Hemp seeds: the next big food?

Time for hemp foods

Get excited everyone.  New food products will be available on the Australian and New Zealand food scene as of this Sunday 12th November 2017.  What is happening on this date?  This date is when foods derived from low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) hemp will be permitted for sale in Australia and New Zealand.  The sale of hemp food products such as hemp seeds has previously been illegal in Australia and New Zealand.

The change of legislation however is now coming into effect on Sunday 12th November, 2017.  This means that there is going to be new products and ingredients on our shelves made with foods derived from hemp.  Such hemp foods include hemp seeds, hemp protein and hemp oil.  What kind of products could include hemp foods as an ingredient?  Some examples we’re bound to see are protein balls, spreads and milks.   There’s bound to be some surprise innovations to delight us as well.

But isn’t hemp…

In case you’re wondering, low-THC hemp seed foods do not elicit any psychoactive properties because they contain no or very low levels of THC.

Hemp seeds

Why should you be excited?  Firstly, hemp seeds are packed with beneficial nutrients.  Such nutrients include omega 3 fatty acids, protein, dietary fibre, and a range of vitamins and minerals.  To get a better understanding, let’s delve a bit further into their nutritional composition and qualities.

hemp seeds

Nutrition

Fat

Hemp seeds are made up of approximately 50% fat.  The type of fat is approximately composed of 80% polyunsaturated fatty acids.  As a percentage of total fatty acids, approximately 56% is omega 6 Linoleic Acid (LA) and 18% is omega 3 Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA).

Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are both referred to as essential fatty acids.  This means that they can’t be synthesized by the body and therefore they need to come from dietary sources.  Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly important for maintenance of health, and found in a select variety of foods that also includes fish, walnuts and flaxseeds.

Protein

Hemp seeds are made up of approximately 30% protein.  The protein component contains all the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.  An essential amino acid refers to an amino acid that cannot by synthesized by the body and it therefore need to come from dietary sources.

Dietary Fibre

Hemp seeds are made up of approximately 4% fibre.  The recommended Adequate Intake (AI) in Australia is 25 g and 30 g for female and male adults respectively, and therefore opportunities to include foods with dietary fibre is important for a healthy gut.

Vitamins and minerals

With regards to vitamins and minerals, hemp seeds provide an array of beneficial nutrients.  To give an idea of nutrient density, 30 grams of hulled hemp seeds is a source of many nutrients.  These include iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, B vitamins (B1, B3, B6) and folate.  That’s rather nutrient dense.

There you have it!

You’re now ahead of the game and can share with others what the deal is with all the new hemp foods available.  When trying new products, you can also enjoy the fact that they’re packed with beneficial nutrients.  Some pretty good reasons to be excited!