Do hemp seeds have nutritional benefits?


By AGENCY

The small seeds of the hemp plant are full of healthy nutrients but not all the claims about this superfood have been backed by science. — dpa

Hemp seeds, the latest would-be superfood to have found its way into kitchens around the world, are a welcome addition to muesli, homemade bread and other dishes, in the eyes of nutritionists.

But not everything that consumers are being told about these seeds on health blogs or product packaging is scientifically verifiable – and not everyone should eat them.

Be it sprinkled on a sandwich or mixed up in a smoothie, hemp seeds are versatile in boosting the protein count in vegetarian and vegan diets.

They consist of 20 to 35% protein, but also have B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron and fibre.

In addition, hemp seeds have a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

However, Germany’s Consumer Advice Centre of Bavaria is warning people not to pay attention to widely circulated claims that hemp seeds have significant health effects beyond what their variety of nutrients can offer.

Claims that they have positive effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels have not been backed up by scientific evidence.

And yet, many health websites are currently suggesting the opposite and pushing hemp seeds as a superfood that can prevent heart disease and stroke.

Manufacturers in many countries are not allowed to make these claims, however, and are limited to advertising with statements such as “rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids” or “a natural source of protein”.

Proven health benefits or not, many consumers may still think “it can’t harm.”

However young children and pregnant women may want to hold off on the hemp seeds just to be on the safe side.

Unlike marijuana, these seeds aren’t a natural source of the intoxicating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Nevertheless, in poor production conditions, the seeds can be contaminated during harvesting if the seeds come into contact with flowers, which are rich in THC.

German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment says that THC levels in hemp seeds and other hemp products are too high and could cause negative health effects.

”Even small amounts of the psychoactive substance can affect the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system,” the institute’s health experts write.

“As a result, mood swings and fatigue can occur, among other things.”

The institute says that because hemp seeds are still an emerging food trend, safe guidelines for consumption by children have yet to be established. – dpa

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Hemp seeds , tetrahydrocannabinol

   

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