What Is Hemp Seed?

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Hemp seeds are often pressed for oil to isolate their healthy fats.
Hemp seeds are often pressed for oil to isolate their healthy fats. (Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images)

Hemp is often confused with marijuana, but it is a different plant from the same species and it doesn't have marijuana's psychoactive effects. You can buy hemp seeds in their whole form or hulled and eat them raw, roasted or toasted. Add them to granola, trail mix, yogurt, cereal or oatmeal, or use hemp flour for baking. Hemp seeds are very versatile and can be used to make dairy product substitutes, such as hemp seed milk, cheese and ice cream.

Nutritional Value

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein and fat, providing 5 grams and 6 grams respectively per serving of 2 tablespoons. They offer lots of high-quality protein that contains all eight essential amino acids, Hemp seeds contain the healthy fat alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which is a type of omega 3 fatty acid. Two tablespoons of hemp seed provides 882 milligrams of ALA -- more than half the daily needs for adults. Omega 3 consumption lowers cholesterol levels and has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

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