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For starters, veganism is the practice of refraining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and anyone who follows such a diet or philosophy is termed to be a vegan. Thanks to its popularity in recent years, the intake of seeds as food is also gaining prominence. From pumpkin seeds to chia seeds – people are noshing on them all, but one even hemp seeds are finding prominence. There are reservations about its use due to the infamous cannabis plant or marijuana, but they are high on nutritional value and are nothing short of a superfood.
What exactly are hemp seeds?
They are small, brown seeds of the hemp plant, but are technically nuts. They are termed as seeds due to their size and can be consumed in that form.
“Hemp seeds have a pleasant and nutty flavour and are a valuable source of all essential amino acids along with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc, vitamins like B-complex and fibres,” Vibha Bajpayee, head dietitian, Asian hospital, told Health Shots.
What are its benefits?
There are several reasons why they are now being considered a superfood for vegans. Some of them are:
1. They are highly nutritious
“Hemp seeds are high in readily digestible protein, lipids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, insoluble fibre, carbs, and omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids have high nutritional value,” Bajpayee added.
Also, read: Can hemp seed oil improve skin, hair and overall health? Here’s what Ayurveda says about it
2. They help in a variety of health problems
The antioxidants of hemp seeds such as polyphenols, help with anxiety, oxidative stress. They also help to decrease risk of chronic illness including neurological disorder, digestive problem and cardiovascular diseases. Since they are also rich in fibre, it helps us to reduce ulcer, and haemorrhoids as well.
3. Hemp oil can be used to treat skin infections
“Hemp seed oil is a rich source of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids. It helps to boost immunity and reduce free radicals,” Bajpayee said. Due to omega-3 and omega-6 presence, they can also provide relief from eczema, dry skin and itchiness.
4. Helps in symptoms associated with PMS or menopause
Due to its high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), hemp seeds can regulate the hormone imbalances, thereby bettering the symptoms associated with menopause or pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
5. Great source of plant-based protein
Since they provide about 25 percent of their calories from protein, hemp seeds are a good source of plant-based protein and also contain an entire amino acid profile. That makes it a win-win for vegans.
“Last but not the least, hemp seed nutrition products can get widespread acceptance in India, if we have a better understanding of the appropriate quantity and presentation of hemp seeds. It is important to remember that dietary hemp seed has a bad effect if there’s an overdose,” Bajpayee mentioned.
So, are you willing to try hemp seeds?