Hemp seeds are a great protein source, as more than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein.
That is considerably more than similar foods like chia seeds and flaxseeds, whose calories are 16–18% protein.
Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
Hemp seeds can be consumed raw, cooked or roasted. Hemp seed oil is also very healthy and has been used as a food and medicine in China for at least 3,000 years.
About 25% of calories in hemp seeds come from protein, which is relatively high.
In fact, by weight, hemp seeds provide similar amounts of protein as beef and lamb — 30 grams of hemp seeds, or 2–3 tablespoons, provide about 11 grams of protein.
They are considered a complete protein source, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids. Your body cannot produce essential amino acids and must obtain them from your diet.
Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom, as plants often lack the amino acid lysine. Quinoa is another example of a complete, plant based protein source.
Hemp seeds contain significant amounts of the amino acids methionine and cysteine, as well as very high levels of arginine and glutamic acid.
The digestibility of hemp protein is also very good — better than protein from many grains, nuts and legumes
Studies suggest that your immune system depends on the balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Hemp seeds are a good source of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids. They have about a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which is considered in the optimal range.
Studies have shown that giving hemp seed oil to people with eczema may improve blood levels of essential fatty acids.
Interestingly, eating hemp seeds may reduce your risk of heart disease.
The seeds contain high amounts of the amino acids arginine, which produces nitric oxide in your body.
Nitric Oxide is a gas molecule that makes your blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.
In a large study in over 13,000 people, increased arginine intake corresponded with decreased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammation marker. High levels of CRP are linked to heart disease.
The gamma-linolenic acid found in hemp seeds has also been linked to reduced inflammation, which may decrease your risk of diseases like heart disease.
Additionally, animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and help the heart recover after a heart attack.