What is the difference?
The hemp plant has long been associated with marijuana, but this versatile plant has received a
bad rap. Marijuana is derived from the cannabis plant while hemp comes from the cannabis
sativa plant. The hemp plant only contains trace amounts of THC, the mind-altering component
Safe and Healthy
The hemp plant is not only safe for human consumption, but it is also full of nutrients essential
for a healthy diet and considered by some to be a Super Food. Within this little seed are all nine
essential and two semi-essential amino acids. Most importantly, it contains gamma-linolenic
acid, an anti-inflammatory essential fat and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) which are important
for maintaining healthy hearts. For those on vegan or vegetarian diets, hemp seeds are a good
source of protein, deriving 25 percent of their calories from protein. The seed also provides a
good amount of minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur,
calcium, iron and zinc as well as vitamin E.
Eating Whole and Hulled Hemp Seed
When looking for hemp seeds in the store, there are a couple of options. Whole hemp is the seed
with the hard, outer shell still attached. To some people, it may seem too brittle to be palatable.
These seeds are also sold toasted, which makes the shell easier to penetrate with the teeth,
something similar to eating popcorn. It is more stable when exposed to air than the hemp hearts.
The hemp hearts, known as hemp hearts, shelled hemp seed, hemp nut or hulled hemp, are the
names for the seeds that have had the outer shell removed. Because eating excessively hard or
crunchy foods is not appealing, the hulls were removed to make the product more marketable.
When the crunchy shell has been removed, hulled hemp actually contains more protein and
essential fatty acids. Just like any other product, the more it is processed, the more the consumer
needs to be aware of nutritional loss.
Nutrition Gain or Loss?
There is disagreement as to the nutritional gains or losses from removing the outer shell. While
hemp actually does gain some nutritional value it loses some carbohydrate percentage by
removing its shell, there are nutritional losses as well. Removal of the hull means a loss of
insoluble fiber, something hard to find in our diet of processed and quick foods. This means a
potential colon-cleansing component of the hemp has been removed. Insoluble fiber is also good
for removing toxins from the entire digestive tract.
An argument can be made by comparing hemp seeds to the evolution of bread. The original
whole wheat bread fell out of fashion with the introduction of bleached wheat, which made bread
softer and more palatable. There were no seeds to get stuck in the teeth. While the white bread
was more appealing to the senses, its original counterpart was much more nutritious to the
consumer. The loss of fiber from hulling hemp, just as the bleaching process in the wheat for
bread, leaves less nutritional value as a whole for the consumer.
While both hemp seeds and hemp nuts are nutritionally valuable, the hulled hemp does not retain
the all-important soluble fiber found in the original. If you can tolerate the hard seeds, the whole
hemp is the overall better choice for your health.