If we’re completely accurate, hemp seeds are really more of a nut, which means hemp hearts are like a shelled nut. The nutritional profile of hemp hearts makes so much sense in that light!
Let’s start with protein! The importance of protein in our diets cannot be overstated. Those of us who try not to overdo the meat are always happy to find great plant sources of protein. Twenty-five percent of the calories in hemp hearts come from protein. Not only that, they contain all essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source! There are very few plants that fit this description. In fact, of all the grains we feature, hemp hearts have easily the highest protein content.
Not only that, when talking about amino acids, there is something else to consider. Foods containing amino acids are given a score based on how well the amino acid is digested. Animal proteins generally have a score of 1 which means they are easily digested. Plant-based proteins are normally lower, but we want it as close to 1 as we can get. Hemp hearts have a score of 0.63 to 0.66! Whole wheat has a PDCAA score of 0.4 to give you a comparison. That puts hemp right up there with beans as a plant-based protein source.
There is even some evidence to suggest that hemp may have a positive effect on cognitive function. A study done on mice shows that hemp helped to prevent damage to the brain caused by inflammation, especially regarding memory.
Hemp is also a great source of magnesium, iron, and zinc.
AND what’s especially awesome is that Hemp has ZERO phytic acid. You heard right. Zero. Phytic acid is an antinutrient that binds to nutrients so that we aren’t able to digest them. Most grains have phytic acid, so we aren’t getting all the nutrients the grain has to offer. Sourdough, sprouting, and soaking can help to mitigate this, but hemp hearts already have no phytic acid. That means you are getting what you came for.