Hemp is an awesome plant and you can use just about every part of it for something useful. But what about the seeds? Some people might wonder: are hemp seeds brain food?
Nourishing the brain is an important part of eating a healthy diet. Walnuts, salmon, and leafy greens have long been known for brain-healthy properties, but a new food has joined the ranks. Hemp seeds are a superfood in large part, because of just how healthy they are for the brain.
What makes Hemp Seeds Brain Food?
There are certain vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that support your brain functionality by promoting cognitive function and slowing down the mental aging process. Hemp seeds are brain food because they just so happen to be jam-packed with the nutrients your brain needs to function at its best.
Thiamine aka B1
You can eat all the carbs you want, but without thiamine, they’re not able to nourish the brain and nervous system the way they should. Thiamine helps us process and remember information as well as move! 30g of hemp seeds offers about 25-30% of our daily recommended thiamine.
Magnesium is a mineral that’s primary job is to help the body process other vitamins and minerals. This means that brainpower-boosting vitamins aren’t able to do their job if they happen to be low in magnesium. 30g of hemp seeds offers women more than half their daily magnesium and for men, just under half.
The neurons in our forebrain include a substantial amount of zinc. When zinc levels are low, brain function may be negatively affected. 30g of hemp sees has about 20% of your daily zinc needs.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega -3 is one of the most powerful brain nutrients, but also one of the most overlooked. Many Americans in fact, are deficient in fatty acids such as Omega-3 because we don’t eat enough “good fats” like nuts, seeds, and fish. Omega-3 has tons of health benefits ranging from potentially lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer to boosting overall brain health. Consuming enough of these essential fatty acids has also been shown to provide some relief in some cases of eczema, thereby reducing the need for topical medications. The interesting thing about omega fatty acids is that for an optimal benefit the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 has to be just right. Guess what? Hemp seeds have an almost perfect ratio of both. No wonder hemp seeds are a superfood!
Most of the time when people start talking about vitamins for the brain, Vitamin E is left off the list. But the truth is, Vitamin E may play a part in brain health and most of us aren’t getting enough of it! Vitamin E could help lower risks of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s, and strokes. 30g of hemp seeds contain roughly 20% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin E.
A complete protein is one that contains all nine amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own. Neurons in the brain are made up mainly of fat, but they communicate with each other via proteins. Our mood and mental functioning are in large part dictated by hormones and enzymes that are made of proteins. These ‘communicators’, so to speak are called neurotransmitters, which are made up of amino acids. While not being a complete protein, hemp seeds are closer to a lot of complete proteins (such as eggs, meat, fish, and dairy) than several vegetarian proteins.
Hemp seeds are particularly high in tyrosine, which prompts the brain to produce norepinephrine and dopamine. As a result, you stay energized and alert. For the vegans reading this, if you include hemp seeds in your diet along with complementary proteins such as nuts, lentils, dried beans and grains, it can cover all the essential amino acids.
Most people associate fiber with the healthy functioning of the gut, but did you know that fiber is important for the brain too? It helps with brain function by slowing down the absorption of sugar and making it a slower, more steady process. Sugar that is delivered to the brain in large amounts can overload it. Slower metabolization of sugar has been linked to improved memory, and keep things up there running like a well-oiled machine as you age. Hemp seeds, being the heroes that they are, are an excellent source of both soluble (20%) and insoluble (80%) fiber. If you want to gain these benefits, make sure you consume hemp seeds whole, because the shell is the fiber-rich part, and de-hulling or shelling them would deprive you of that oh-so-good fiber.
Are hemp seeds brain food? With a great composition of nutrients, it’s pretty easy to see why people call hemp seeds brain food. Including hemp seeds into your diet is a good idea.
Remember, the recommended amounts of any vitamin and mineral are based on an average. You may need more or less, depending on your calorie needs and your body.
How to Eat Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds come shelled or unshelled. Make sure yours are shelled before you eat them. You can eat a few spoonfuls plain the way you would eat any other seeds or nuts. You can also add them to other foods like:
- nut or trail mix
- yogurt or cereal