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What is Hemp Seed: Everything You Need to Know

Ever seen hemp seeds in your local store and thought, I want to try them out, but I'm not entirely sure what I'm eating? 


I had the same simple question - what is hemp seed? Finding up-to-date and accurate information was tricky, especially for Australian hemp seeds. 


We tend to have different varieties than the USA, and we must understand the health benefits and how they are processed. Choosing the correct type of hemp seed is just as important as how to eat them.


This ultimate guide is designed for people who want all the facts about hemp seeds. Let's get started. 



What is Hemp Seed?


Hemp seeds and other non-grain legumes such as peas, chickpeas and lentils are part of a group of foods known as "pulse crops." Unlike the seeds of other plants we typically think of as being useful for their oil or starch content, pulse crops are unusual because they're primarily used for their edible seeds. 


Our familiarity with these plant species usually begins and ends with dry beans. You may be surprised to learn that raw hemp seed is one of Earth's most nutritious natural foods. 


Despite being relatively tiny and having a smooth outer shell, each raw hemp seed is packed with 30% protein (more than any other food) and almost 20% fat (more than any other food).



What do Hemp Seeds Look Like?


Hemp seeds, often referred to as a superfood, can be bought in shelled, ground, or split forms. You can purchase processed seeds in products such as hemp milk, hemp protein powder, and hemp oil.


Hemp seeds are crunchy in texture, have a gentle nutty flavour, and have an excellent nutty taste similar to pine nuts.


Here are the types of hemp seeds you will find in Australian stores and for sale online. 


table full of epic healthy veggies including hemp seed



Hulled Hemp Seeds


Hulled hemp seeds are called 'hemp hearts' or 'shelled hemp seeds. The hulled seeds have been removed from their crunchy shells. 


However, some of the nutritional benefits of whole seeds are diminished. The hulls are removed by pounding hemp seeds, immersing them in water, and then skimming off the shells. After the shells are skimmed off, the hearts are drained and dried. 


It is suggested that the hulls of the hemp seeds are rich in minerals and insoluble fibre. In addition to lowering triglycerides and bad cholesterol, munching on raw hulled hemp seeds can also elevate good cholesterol.



Whole Hemp Seeds


These are the un-hulled hemp seeds. Generally hard to find in Australia as most companies only sell hulled versions. 


Because the hull (outer shell) is left on, its nutritional properties are maintained. These seeds are crunchy, may get stuck between your teeth, and can be difficult for younger children to eat. 


Because these seeds are unhulled, the grains cannot trap moisture and are more stable in the air. The seeds are more nutritious and taste better when eaten raw. 


Whole hemp seeds are one of the best sources of protein on the planet. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps boost metabolism, build muscle mass and support healthy digestion.



Toasted Hemp Seeds


Slightly heating the seeds is a common way to get them crunchy quickly and add extra flavour. Be careful not to heat for too long. Thirty seconds is enough. 


Add to a salad as a topping or ingredient in other dishes, such as avocado toast. 



What is Hemp Seed Made Of?


Hemp seeds are a complete protein, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids the human body needs. One cup of shelled hemp seeds provides roughly 10 grams of protein. 


That's more than many animal-based proteins, including eggs, plain yogurt (8 grams per cup), and beef (16 grams per three-ounce serving).


Plus, hemp protein is richer in certain essential amino acids, including arginine and glutamic acid, than animal-based protein. 


You'll also find plenty of dietary fibre (more than 15 grams per cup), a modest amount of iron, magnesium, zinc, and various vitamins and minerals in hemp seeds. Like all plant-based foods, hemp seeds also contain no cholesterol.


However, their high concentration of "omega-3" fatty acids set hemp seeds apart from other protein sources (more on below).



Is Hemp Seed Keto-Friendly?


Hemp seeds are indeed keto-friendly, but there's a catch.


Hemp seeds are naturally very high in carbohydrates, so if you're following the keto diet, you'll have to be careful not to go overboard. 


To get the most out of hemp seeds, consuming them as a garnish or sprinkling them over other keto-friendly foods is best.


You can add them to salads or use them as a topping on yogurt. You can also buy hemp seed oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids and can be used as a salad dressing orally or in other keto-friendly recipes.


hemp seeds and healthy greens  



What is Hemp Seed Protein?


Hemp seeds are rich in protein - As mentioned above, hemp seeds are one of the best sources of protein on the planet.  


They are high in protein, but unlike meat protein, they do not have any saturated fat. In addition, they are very high in fibre and contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, which makes them perfect as high-protein vegan food. 


A single ounce of hemp seeds contains 10 grams of protein. Protein is essential for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Our guide on hemp proteinprovides a detailed analysis of why this is the best source of protein on the planet. 



How To Eat Hemp Seeds?


Hemp seeds are very versatile and can be used in many different ways. You can add them to your favourite smoothie recipe or use them as a topping on your yogurt or oatmeal. 


When you're eating hemp seeds, make sure that you chew them well. Hemp seeds are very nutritious but are indigestible unless you chew them.


If you swallow the seeds whole, they will pass through your body and be excreted unchanged. Check out our guide on how to use hemp seeds here



Is Hemp Seed Good for You?


Hemp seeds are great for you and have many health benefits. If you are trying to improve your health, this is a food you want to include in your diet. Read our comprehensive nutritional breakdown here.


Hemp seeds are high in protein and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. They also contain essential fatty acids, which are excellent for your health. We have put together a complete guide to the health benefits here.


Many people are switching to hemp seeds since they are a healthy alternative to other seeds. 


If you're not currently eating hemp seeds, you should start. They are very nutritious, and eating hemp seeds is a simple way to improve your health.





We have covered a lot in this article, and you now know: what hemp seed is and how it's made. Identify the different types of Australian hemp seeds, how to eat them, and why you should add them to your diet. 


Hemp seeds are an incredibly nutritious food that combines protein, fibre, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals. 


While not many people are familiar with hemp seeds, they're worth getting to know.


READ NEXT: Hemp Oil vs Fish Oil – Which Is Best?