Hemp Hearts: Why You Shouldn’t Overlook This Powerful Superfood
Food is medicine. I have seen this time and time again with my patients in my telehealth functional medicine clinic. Not only can food help keep us healthy, it can help us regain our health once again if we are struggling.
While certain foods are more powerful than others, some superfoods happen to get overlooked in favor of more trendy options. Hemp hearts tend to get passed over due to lack of knowledge and awareness of just how many health benefits they have. If you are plant-based or just looking for a way to take your health to the next-level, here are the top reasons why hemp hearts should be the first thing in your cart on your next grocery trip.
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They are a complete protein
There aren’t many plant sources that can claim to be a complete protein. But hemp hearts can. They contain all 20 amino acids in existence, including the 9 essential amino acids that make a food a complete protein. These 9 specific amino acids are essential for our bodies to thrive but since our bodies don’t make them naturally, we need to get them through our diets.
Hemp hearts are the perfect choice since they offer 10 grams of protein per each 3.5 tablespoon serving. And when it comes to plant foods, 25% of hemp heart’s calories come from protein. In fact, this high of a caloric protein percentage is typically only found in animal sources like beef! A major win for plant lovers.
They contain the perfect ratio of healthy fats
Most of us know that healthy fats are necessary for optimal brain, hormone, and overall health. But what many people don’t realize is that your body requires a specific ratio of omega 6s and omega 3s to thrive. The ideal ratio is 1:1 but most people have a 12:1 or even a 25:1 ratio between the two with research showing that an imbalance can increase inflammation - an alarming realization considering inflammation is the underlying trigger to almost every modern day health problem we face as a society.
Since omega 6s are found in nuts and seeds and omega 3s are found in wild-caught fish, an imbalanced ratio tends to be more common in vegans and vegetarians. However, hemp hearts are the only plant-based food to offer the perfect 1:1 ratio and are the only vegan-friendly food with the same omega 3:6 ratio as fish oil.
Even if you aren’t strictly plant-based, hemp hearts are just generally higher in healthy fats with 6 times more omega 3s than tuna and 14 grams of total fat per serving.
They are high in magnesium
Magnesium might not seem that important until you realize that it is the fourth (1) most abundant mineral in our bodies and is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions that occur on a daily basis for us to function. But unfortunately, it is also one of the most common deficiencies with over 50% (2) of the population lacking in this essential nutrient.
A lot of people don’t realize they are deficient in magnesium because symptoms can seem “normal” to a lot of individuals such as:
- Fatigue (3)
- Poor memory (4)
- Migraines or chronic headaches (5)
- Muscle cramps (6)
- Trouble sleeping (7)
But when you look deeper, magnesium deficiency is also linked to anxiety, depression, (8) heart disease, (9) insulin resistance, (10) and high inflammation levels. (11) Needless to say, we shouldn’t be overlooking the importance of magnesium in our diets.
One way to do this is by adding more hemp hearts into your diet. Hemp hearts contain an amazing 25% of our daily recommended magnesium intake in a single serving. Other plant-based foods like pumpkin seeds, avocados, and almonds also contain magnesium but not in an amount quite like hemp hearts. For example, one avocado contains 58mg of magnesium whereas a serving of hemp hearts contains 188 mg of magnesium. That’s a world of a difference.
How to eat hemp hearts
Hemp hearts may seem strange at first, but once you start using them in your recipes you’ll never look back! They are super easy to add as a topper to pretty much any recipe, especially salads, yogurt, soups, oatmeal, avocado toast, and smoothies. My personal favorite is using them in place of breadcrumbs for seafood or kid-friendly, gluten-free chicken strips. My kids can’t get enough!
I only buy my hemp hearts from Eaton Hemp because I know they have the same exceptionally high standards as I do when it comes to food. Not all brands are the same and it’s difficult to know which brands to trust even after doing your research. Eaton Hemp is fully transparent about their products and only uses certified organic soil when growing their hemp. This is extremely important for hemp considering it is a phytoremediation plant that absorbs bad things from the soil - including toxins, pesticides, and heavy metals.
But that also goes for the good stuff like magnesium. The nutrients in our food is a direct result of the soil they are grown in. Therefore, magnesium is going to be higher in their hemp hearts because they take pride in the soil they use!
For a limited time, Eaton Hemp and is giving my readers a special discount of 20% off with the code DRCOLE!
Just make sure to grab a few extra bags, once you try hemp hearts, you’ll be wishing you had another bag on hand!
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- Facts & Statistics Anxiety and Depression Association of America https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
- Kassed CA, Herkenham M. NF-kappaB p50-deficient mice show reduced anxiety-like behaviors in tests of exploratory drive and anxiety. Behav Brain Res. 2004;154(2):577‐584. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2004.03.026
- Crippa JA, Derenusson GN, Ferrari TB, et al. Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. J Psychopharmacol. 2011;25(1):121‐130. doi:10.1177/0269881110379283
- Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011;36(6):1219‐1226. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.6
- Hill MN, Patel S. Translational evidence for the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in stress-related psychiatric illnesses. Biol Mood Anxiety Disord. 2013;3(1):19. Published 2013 Oct 22. doi:10.1186/2045-5380-3-19
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BY DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.