Hemp hearts — also called shelled or hulled hemp seeds — are all the rage for their high levels of omega fatty acids, Magnesium, GLAs, amino acids, and many other nutrients. One of hemp hearts' most important benefits, however, is one that has been proven in very recent years: their ability to promote gut health. Having a wide variety of gut microbes is key to good physical and mental health, helping to prevent conditions like heart disease, obesity, and inflammation, while also battling common symptoms of anxiety and depression. To create an optimal microbiome community in the gut, it is important to consume a diet that is rich in fiber, which can be sourced daily from healing hemp hearts.
How Much Fiber do Hemp Hearts Have?
Every tablespoon of hemp seeds contains around one gram of fiber. The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of 25 grams per day, though amounts may vary depending on age. Women aged below 50, for instance, can get by on 21 to 25 grams daily, while men this age can opt for 30 to 38 grams. Seniors may need a little less than younger adults - i.e. 21 grams for women, 30 grams for men. Hemp hearts can easily be incorporated into other dishes containing protein. For instance, a Thai chicken salad with quinoa roast pumpkin works beautifully with a couple of tablespoons of toasted hemp hearts on top. The key is to source fiber from a wide array of foods, including superfoods like hemp.
What Impact can Hemp Have on Gut Microbiota?
Our gut houses literally trillions of microbes that interact with each other and modulate various processes that are necessary for our health. When we consume a diet that is high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats, we deplete levels of crucial microbiota for gut health. As stated in a study by Kassem Makki et al, fiber (which can be sourced from hemp hearts and other fiber-rich foods) essentially forms ‘food webs’ in the gut that permit healthy bacterial growth. When individuals consume low-fiber diets, the diversity and function of micriobiota is altered. Just one of these is the ability of some bacteria to produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These acids have a vital role to play in the maintenance of health - including the regulation of metabolism, inflammation, and disease.
Fiber Intake from Hemp Hearts Can Help Promote Mental Health, Too
If you were into hemp hearts simply because you wanted to battle inflammation (which causes everything from heart disease to autoimmune problems), know that by making them a part of your daily diet, you are also doing wonders for your mental health. It is amazing to think that a healthy gut equals a healthy mind, but that is just what science has shown. One May 2019 study showed that anxiety can be soothed by regulating gut bacteria through a healthy diet. The latter can be defined as a Mediterranean-styled diet containing fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and fiber. Another 2019 study revealed that people with depression tend to have low levels of specific microbiota.
Fiber Can Help You Lead a Long Life
Scientists at McGill University found that feeding fruit flies a combination of probiotics and a herbal supplement prolonged their longevity by an impressive 60%! This lab study adds to growing evidence of the important link between a healthy, varied gut bacteria population and long-term health. Researchers, Satya Prakash, stated that probiotics not only alter the composition of gut microbiota, but also help us metabolize food better. Therefore, you can make the most of the life-giving nutrients in food as a whole.
If you’ve never tried hemp hearts before, and you want to after reading about all its benefits, you may be surprised to discover how truly delicious they are. They taste nutty (somewhere between a sunflower seed and pine nut) and make such a wonderful addition to quinoa and other dishes. To enhance the health of your gut bacteria, make sure to consume a varied diet that is high in fiber. You will not only feel better physically, but also possibly find it easier to battle the blues and keep your ‘fight or flight response’ in check!