Hemp seeds are trendy healthy food. But hemp seed was used for centuries it is not a new food. Health benefits of hemp seeds are numerous but here we will try to explain the side effects of hemp seeds.
What Are Hemp Seeds?
Shelled hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts, come from the Cannabis sativa L. plant. While it’s related to the marijuana plant, this variety is grown for industrial and nutritional uses. The seeds of the Cannabis sativa L. plant have extremely low levels of THC, so they don’t have the psychoactive effects of recreational marijuana.
According to a March 2018 review published in the journal Phytochemistry Reviews, hemp seeds were one of the five grains of ancient China. They were an important part of Chinese diets until about the 10th century. Other old-world cultures also recognized hemp seeds’ nutritional benefits. In Europe, whole hemp seeds (including the hulls), were eaten during times of famine. Today, they’ve been rediscovered as a powerful source of nutrients and phytochemicals that have health-promoting benefits.
Hemp Seeds Nutrition
It’s no wonder that hemp seeds were a staple food back in the day. These tiny seeds are packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, and numerous vitamins and minerals. The National Hemp Association touts them as being more nutritious than any other edible plant food grown on earth.
Technically a nut, hemp seeds’ nutrition content surpasses that of many other nuts and seeds. According to the USDA, a 3-tablespoon serving of hemp seeds provides about 10 grams of protein, 15 grams of healthy omega-rich fats and 3 grams of carbs. Hemp seeds’ nutrition profile also includes magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, calcium, and fiber. Also, they have been identified as a source of various antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and flavanols.
Protein in Hemp Seeds
Hulled hemp seeds are rich in protein, and they’re especially high in the amino acid arginine, according to a still often-cited 2010 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Unlike many other plant foods, the protein in hemp seeds provides all nine of the essential amino acids, so they’re considered a nutritionally complete protein source. In addition to their excellent amino acid profile, another bonus is that the protein in hemp seeds is easy for most people to digest.
The 10 grams of protein in a 3-tablespoon serving of hemp seeds is about the same amount you’d get from 1 1/2 ounces of peanuts, 2 small eggs or a little over a half cup of lentils. Hemp seeds are an especially easy way to boost the protein content of your meal if you’re trying to cut back on meat because they pack a lot of protein into a small serving. Try sprinkling them on cereal, yogurt or a salad as a delicious and nutty-tasting garnish.
Fats in Hemp Seeds
Most of the calories in hemp seeds come from fat, but it’s the good-for-you unsaturated kind. Hemp seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids — fats that you must eat because your body can’t make them. These include linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. Hemp seeds also contain a more rare type of omega-6 fat called gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Because they are high in fat, hemp seeds can also be high in calories. According to the USDA, a 3-tablespoon serving of shelled hemp seeds contains 166 calories. Even though they’re healthy calories, they can add up quickly if you overdo them.
Hemp Seeds Side Effects
Hemp seeds are said to be high in polyunsaturated fat, which though is generally good for us, but can cause a little bit of a digestion problem in some of us. It can lead to the problem of watery loose stools and discomfort in the stomach. To start with, it is better if we progressively increase the quantities of the seeds that we are consuming to help our digestive system get accustomed to it.
It is said that hemp seeds have a characteristic anticoagulant property that inhibits the clotting in case of bleeding. Patients who are taking any prescription anticoagulants should also consult their physicians before starting to use hemp seeds for the popular benefits.
3. A feeling of Getting High
Even though most hemp seeds are processed in a way that neither they or their products contain any THC (the psychostimulant present in marijuana). But, if a very large dose of hemp seeds are ingested irresponsibly all at once, the person is very likely to get a feeling of euphoria, also commonly referred to as being high. In such circumstances, it can also show a positive result in a urine-based drug test.
4. Organ Damage Possible
If we overheat the oil that we get from hemp seeds, which is in vogue these days, it gives out peroxides which have the potential to harm the body. It can, in this case, cause organ, tissue and skin damage. So remember one thing if you use hemp seed oil, no overheating!
5. Risk of Cancerous Cell Regeneration
Hemp seeds are said to aid in cell regeneration in our bodies. They do offer wonderful benefits because of this property. But, some studies suggest that they must be avoided by cancer patients at all costs as they may even aid in the regeneration of cancerous cells. It is by far the scariest side effect that hemp seeds might carry, so beware and ask your doctor if it suits your requirements or not.
6. Neuron Development Impairment
Hemp seeds are said to primarily contain two types of fatty acids, i.e. omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-3 fatty acids are said to aid in the generation and development of neurons and the nervous system in turn. The omega-6 fatty acids that are present can lead to an imbalance in the fatty acids and acidity if we consume hemp seeds or their oil in excess. So, if you want a healthy neuron and brain development, remember that moderation is the best way to go.
7. Colitis Risk
Some studies suggest that the omega fatty acids content in hemp seeds is also linked to a potential risk of suffering from colitis. So, once again we are having to tell you about the mantra called moderation.
8. Protein Overdose
Hemp seeds are also rich in protein and an excess of protein when goes undigested is said to cause some weight gain and in some rare cases, cancer too. We don’t want to gain weight, not a gram; and neither do we want to develop cancer. So, be sure you don’t eat too much of hemp seeds.
Hemp seeds are said to cause flatulence in some people when they start consuming hemp seeds. It may cause a bit of discomfort, but it may soon subside as it is maybe a sign of the digestive system trying to adjust to the new food item.
10. Negative Effects on Immunity
Hemp seeds contain Polyunsaturated fatty acids which are said to cause several health issues if we consume them in quantities more than required. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are said to negatively affect the immune system and suppress our body’s ability to ward off any infections or diseases that attack our body. Though polyunsaturated fatty acids are good in some ways when consumed in the right quantities, such as cardiac health and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, in excess, they could promote the growth of infections in our body.
11. Risk of Heart Diseases
The polyunsaturated fatty acid contents of hemp seeds, i.e. omega-3 and omega-6, pose a risk to heart health when consumed in excess quantities. So, beware of using hemp seeds too much.
12. Risky for Pregnant and Lactating Women
It is generally advisable for pregnant women to stay off hemp seeds or their oil as it could impair fetal development and cause complications too. Even in the case of lactating mothers, it is suggested that they avoid using hemp seeds as we don’t want any harmful side effects to affect the newly born infant in any way. So, if you do wish to reap the benefits of hemp seeds, go ahead once you have stopped breastfeeding your young one so that no ignorant move on your part harms your beloved young one in any way.
Who Should Eat Hemp Seeds?
Anyone without a hemp seed allergy should be able to eat them and enjoy various health benefits. Research published in October 2018 in the journal Food Chemistry showed that the antioxidants in hemp seeds can fight oxidative stress and protect cells from damage — something everyone can benefit from. The authors suggest that hemp seeds should be considered a functional food because of their wide range of health benefits.
Sprinkling some hemp seeds into a meal is an easy way to bump up your beneficial fats, protein, and fiber. Their omega-3 and essential fats may also reduce the risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, help keep your brain sharp and your weight in check.
Conclusion: We saw what are hemp seeds side effects, but don’t just throw away and be scared and don’t eat these healthy seeds. They are rich with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and their health benefits with a wide range. So add them to your diet but don’t eat too much.