It hasn’t been grown in the U.S. for decades. It has an outlaw reputation because of its “black sheep cousin,” marijuana. But this misunderstood “bad boy” is a completely different plant. And it’s one of the healthiest things you can eat.
It’s a natural food that is delicious, rich in healthy fats, and packed with protein. It also makes an excellent snack.
The only problem is…many people think it’s harmful—or illegal—to eat because it’s a variety of the marijuana plant. But unlike its black sheep cousin, the hemp plant is not psychoactive. In fact, it’s full of a compound that weakens psychoactive effects. In essence, it’s anti-marijuana.
This plant may have a controversial cousin, but it’s all reward and no risk. And it’s one of the best dietary sources of heart-healthy fats money can buy.
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also full of dietary fiber and protein.
Hemp seeds also contain the perfect ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. That’s their secret weapon in fighting heart disease.
But what about omega-6 fatty acids? They also tend to get a bad rap as being unhealthy. But that isn’t the whole story.1 Most of us simply get too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. That can lead to inflammation and cardiovascular disease.
But hemp seed’s ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids can decrease total mortality risk from heart disease by 70 percent.2
Eating hemp seeds will also boost your omega-3 intake, which is great on its own. The seeds are also one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).3
Your body needs sufficient levels of ALA to produce EPA and DHA, the heart-healthy fatty acids you get from omega-3 sources. ALA protects against arrhythmias and fatal heart attacks.4
The flavor of hemp seed is nutty and warm. The taste is somewhere between a hazelnut and a pine nut. The shells are usually removed from the seeds making it easy to just open a bag and dig in.
If you aren’t a fan of eating hemp seeds try adding them to your salad, greens, fruit, or even Greek yogurt.
You can also find hemp food products like nut butter, salad dressings, and cold-pressed oil.
So if you’re looking to improve your heart health—or if you just want a tasty conversation-starter—give hemp seeds a try.