Benefits Of Hemp Hearts – All-Inclusive Nutritional Guide

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Hemp hearts are on the fast track to becoming one of the hottest items in the superfoods section. The unique benefits of hemp hearts are starting to gain increasing recognition, and its nutritional information will blow your mind!

All over the world, the craze about hemp-containing foods has exploded, and products like hemp hearts, hemp oil supplements and many more are popping up on store shelves and on menus in selected restaurants.

You can now enjoy hemp products at some of your favorite spots like coffee shops, health food stores and, moreover, you can try them out at home.

But, before we consider the ways in which you can take full advantage of the benefits of hemp hearts, let’s take a look at what hemp hearts are.

What are Hemp Hearts?

Hemp hearts are basically the shelled seeds that come from the industrial hemp plant.

Hemp used for food generally comes from a plant in the cannabis family known as Cannabis sativa.

Even though this plant comes from the same family as marijuana, it does not contain any psycho-active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

In other words, hemp hearts will have no mind-altering effects. This means that you won’t get high from eating hemp hearts.

Hemp hearts are gluten-free, but you should keep in mind that they can become subjected to cross-contamination when they are processed in the same facilities as grains that do contain gluten.

If it is important for you to avoid gluten, look for products that have been certified as gluten-free.

Hemp Hearts vs. Hemp Seeds

The whole, unshelled version of hemp seeds are brown, and they have a similar appearance to large peppercorns.

Hemp hearts are what you find on the inside of the tough outer layer of hemp seeds.

The hearts are soft and pleasantly chewy, and these tender parts hold within them wonderful benefits for your health.

The Different Uses of Hemp Hearts

Once the hemp hearts are extracted from the hull, they can be turned into various forms.

 These hearts can be blended with some water and then strained to make deliciously thick milk.

Hemp oil can also be extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. This oil can be used for many purposes; for example, it can be used as a dressing on your favorite salad.

Finally, ground hemp hearts can also be used to make a type of flour that can be combined with other flours for baking.

This flour can also be used (just as it is) as a natural vegan protein powder.  

Seeing as hemp seeds spoil fairly easily, you should store your hemp hearts in a cool, dry place.

You can also store sealed containers of hemp hearts in the fridge or the freezer in freezer-safe bags.

Hemp milk can be found in shelf-stable boxes, but you should remember to refrigerate it once you have opened it.

The Benefits Of Hemp Hearts and its Nutrition Facts

People often say that the best things tend to come in small packages. This is certainly true when it comes to hemp hearts.

Hemp hearts are packed with nutritional goodness, and they can form a versatile addition to any diet.

They don’t come up short in the nutrient department. Hemp hearts offer ample amounts of macronutrients as well as micronutrients.

They are a great source of protein, healthy fats and some important vitamins and minerals.

Hemp hearts also contain various chemicals that have numerous health benefits.

These little nutrient powerhouses have anti-oxidant effects, can improve the health of your heart, skin, and joints and they can also reduce the symptoms of various ailments.

Hemp Hearts Protein

Hemp hearts are known for the fact that they contain all of the essential amino acids in more nutritionally significant amounts.

The essential amino acids are those that are not made in our bodies. They are the amino acids that we need to take in through our diet.

Amino acids have a variety of important functions in the body.

Firstly, they provide the structural backbone for the formation of proteins.

Amino acids also form components of certain enzymes and other chemicals in the body that are part of the biological processes needed for sustaining life.

The amino acid content of a protein or enzyme is what determines the unique properties it will have. 

Hemp hearts are a complete protein which means that they should be able to aid with muscle building and muscle repair.

The benefits of hemp hearts can be especially important for people who don’t eat animal protein (like vegetarians and vegans), seeing as they need to get their essential amino acids from a plant source.

Here is a list of the essential amino acids that all form part of the nutritional information for hemp hearts:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

Studies have found that the protein in hemp hearts is also easily digestible.

Researchers have suggested that this is due to the fact that hemp protein contains the proteins known as edestin and albumin, which can be broken down easily in the body. [6][7]

Fatty Acids Content of Hemp Hearts

One of the main nutritional advantages of hemp seeds lies in their fatty acid composition.

Hemp oil (which is obtained from hemp hearts) is a valuable source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.

Why are they called essential?

Because if you don’t get them in from your diet, you don’t get them in at all.

Our bodies cannot produce omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and that’s why essential fatty acids are such a popular topic for discussion in health circles.

This is also why every health-conscious person knows exactly what they are.

There are, of course, various sources of essential fatty acids.

What makes hemp oil exceptional is that it is an extremely rich and perfectly balanced source of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).

A balanced omega-6 to the omega-3 ratio (3:1 in the case of hemp oil) in the diet can help to:

  • Reduce your risk for heart disease
  • Decrease arthritis symptoms
  • Improve Mood
  • Reduce your risk for certain cancers

Hemp oil also boasts high levels of “super” polyunsaturated fatty acids called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). [8]

The typical western diet has an unbalanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of around 15:1.

In general, in western society, people get in much more omega-6s than what is healthy.

This imbalance has been connected to various chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. [9]

In order to counteract this imbalance, it would be a good idea to shift your dietary fat intake from highly saturated fats towards nut and seed oils (like hemp oil) that offer a healthier fatty acid profile.

Hemp oil contains very little saturated fatty acids and absolutely no trans fats, which can be quite detrimental to our cholesterol levels.

Vitamins in Hemp Hearts

Hemp hearts are rich sources of vitamins like some of the B-vitamins and vitamin E.

In general, most people get all the vitamins they need from their diets.

However, in special cases, people are too busy to eat healthily, have malabsorption syndromes or certain illnesses.

These people need an alternative source of vitamins, and if you look at the nutritional information for the benefits of hemp hearts, you will see that this superfood can help you to fill the gap.

The B-vitamins in hemp heart nutrition includes thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate. [10][11]

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 (or thiamine) plays a huge role in metabolizing our food into energy.

A deficiency of thiamine can cause beriberi, which is a disease that affects the heart, nervous system and the digestive system.

Vitamin B2

Riboflavin (or vitamin B2) helps your body to break down macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to use them as energy.

Vitamin B1 also helps to keep your skin healthy.

Moreover, vitamin B1 protects the lining of your gut, and it supports the health of your body cells.

Riboflavin can help to increase your energy levels while boosting your immune system. It could also possibly help with skin conditions and muscle cramps.

Vitamin B3

We need vitamin B3 (or niacin) to break down the foods we eat so that they can be used as energy.

If we don’t get enough vitamin B3 in through our diets, we can become at risk for developing pellagra.

The symptoms of pellagra are both physical and mental, and they include mental health issues, diarrhea, dementia, and inflamed mucus membranes.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is important for us because this vitamin is involved in over a hundred enzymatic reactions in our bodies.

It helps us to metabolize amino acids from the food we eat and to form new red blood cells.

This vitamin is vital for brain development and for ensuring that the nervous system and the immune system function properly.


Folate (or folic acid) is a nutrient that is necessary for normal growth and development. It may also be helpful for people who suffer from depression.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E can be found naturally in hemp hearts. The term “Vitamin E” actually refers to a group of fat-soluble compounds that have potent antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. This type of damage could contribute to the development of heart disease and cancer.

Scientists are now saying that vitamin E can delay or perhaps even prevent the chronic diseases that are associated with free radical damage.

Vitamin E can also be beneficial for immune functioning and other important metabolic processes. [12]

Minerals in Hemp Hearts

Hemp hearts are tiny, yet they pack a good amount of minerals. They are a great source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium. These minerals are needed in the body in different types of biological processes.


This mineral plays an essential role in more than 300 enzyme reactions in our bodies.

This includes the metabolism of food as well as the synthesis of proteins and fatty acids.

Magnesium is popular for being involved in muscle relaxation and the messaging between our neurons and muscles.

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to heart disease, osteoporosis and other chronic conditions like metabolic syndrome.

Seeds and nuts, like hemp seeds, are among some of the richest sources of magnesium.


Since ancient times, people have recognized the fact that iron can affect our health. Iron is one of the most necessary minerals that are needed to help people be as healthy as possible.

It is mostly found in our red blood cells even though it is present in all of the cells in our bodies.

When we don’t have the correct levels of iron in our cells, it starts to wreak havoc.

Iron in adequate amounts plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system, the treatment of anemia and much more. [13]


Zinc is an essential mineral that plays various vital roles in our bodies.

Because our bodies don’t produce zinc naturally, we need to obtain it from our diets. Zinc is an abundant trace mineral in our bodies which is present in every cell. [14]

This mineral is needed for the activity of hundreds of enzymes that aid our digestion, metabolism and the functioning of our nerves. [15]

Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidant effects. Additionally, it is critical for the functioning of our immune systems. [16]


This mineral is often underestimated, and the truth is that it plays a vital role in human health.

Potassium is generally classified as an electrolyte because of its reaction in water.

When it is dissolved in water, positively charged ions are produced, and this special property of potassium allows it to conduct electricity which is essential for various processes in our bodies.

Potassium helps to regulate body fluids, send signals to nerve cells, and it also helps with muscle contractions.

It is interesting to know that adequate amounts of potassium in the diet are linked to some powerful health benefits.

The mineral can help to reduce blood pressure, and it can help with water retention.

Moreover, potassium is good for heart and muscle health because of its ability to conduct electricity. [17][18][19]

Phytosterols in Hemp Hearts

Beta-sitosterol (found in hemp hearts) is one of many types of phytosterols, otherwise known as plant sterols, that have a similar chemical structure to the cholesterol produced in the human body.

Cholesterol is required to build as well as maintain cell membranes.

Beta-sterols occur naturally in foods like nuts, vegetable oils, and avocados.

However, the amount of beta-sitosterol that is found in fruits and vegetables is too small to provide any definitive medicinal benefits.

That’s why we need to take it in supplement form. The benefits of hemp hearts are a wonderful addition to your diet which may help to provide you with higher levels of this plant sterol.

Phytosterols can help to reduce cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that they could play a role in protecting the body against the development of cancer.

This shows that phytosterols can be incorporated into the diet to not only lower your risk for heart disease but also to lower your risk for developing certain cancers. [20][21]

Terpenes in Hemp Hearts

Terpenes are produced by plants to help protect themselves against pathogens like bacteria as well as to repel herbivores that want to eat them and to attract pollinating insects to ensure their survival.

Thousands of terpenes are found in nature, and hemp hearts also contain some terpenes that have significant health effects.

Let’s have a look at some of the terpenes that form part of the nutritional information for the benefits of hemp hearts.

  • Myrcene
  • Humulene
  • Linalool
  • Limonene
  • Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene

Terpenes can have various biological effects which may include anti-inflammatory effects, pain-relieving effects, anti-tumor actions, anti-depressant effects, neuroprotective effects, and the list goes on. [22]

How Can I Eat More Hemp Hearts?

Hemp hearts can be enjoyed just as they are for their wonderful chewiness or they can be ground or blended or even added to water to make several other delicious food products that you can enjoy.

Hemp products that can be made from hemp hearts include hemp milk, hemp oil, and hemp protein powder. These products can be bought at numerous health food stores.

There are various ways in which you can make the benefits of hemp hearts part of your diet.

Hemp Hearts

Shelled hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, can be eaten right out of the bag.

They are popular among vegans and health fanatics alike, and they can be eaten as they are.

Alternatively, you can add them to your daily smoothies, cereals and on top of your favorite salads to add a little crunch.

Hemp Milk

Hemp hearts can be blended with water. The result? A healthy, thick milk substitute.

Hemp milk is a nice alternative for people who have soy and nut allergies and for those who are allergic to dairy products.

It can be used for baking or even to make a delicious cup of homemade hot chocolate.

Hemp milk is also sold in selected health food stores.

You can make your hemp milk by using half a cup of hemp hearts and 2 cups of water. Blend these for around 3-5 minutes and then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth. And voila!

Hemp Seed Oil

Cold pressed hemp seed oil, that can be made from hemp hearts, can be used in the diet in a number of ways.

It has a light green color and a delicious nutty taste. You can use it as a salad dressing (as it is) or as an ingredient in sauces, dips, and marinades.

Hemp oil can also be taken in supplement form.

Supplements are great for when you are on the go. Even if you have a busy schedule, hemp oil supplements can still help you to enjoy the nutritional benefits of this wonderful product.

Hemp oil can be applied to your skin as a moisturizer.

People also like adding hemp oil to their shampoos and conditioners to moisturize their hair. Hemp oil feeds the skin and hair.

Hemp Protein Powder

The popularity of hemp protein powder is increasing as more and more information is coming to light about its seemingly endless health benefits.

Hemp protein powder is made by milling hemp hearts.

The final product mainly contains the natural protein that is found in the seeds.

Lean protein sources (like this nutritious protein powder) have benefits for digestion and for boosting the metabolism.

They are also thought to promote a healthy and lean body mass.

Practical Tips for Adding a Little Hemp to Your Life

Benefits Of Hemp Hearts - Pinterest

Here are some practical and easy to follow tips that you can use for ideas on how you can add the benefits of hemp hearts to your food.

  • Try hemp protein powder in soups to add creaminess
  • Blend hemp hearts into smoothies
  • Add hemp protein powder to your homemade breakfast bars, cereals, and desserts
  • Add hemp milk to your favorite smoothie drinks
  • Toss some hemp hearts on top of your avocado toast
  • Add hemp hearts to your pie crusts
  • Make hemp hearts a delicious addition to your homemade pesto
  • Create a hemp milk latte
  • Make your own salad dressings using hemp oil
  • Add some hemp hearts to your granola recipe

Make Hemp Hearts Your Newest Obsession

Hemp hearts are one of the newest health foods that people are starting to rave about.

They have become quite popular over the last few years because of the amazing health benefits people are experiencing from adding hemp hearts to their diets.

Now that you know all there is to know about the nutritional information for hemp hearts, don’t you think its time you start adding these tiny shots of goodness to your diet?

You can use the practical tips for adding the benefits of hemp hearts to your diet to enhance everything you eat and drink!


  1. Callaway, J. C. (2004). Hempseed as a nutritional resource: An overview. Euphytica, 140(1-2), 65-72.
  2. Ma ihoc, M., Pop, G., Alexa, E., & Radulov, I. (2012). Nutritive quality of Romanian hemp varieties (Cannabis sativa L.) with a special focus on oil and metal contents of seeds. Chemistry Central Journal, 6(1), 122.
  4. United States Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service. Full Report (All Nutrients): 12012, Seeds, hemp seed, hulled. April 2018.
  6. House, J. D., Neufeld, J., & Leson, G. (2010). Evaluating the quality of protein from hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) products through the use of the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score method. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 58(22), 11801-11807.
  7. Tang, C. H., Ten, Z., Wang, X. S., & Yang, X. Q. (2006). Physicochemical and functional properties of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) protein isolate. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 54(23), 8945-8950.
  8. Leson, G. (2003). Nutritional Profile and Benefits of Hemp Seed, Nut, and Oil.
  9. Simopoulos, A. P. (2002). The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 56(8), 365-379.
  14. Lim, K., Riddell, L., Nowson, C., Booth, A., & Szymlek-Gay, E. (2013). Iron and zinc nutrition in the economically-developed world: a review. Nutrients, 5(8), 3184-3211.
  15. Zastrow, M. L., & Pecoraro, V. L. (2014). Designing hydrolytic zinc metalloenzymes. Biochemistry, 53(6), 957-978.
  16. Prasad, A. S. (2008). Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Molecular medicine, 14(5-6), 353-357.
  17. Gallen, I. W., Rosa, R. M., Esparaz, D. Y., Young, J. B., Robertson, G. L., Batlle, D., ... & Landsberg, L. (1998). On the mechanism of the effects of potassium restriction on blood pressure and renal sodium retention. American journal of kidney diseases, 31(1), 19-27.
  18. Aburto, N. J., Hanson, S., Gutierrez, H., Hooper, L., Elliott, P., & Cappuccio, F. P. (2013). Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analyses. BMJ, 346, f1378.
  19. Kes, P. (2001). Hyperkalemia: a potentially lethal clinical condition. Acta Clin Croat, 40(3), 215-225.
  21. Woyengo, T. A., Ramprasath, V. R., & Jones, P. J. H. (2009). Anticancer effects of phytosterols. European journal of clinical nutrition, 63(7), 813.

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