Why you need to be eating Hemp Hearts

I very rarely find foods that are life-changing. 

We read all the time about how good turmeric is for us, and how celery is one of the most anti-inflammatory foods, and eating clean DEFINITELY makes me feel better overall, but recently I added hemp hearts to my diet in an effort to consume more plant-based healthy fats.

It might sound dramatic, but they actually changed my life, and I'll tell you why. 

I'm the kind of person who likes to eat breakfast. It hasn't always been like that, I used to be a breakfast-hating-coffee-drinker, often not eating til noon or sometimes after...but in those days I was also an afternoon crasher! Once I started eating breakfast, I thought that would end, but just like clockwork, at 2:30 PM, I'd be ready for a nap. I also would be ready for more food well before lunch time! 

The reason for these crashes and cravings is the missing link in most peoples' diets: FAT. In the 80s, and 90s, as you may remember, there was a war on fat. Fat was demonized and we started eating processed hydrogenated oils in their place (which, turns out, are also fat.... but they're trans fats).

Even today most things you read will tell you that the best diet for weight-loss, largely consists of protein and veggies. The problem here is the sheer fact that your body uses carbs and fat primarily as it's energy sources. It uses protein to some capacity, but not nearly as much as it does fat. Your body usually relies on protein for less than 10 percent of total energy expenditure.

Carbs (which are in everything from fruit & veggies to pasta & bread) are used as energy in high-intensity workouts, and strenuous activity. When you eat carbs, they are digested, processed in the liver, and then stored in your muscles as glycogen, which are like fuel tanks so to speak. This is why marathon runners and other high intensity athletes practice "carbo-loading" because they need to fill their tanks and have energy for their activities. Fat on the other hand, is stored as triglycerides in your fat cells. It takes much longer to breakdown, therefore is a more efficient source of energy for low-intensity prolonged activity.  Glycogen stores are very limited compared to fat stores: Your body only stores about 2,500 calories as glycogen, but you likely have at least 70,000 calories stored as fat. Therefore, low-intensity exercise burns a high proportion of fat to conserve muscle glycogen for higher-intensity exercise, which requires quick fuel supply.

That being said, most of us in our day-to-day lives probably don't need a ton of carbs since we're not doing high-intensity activities or running marathons. What we do need is prolonged energy through out the entire day. So how do we get that? Eat more fat. Anytime you have filled your body with more carbs as fuel than it actually needs (and this is very easy to do when eating foods with high sugar content), your liver’s sugar storage capacity is exceeded. When the liver is maximally full, the excess sugar is converted by the liver into fatty acids (body fat and dietary fat are different!) and returned to the bloodstream, where is taken throughout your body and stored  as body fat.

Long story short: eating fat in the morning, especially in the form of Hemp Hearts, keeps you both energized, and full--therefore SATISFIED, until the next meal. Sometimes I have to even remind myself to eat because they are so filling and satisfying. This is a weight-loss ideal. 

Weight-loss aside, hemp hearts have countless incredible health benefits:

  • Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio of or 3:1 (more on that here)
  • Contains Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) which is beneficial for conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage due to diabetes, eczema, & high blood pressure.
    • GLA is also beneficial for PMS and Menopausal symptoms because it produces prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of prolactin.
  • 10 g of Protein in one serving
  • Contains Vitamin E and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
  • Contains high amounts of the amino acid arginine, which is used to produce nitric oxide in the body

    • Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that makes the blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease

    • In one large study of more than 13,000 people, increased arginine intake was linked with decreased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP)

HOW DO YOU EAT THEM?

I sprinkle them on my nut based granola in the morning for breakfast, as well as making them into "Overnight Oats" style jars. They can be added to just about anything including soups, salads, and main dishes. 

Kids & adults also enjoy them via Hemp Heart Crusted Chicken Tenders .

Going to give hemp hearts a try? Share on Facebook and spread the love!

Food, NutritionKelli DifazioFood