Last Saturday on the radio at the Natural Health Show (Saturday 11am ET AM740 and Sunday 5pm PT AM980) I discussed the topic of Hemp Hearts as a super food. I find this topic dear to my heart as I have been involved in healthy body building most of my life and healthy plant based protein sources are essential for the practice of this sport.
This topic is of strong interest at the present in the athletic and the health supplement world because of two reasons. First, traditional animal based (including dairy) protein sources usually contain unhealthy fats and cholesterol. When broken down they acidify the body. This slows down muscle growth, breaks down bones (by dissolving the calcium) and creates an inflammatory state all over the body. The combination of bad fats, lack of fiber and excess acidity can cause a myriad of chronic and serious medical conditions. Furthermore, animal protein sources contain very little, if any, nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals.
Plant based protein sources, on the other hand, are usually packed with vitamins and minerals. If they contain any fat it is usually the good fats in the form of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are not only excellent sources of energy but they have a strong anti-inflammatory property. The other thing that is amazing about them is that when plant proteins are digested and utilized by the body the consequence is an alkaline environment (as opposed to an acidic environment). An alkaline environment around cells promotes health. Bones are not dissolved, muscle rebuilds faster after exercise, circulation is improved and all the cells of the body are much happier.
To write about all the healthy plant based protein sources out there would require a book. I have decided instead (for the time being) to write about my favorite and perhaps the most amazing of them all. These are Hemp Hearts. They are basically peeled hemp seeds. Hemp is not the same species of cannabis used for medicinal purposes. The hemp seeds do not contain any psychoactive components.
Why they are so amazing is this. In just four tablespoons (about 45 grams) there is 15 grams of protein (about 33%). These proteins contain all the amino acids which are required for life. This includes all the essential amino acids that our bodies are not capable of synthesizing internally. Protein as you know is also a great source of energy. The body prefers to burn it instead of converting it to fat for later use. The protein is also essential for muscle health as well as to rebuild muscle after exercise.The other 33% of hemp hearts content are polyunsaturated fats (much better then animal based saturated fats). Almost 80% of these fats are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. These fats are excellent for brain health (including good mood and memory). They are also strongly anti-inflammatory, thus benefiting patients with inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis for example. Speaking of medicinal uses, Hemp Hearts have also been found to be extremely beneficial for diabetics. The fats are also excellent sources of energy. They suppress our appetite and make us feel fuller. Thus Hemp Hearts are also excellent for weight loss.
The last 33% of it is fiber (excellent for digestive health and for preventing colon cancer), some complex carbohydrates (good as an energy source), and an impressive array of minerals and vitamins. Iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, B1, B2 and B6 are all present. I might add that the levels of these minerals and vitamins are at quite impressive levels, although still within the recommended daily allowances.
The other thing that amazes me about these little nuggets is the wide variation of ways that they can be consumed in a tasty way. Most reputable sources recommend eating four table spoons in the morning. This not only gives us all the benefits of this super food right from the get go, but also keeps our satiety satisfied for a prolonged period of time (sometimes even past lunch). Eating light in the afternoon with this kind of approach is a success story for losing weight in a very healthy way.In the morning they can be added to oatmeal, sprinkled on cereal, added to yogurt, mixed in a smoothie or a protein shake, or mixed with some fruits or in any other way that you like or prefer. If you miss your breakfast or want to add them to something in the afternoon, they are an excellent addition to salads. They can also be consumed straight form the spoon if one so desires.
The success stories that I come across associated with these seeds are amazing. They provide so much energy that people stay off of coffee and energy drinks throughout the day. With the addition of proper diet individuals have lost and kept off a pound of fat per day. They have also helped numerous patients with inflammatory conditions and finally they have become invaluable to athletes in numerous disciplines including body building.
As a matter a fact I am so excited about this that I am going to have my four scoops right now. Enjoy the upcoming show on the NHS and don’t miss my Radical Remedies segment on Baby Blues. See you soon.