Hemp is thought to have originated in central Asia and the Himalayas thousands of years BC, and eventually spread throughout the rest of the world. It belongs to the plant species Cannabis sativa, which is part of the mulberry family, and is distantly related to the hop. There are several variations of the species that are mostly cultivated for the fibre, its nutritious seed often being neglected. The variety Cannabis indica yields the narcotic drug also widely cultivated... but we don’t deal with this varietal in our baking, sorry.

Hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds) are a very high source of protein, containing all 20 known amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce. The major portion of hemp protein is made of the globulin protein Edestin, which aids digestion, almost phosphorus-free, and considered the backbone of the cell’s DNA. The rest of hemp seed protein is Albumin, which is similar to the globulin protein found in egg whites.

Hemp seed oil is not only rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (good fat), but has the optimally balanced 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, and contains small amounts of gamma-linolenic acid, oleic acid and stearidonic acids; all these acids contribute to healthy skin and a stronger immune system. Hemp hearts are a good source of vitamin E, carotene (precursor to vitamin A), phytosterols, phospholipids, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, chlorophyll, and smaller amounts of iron and zinc.

Eating a good amount of hemp hearts at the start of your day will keep you from snacking on ‘filler’ foods with empty calories by providing enough long lasting energy to last throughout the day. They will help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, improve organ function, reduce symptoms of PMS and menstrual cramps, reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis, and improve the recovery of muscles after exercising. We heart hemp.