Hemp hearts (seeds) are the first ingredient in our bars, and for good reason! At Sproos, we’re always on the lookout for fresh ways to help you make your health a priority … without costing the planet. So if you’ve been wondering what in the heck hemp is doing in our collagen bars, we’ve got your answers right here.
When it comes to our core values, hemp ticks all of the boxes: it’s a powerfully nutritious, real food that’s also highly sustainable. With a myriad of health benefits like hormone balancing, boosting metabolism and digestive health and an unbelievably earth friendly growing process, hemp has been used for thousands of years for its fibers and medicinal properties. And as we discover more about this superfood, it’s obvious that this ancient miracle crop still has a few things to teach our modern butts.
So what exactly IS hemp?
Hemp seeds (or hearts) come from Cannabis Sativa plants. Yes, it’s the same type of plant that marijuana comes from. But it’s important to note that hemp is NOT marijuana. The two plants actually look remarkably different. And they also have a different chemical composition. Basically, marijuana plants have THC, which produces a psychoactive effect, or high, if you smoke it. Hemp plants have only minimal, or trace amounts, of THC. Which is not enough to affect you in any way.
So hemp can’t produce the high that marijuana can, but there’s a lot that it CAN do. Hemp is used to make hundreds of items, like clothing (think invincible linen), milk, textiles, shoes, diapers, CBD oil, and paper.
And due to its fantastic nutritional profile, ease of digestion and nutty, rich taste, hemp crops are a growing industry in North America.
Reasons Why We Heart Hemp Hearts: Nutritional Powerhouse
Rich in Omegas
Hemp seeds are a powerful source of essential fatty acids. Namely, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Alpha linolenic acid can be can be converted into EPA and DHA, both of which contribute to energy, brain function, and even mood. Our western diets are sadly lacking in omega 3s. And finding ways to incorporate it into your diet is key. Why? Omega 3s lower inflammation in the body, contribute to weight control and bone health.
Omega 6s are just as critical as Omega 3s, but are more widely available in our diets, so while we don’t need to be looking for ways to increase our intake, it’s good to know that they contribute to disease control and weight loss.
It’s a Complete Protein
Hemp hearts are a complete source of protein. Protein. It’s the main goal of each meal because it plays a role in controlling blood sugar, building and maintaining muscle and keeping us feeling ‘full’ (to avoid multiple snack attacks throughout the day). That’s right. Hemp can play a crucial role in helping you get your daily servings of protein. It’s also a smart choice for plant based diets where getting enough protein can be a challenge.
Vitamins and Minerals
Hemp seeds also loaded with micronutrients. Micronutrients are key vitamins and nutrients our body needs to support everything from immune function to bone health and energy levels.
Hemp delivers a remarkable mix of vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin E – A powerful antioxidant, used to boost the immune system
Vitamin A – Good for vision, reproductive system, immune system and organ function
Vitamin D – For healthy bones and teeth, regulates insulin levels, supports cardiovascular health
Potassium – Helps to maintain consistent blood pressure, good for cardiovascular health, bones and muscles
Phosphorous – Bone health, energy levels
Manganese – Bone health, antioxidant, regulates blood sugar, thought to improve brain function
Magnesium – Helps with metabolism, bone health, thought to help combat anxiety
B Vitamins – This powerhouse complex of vitamins is thought to help with mood, and may improve depression and anxiety
Zinc – helps with immune function, brain function, learning and memory
Iron – Critical for maintaining healthy red blood cells and moving oxygen through the body
It’s Easy to Digest
Hemp isn’t going to cause digestion issues. As anyone that’s dabbled in protein bars can attest, some are definitely easier on the gut than others. This issue even has its own acronym: PDCAAS. It stands for protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score. And the PDCAAS for various types of hemp has shown that de-hulled hemp has a score that’s equal to or greater than certain grains, nuts, and even some pulses.
And Hemp Sustainability? Check.
Good for You, Good for The Planet
Your inner ecofreek can rejoice! Besides being a nutritional rock star, hemp also shines in terms of sustainability. Hemp crops are exceptionally hardy, easy to grow, and don’t take a toll on the land the way more traditional crops do.
Could hemp be the ideal crop?
Hemp crops take up less land, use less water, and can even be grown organically, without the use of any chemicals.
It’s a Space Saver
Hemp uses less land than traditional crops. In a lot of ways, hemp actually grows a lot like a weed. It works like this: hemp plants will happily grow very close together. This increased density means that hemp crops are considered high yield. High yield is the holy grail of farmers, because means that more product can be successfully grown in less space. Hemp has an average yield between 600–800 lbs an acre, meaning that farmers can make more profit per acre. This tight configuration of plants also discourages weed growth, and helps in pest resistance. Which also makes it less labour intensive.
Many also tout the benefits of hemp as a water wise crop. And while it definitely outshines water intensive crops like cotton and marijuana by miles, more studies need to be completed to assess just how much water hemp plants need for optimal growth.
Hemp Crops IMPROVE Soil Quality
Hemp crops have been shown to increase the microbial content of the soil. After harvesting, farmers can leave the nutrient rich leaves and stems on the ground, which return to the soil. Hemp crops have also been used in phytoremediation, which is a crop that is used to clean up contaminated soil. Studies have shown that hemp, when used in phytoremediation, can actually work to remove heavy metals and toxins from polluted soil.
Hemp is Also Pest Resistant
Hemp is resistant to most pests, which eliminates the use for deadly pesticides and herbicides. Although it should be pointed out that many pests do feed on hemp crops, but not to the degree that requires a need to control them.
If you’re on the hunt for nutrient-rich, real food ingredients that provide clean energy and are also easy on the planet, then you’ll want to add hemp into the rotation.