If you’ve seen hemp products on shelves but have been wary to try them because you think hemp is the same thing as marijuana, you’ll be happy to know that the two are not interchangeable. Hemp has little to no THC and has no drug value, and although it may look like marijuana, the hemp plant is actually a different species of cannabis. You might already know that, but did you also know that hemp is loaded with health and nutritional benefits? Check out three ways you can reap the benefits of hemp.
- It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You probably already know that foods like salmon and flaxseeds are good sources of omega-3s, but you might be surprised to know that hemp seeds are also a natural source of these essential fatty acids, which can help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. The nutritious seeds also offer vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and copper. Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, made into milk, or baked into cookies, breads, and muffins.
- It’s high in fiber: Hemp is high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which are both essential for helping you feel full and keeping your digestive system in good shape. A high-fiber diet is important if you want to lose weight, so add a few handfuls of hemp seeds to your next breakfast or salad in order to reap the fiber-filled benefits.
- It’s a protein powerhouse: Hemp contains all eight essential amino acids, making it an ideal source of protein for vegetarians (it is, however, low in certain essential amino acids, which is why some consider it a near-complete and not complete protein). It’s also rich in magnesium, iron, and vitamin E. Try Shape‘s quick and easy smoothie recipe that incorporates the benefits of hemp protein: blend 1/4 cup hemp protein powder, 1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 2-3 ice cubes until smooth.