Have you ever spotted a bag of hemp hearts at your grocery store and wondered what the heck they are? Their name actually reveals one of the many nutritional benefits, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to all the healthy perks found inside each little pod.
Known as hemp seeds with the shell on, they get the delightful “hearts” nickname after they’ve been de-shelled from their outer husks. (They sadly aren’t heart-shaped, but that would be extra-adorable.)They have a mild, nutty flavor that can add a nice crunch to countless meals: sprinkled on avocado toasts, salads, oatmeal, or pretty much anything you want to give a little more flavor and texture.
As for those benefits, hemp hearts contain high levels of two potent nutrients: L-arginine and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Keep reading to find out how they can give your body a boost!
Hemp Hearts for Blood Pressure and Weight Loss
According to the Mayo Clinic, L-arginine acts as a vasodilator — or in non-science jargon, it opens up our blood vessels to keep everything running smoothly. That makes food or supplements with this amino acid, like hemp hearts, a great choice for anyone battling high blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic also mentions how they have been shown to be especially helpful for anyone with the type of high blood pressure that affects lung health or those with hypertension.
Another study from 2016 found that the amino acid aided in combating insulin resistance for anyone struggling with blood sugar balance. It also helped promote brown fat activation, which is known to help burn calories faster and shed inches faster. Yes, that might mean finally fitting back into your “skinny jeans,” but maintaining a healthy weight is also, of course, one of the best ways to avoid the risk of developing heart troubles.
Hemp Hearts for PMS and Menopause
A 2013 study showed the GLA in hemp hearts improved hormone imbalances and inflammation that occur in menopause. Although more research needs to be done to unpack the exact process that creates this reaction, it’s a promising natural approach to soothing frustrating menopause symptoms.
Dr. Rachelle Herdman, MD, ND, writes on her website that getting plenty of GLA is especially handy at cooling down hot flashes, easing irritability, and warding off vaginal dryness. “Women who are known to have low levels of GLA, a unique omega-6 fatty acid, have greater symptoms of menopause, as well as suffering more PMS in their younger years,” she explains.
The amount of both L-arginine or GLA found in hemp hearts isn’t nearly as high as you’ll find in supplements, but they can still give you a nice boost with less potential for side effects.
A healthy heart, balanced hormones, and even shedding a few pounds? We’ll definitely be adding these delicious seeds to more of our meals!