You know when the stars align because you’re meant to discover something new? I really feel like some higher power was overseeing my eating habits and intervened with cosmic guidance! Since the start of the year, I’ve come across recipes that all have one ingredient in common: hemp seeds. This coincidence piqued my interest, but not enough: I just substituted them with other grains (sunflower, pumpkin) that I had on hand. Last week, I logged onto Facebook, and what do I see on my feed? A discussion thread on hemp seeds in one of my favourite cooking groups. Friday, at Costco, as I tried to social distance, I ended up wedged in front of what ingredient at the end of the aisle? A big bag of hemp seeds. I have to admit I reached for it before coming around. I wasn’t going to buy another ingredient because I’ve been hearing about it! I had to inform myself first, which is why I filed it at the back of my mind, in my mental to-do (eventually) list.
And BAM! Yesterday, I found Jojo Dans le Frigo in my mail. The recipe book, from blogger and dietetic technician Joanie Larivière, will be published by Éditions Guy Saint-Jean tomorrow. As editor-in-chief of Mitsou Magazine, publishers will sometimes send little surprises and upcoming releases that could be of interest to you. And you can guess what about I’m about to tell you: yes, she does talk about hemp seeds in this book! The author even considers them a pantry staple…
So, I had no choice but to receive the message! With a coffee in hand this morning, I typed in “benefits of hemp seeds” into Google and I was not disappointed.
First and foremost, hemp seeds (or hemp hearts) are cultivated from the hemp plant, which looks like the marijuana plant, but actually comes from the same species. Hemp hearts do not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and are thus not psychoactive. When Larivière refers to them as a wellness ingredient, she’s not talking about that kind of high! But we should look at their benefits closely.
A GOOD SOURCE OF COMPLETE PROTEIN
Hemp seeds contain all the aminos necessary to make them complete proteins, which is rare for a vegetarian option. We usually have to combine different vegetables to get a complete source of protein. One 30 g portion of hemp seeds (2 tablespoons) offer 10 grams of proteins.
HEMP SEEDS ARE RICH IN OMEGAS 3 AND 6
Omegas 3 and 6 are essential to a healthy functioning body—it just doesn’t produce them. This is why we call them unsaturated fats. Hemp is considered an excellent source of “good fats” because 30% of their weight is omegas 3 and 6.
THEY BOOST HEART HEALTH
Just like hemp is a balanced source of omegas 3 and 6, it helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol, fight cardiovascular diseases and boost our immune system. Hemp is equally rich in arginine, an amino acid that dilates veins and arteries, lowering blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health.
SATIETY AND DIGESTIVE AID
Even though their tiny, hemp seeds are mostly insoluble fiber, which quickly makes us full. These fibers are also recognized for speeding up digestion, preventing constipation, and promoting intestinal health and function.
AN EXCELLENT SOURCE OF VITAMIN E
One spoonful of hemp seeds equals the daily recommended source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals (age the skin), and can potentially prevent the onset of certain cancers.
HOW TO INTEGRATE THEM INTO YOUR DIET
With their slight hint of hazelnut, hemp seeds can be added in everywhere. You can add them to a salad, a smoothie, or sprinkle them over soup, yogurt or sautéed vegetables, for a good dose of protein and crunch. And if you would like some cooking tips for baking them in muffins, breads, and energies balls, I would highly suggest you pick up Jojo Dans le Frigo. I really want to cook ALL the recipes. They’re so simple, quick, and healthy! And you can also visit the blog and author here. I’ll go one day, when I have some time. I’m adding that to the “to-do” (eventually) list.