By GMB Nutritionist Melissa Fine
Buttery, nutty and NOW LEGAL for human consumption in Australia, we find out from our Nutritionist, Melissa Fine, what makes hemp seeds so special, and how to use them. Make sure to scroll down to the end of the post for the pancake recipe!
First things first: What’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?
We get asked this one a lot! Although hemp seeds and marijuana come from the same plant (Cannabis sativa), hemp seeds DO NOT contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the high-inducing chemical inherent to marijuana.
Before Food Standards Australia (FSANZ) deemed hemp seeds legal for human consumption in November 2017, Australians were only able to use hemp as a skincare product, with Australia being the only country where food-grade hemp wasn’t permitted. FSANZ have since acknowledged that food-grade hemp low in THC can provide a number of nutritional benefits, and so should no longer be excluded from the Australian diet.
Why are hemp seeds good for gut health?
Hemp seeds contain two types of fibre:
1. Insoluble fibre - plant-based ‘roughage’ that can’t be broken down by the gut or absorbed into the bloodstream. Rather, it adds bulk to the contents in the digestive tract, alleviating constipation.
2. Soluble fibre - this absorbs water, creating a gel-like, binding substance which helps soften the stool so that things move comfortably along the digestive tract. Soluble fibre also serves as a prebiotic, creating a ‘feeding ground’ for probiotics, AKA good gut bacteria!
What other nutritional benefits do hemp seeds offer?
- Vitamins and minerals: Hemp seeds provide calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and cell-protective, antioxidant-rich vitamin E.
- Essential omega-3 fats: Vegans and vegetarians, you’ll be glad that in addition to walnuts, chia and flaxseed – pretty much the only plant sources of omega-3, there is now another plant source of this anti-inflammatory nutrient that you can incorporate into your diet.
- Protein: Hemp seeds have around 31g of protein/100g, whereas beef has about 26g of protein/100g. Although unlikely you’d eat 100g of hemp seeds in one sitting, one heaped 30g tablespoon gives you over 9g of protein - a significant amount seeing that the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) of protein is 46g for women and 64g for men.
Is hemp a sustainable food source?
Indeed! Aussie farmers are pro-hemp because it requires a relatively small amount of water and grows abundantly without chemicals. A ‘zero waste’ plant, hemp is more than just a food source; its components provide material for paper, clothes and ‘hempcrete’ building material.
Some delicious ways to enjoy hemp seeds?
Sprinkle on your porridge, yoghurt or salads, roll homemade bliss balls in them, or use as a crust for baked salmon (simply brush the top of a salmon fillet with olive oil before dipping into a shallow bowl of hemp seeds until evenly coated). Hemp seed protein (yes this is now a thing!) also adds a buttery, nutty flavour to smoothies, and is perfect for making wholefood PANCAKES!
VEGAN BANANA HEMP PROTEIN PANCAKES
Thanks Hemple for this awesome recipe! We love these with Greek or coconut yoghurt, almond butter + berries <3
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk or plant-based milk of your choice
- 1 cup oats
- ¼ cup Hemple Hemp Seed Protein
- 1 banana, ripe
- Coconut oil, for cooking
- In a bowl, combine chia seeds and milk with ½ cup of water. Let it sit to become gel-like while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a food processor, pulse the oats until they resemble a coarse flour. Alternatively you can use oat flour if available.
- Add hemp protein, banana and chia seed mixture to the food processor and pulse until it resembles pancake batter, it doesn’t take much. You’ll still see some chia seeds intact, this is totally fine.
- Heat a pan or two over a medium heat and add a touch of coconut oil to the pan to prevent sticking. Pour the pancake batter into the pan, leave to cook until bubbles appear and you can easily flip with a spatula, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes.
- Repeat until there is no more batter left. If the batter begins to thicken, stir in a touch more milk or water to loosen it up.
- Serve with your favourite pancake toppings!