It’s amazing how much nutrition one tiny seed can contain. All seeds are some of the most powerful foods one can eat containing amino acids (protein), iron, B vitamins, and magnesium. Hemp seeds are one of the most popular types of seeds and highest sources of plant-based protein. They’re seamless to digest and contain roughly 13 grams of protein in just 3 tablespoons. Hemp seed protein powder has even more with 13-15 grams depending on the type and brand. Hemp seeds, like other seeds, can also be used anywhere making them incredibly versatile in a variety of recipes. Their mild, slightly nutty flavor can be paired with savory or sweet ingredients, and they even have the ability to cream up nicely as a great replacement to dairy-based dishes.
Hemp seeds aren’t only for assisting with your protein needs, however. They’re also great for managing diet-related stress and mild anxiety in conjunction with an otherwise healthy diet.
Hemp Seeds’ Nutrients That Benefit the Brain
As mentioned, seeds are incredibly high in magnesium, which make them a natural weapon against stress. Magnesium supports neurotransmitter functions in the body and helps reduce stress and anxiety. Magnesium can also be quickly depleted in the body, so just taking a multivitamin (most of which don’t have 100 percent of the RDI) isn’t enough to give you what you need. It’s also incredibly important to eat foods rich in magnesium, which is largely found in all plant-based foods. Hemp seeds are one of the richest source of magnesium, containing 45 percent in just 3 tablespoons. Most types of greens and vegetables don’t even contain half of that in one cup!
We all know we need amino acids to build protein in our bodies to keep us strong, but many people don’t realize how big of an impact amino acids have on our brain and neurotransmitter function. In fact, if we’re not getting in enough quality amino acids, the body can produce higher amounts of stress hormones and it can lead to blood sugar imbalances that also cause this. Amino acids contribute to a calm, stable mindset and reduced amounts of stress. Hemp seeds contain an abundant amount of amino acids, even comparable to those in eggs, which are thought to be one of the best sources. The human body can still use incomplete proteins in the body efficiently, but adding in complete protein sources is also important for complete nutritional needs. Hemp, chia, tofu, tempeh, edamame, quinoa, spirulina, and nutritional yeast are all some of the most popular sources of complete proteins.
B vitamins are also crucial to the body’s well-being. They help boost your metabolism and energy, along with neurotransmitter function. They help regulate stress hormones and utilize the body’s stores of fuel (from food) to nourish the brain and body. Hemp seeds provide a wealth of most all major B vitamins, excluding Vitamin B12. Some of the top B vitamins it contains are vitamins B 1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantheonic acid), and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
Vitamin E acts like a protector in the body. Though it’s most associated with protecting the skin membranes, it also works internally the same way. Vitamin E helps prevent inflammation, prevent disease and cognitive decline that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Since stress can wreak havoc on your focus and affect cognitive function it’s imperative to eat a nutrient-diet as much as possible, including one rich in vitamin E. Hemp seeds contain roughly 10 percent of your daily needs in just 3 tablespoons. Almonds, chia, flax, and other healthy sources of fat like olives and olive oil are also top sources.
Zinc regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body, protects against inflammation and free radicals that weaken immunity, and it helps optimize hormone functions in the body that manage stress. Most nuts and seeds are all fantastic sources, along with many whole grains, beans, and legumes. Hemp seeds contain 30 percent of your daily zinc needs in just 3 tablespoons! Sprinkle a little of these little guys anywhere you can!
Iron supports oxygen production in the body, which can also help optimize how we manage stress. Our breath is central to balance the body and without it, we can feel tight in our chest, short of breath, fatigued that can lead to stress, and our overall metabolism will suffer. Hemp is one of the best plant-based sources of iron that the body can easily digest. Even though all plant-based sources are non-heme sources of iron, pairing them with vitamin C-rich foods will allow the body to use non-heme iron much more efficiently. Hemp seeds contain 15 percent of your daily iron needs in just 3 tablespoons, with hemp seed protein containing up to 45 percent.
Lastly, the body needs healthy fats to function well, especially the brain. While some individuals may do better with lower amounts of fat and others with high amounts of fat, we shouldn’t be trying to eat a fat-free diet. Fat supports all membranes of the body and strongly influences how our neurotransmitters work. Hemp seeds contain especially high amounts of the important omega-3 fatty acids that provide optimal support for the brain, hormones, and even the heart. Remember, you don’t need to go overboard with these tiny seeds to get enough; a couple or a few tablespoons a day should do the trick!
To best manage stress, you should be sure to get enough sleep and ensure your body gets proper nutrition from a well-balanced diet, emphasizing foods that assist in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Focus on whole foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and be sure to take a vitamin D3 supplement (look for vegan brands), and a sublingual vitamin B12 supplement. These nutrients are crucial to optimal hormonal and brain function and without them, both the brain and body can suffer which may lead to stress and serious health issues.
Let’s celebrate one of nature’s most miraculous foods by eating more hemp seed recipes, shall we? Try some of our favorite ways to use hemp seeds in your kitchen for simple ways to add more nutrition to your day!
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Lead Image Source: Protein-Packed Hemp Breakfast Crepes