Hempseed 

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Designed by Luis Molinero

Hempseed from the Cannabis Sativa L. (a non-drug strain from the cannabis) is a non-legume protein-rich seed typically containing over 30% oil and about 25% of total calories from protein with considerable amounts of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals (phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron and zinc) (1,2).

Nutritional values

Table 1. Nutritional values of hempseed and hulled hemp. Hulled hemp seed involves the removal of the hull fraction which improves protein digestibility (3).

 

Hemp protein is the extraction process of oil from hempseed and remaining is referred to the hempseed cake. Once hemp seed oil removed, the remainder high in protein is then milled and turned into hemp protein powder.

1. High levels of plant-based Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

Hempseed oil is over 8% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and is rich in linoleic acid (18:2 omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 omega-3). The ratio of omega-6: omega-3 is around 3:1 but a significant amount of omega-6 comes from the form of anti-inflammatory gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). However, this is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, only 5% of ALA is converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 0.5% is converted to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (found in oily fish).

2. Eczema

Taking hempseed oil was shown to improve levels of anti-inflammatory lipids (GLA, ALA) and improved symptoms of atopic dermatitis (skin dryness and itchiness) and reduced need for dermal medication after the intervention (4).

3. Source of plant protein

The two main proteins in hempseed are globulin edestin and albumin. These are easily digested and contains all the 20 essential amino acids for the human body perfect for vegetarians (lysine is often absent in plant sources).

4. Boosts immune system

Edestin is needed to build immunoglobulins (antibodies in the immune system) to keep away infections. Alpha, beta and gamma globulins are created from edestin. Gamma globulins give short-term protect against diseases and aid people suffering from immune deficiency diseases.

5. Provides cardiovascular benefits

It has high concentrations of amino acid arginine which has anti-inflammatory benefits (5). In addition, arginine produces nitric oxide to dilate blood vessels and decrease hypertension which may reduce the risk of heart disease (6).