Hemp is one of the earliest known plants cultivated and one of the world’s most nutritious ingredients which can be added to a wide variety of recipes. Hemp is also a highly eco-friendly crop which is naturally pest-resistant, and because the plants grow fast and close together, they out-compete weeds and therefore don’t require herbicides. Bottom line: hemp seed benefits vegan nutrition as part of a whole foods plant-based diet.
Hemp’s rugged roots anchor soil to prevent erosion and the leaves return nitrogen to the soil. Hemp cultivation generates very little waste and even the hemp processing byproducts are useful. This superseed has a soft texture, attractive sesame seed-like appearance and a nutty flavor similar to sunflower seeds. The hemp seeds can be eaten right out of the bag or sprinkled on many items like granola, salads, soups, dips, or added to baked recipes.
Hemp seed is great in smoothies and dips. Check out this recipe for Hemp Hummus. Make a gourmet hemp milk by simply blending 2 tablespoons hemp seeds with 1 cup of water in a high speed blender (add sweetener if preferred). Vegan nutrition experts might agree with Navitas Naturals that hemp seed is an easily digested complete protein source and one of the richest vegetable sources of the Omega 3 & 6 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).
Hemp seed is also a plentiful source of fiber, and vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium. Unlike many other nuts and seeds, the hemp seed is not a known food allergen. Hemp seed is also recently said to provide benefits for cardiac health.
One of our favorite brands is Navitas Naturals Shelled organic Hemp Seeds are grown sustainably at small family farms in Canada. Raw, kosher, gluten-free, and vegan, this product is worth adding to your vegetarian or vegan nutrition regimen!
Reprinted from Turn the Paige: Inspiration from a Lifelong Vegetarian, by Paige Newman.