Sep 18, 2018

Food That Brings Us Joya: Hemp Hearts

A spring green soup in a white bowl garnished with hemp seed sukkah and olive oil drizzle, with a silver spoon.
I don’t know if hemp is going to save the world, but I’ll tell you this… it’s the only thing that can.

- Jack Herer


Brain Function, Immune, Skin Health, Inflammation, Complete Protein, Omegas


Hemp hearts are one of the most nutritious seeds in the world. These tiny powerhouses are one of the few plant products that contain the ideal ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, and they're a complete protein (a food source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of each of the nine essential amino acids necessary in the human diet).

It’s hard to believe that around the 1950s, hemp hearts started getting a bad rap in the Western Hemisphere. Hemp belongs to the Cannibis sativa genus and naturally contains trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinoids (THC), the most potently psychoactive compound in cannabis. Even though these amounts are so minute that they can’t get you high, the association to marijuana isolated hemp from mainstream usage. (This isolation may also have something to do with the granola-esque fashion that was long associated with hemp-made fabrics, although the science in this area is lacking.)

cocoa hemp caramel protein balls mixture in silver mixing bowl
(Photo from Will Frolic for Food)

Luckily, much of society has seen the error of its ways (and stepped up its sustainable fashion game). Hemp hearts are now available in many grocery stores, both on their own and as an ingredient in other products such as protein powders, granolas and snack bars, adding a concentrated balance of proteins, essential fats, vitamins and enzymes to the snack aisle.

Besides its health benefits, hemp is the agricultural dream. It’s an anti-pesticidal, which means it’s incredibly easy to grow without the use of chemicals. Not only is hemp related to weed, but it grows like a weed, too! It can take as little as three months to grow and harvest hemp from seed, which means farmers have time to let the soil rest and rejuvenate between harvests.

hemp buckwheat waffles on a white plate and blue napkin with apples as topping
(Photo from Dolly and Oatmeal)

Hemp is also able to absorb CO2 at a rapid rate. While all plants absorb CO2, not all plants can be grown as close together as hemp. This means you can grow a ton of hemp on a single plot, allowing for a greater rate of CO2 uptake. There is currently a lot of debate and research around the environmental benefits of growing hemp, and whether it could help reverse the effects of global warming.

How to enjoy

Sprinkle them on everything, add them to waffle batter, top them on salads, blend them in smoothies, or make your own hemp milk!


(Header image from With Food and Love)