the treatment of heart conditions or any condition related to clogged arteries. It also boosts the immune system, protects, skin, hair, and eyes.
Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, is a vitamin that breaks down macronutrients to produce energy. Like all of the B vitamins it’s water-soluble, and is used by every cell in the body, maintaining healthy cells and boosting the immune system. A lack of riboflavin foods in the diet can lead to all sorts of problems including anemia, fatigue and a slow metabolism.
Hemp Heart Smoothies are the best
Hemp hearts are so versatile, it’s possible to add them to virtually any meal, but like I said, I love them in smoothies. They go with pretty much any ingredients or mix of fruit and veg, so I urge you to experiment, but if you want to start with a tried and tested recipe, here you go!
Hemp Heart Berry Smoothie
- Glass of Almond milk
- Handful of Frozen berries – whatever your preference
- Handful of Spinach
- 1 tbsp. of Peanut Butter Powder
- 1 tbsp. of Hemp Hearts
- 1 tbsp. of Sesame Seeds
- I tbsp. of Maple Syrup (optional)
- Put ingredients in a blender, and blend.
- Pour into a glass, and enjoy.