Once a health food specialty, hemp hearts can now be found on the shelves of small grocers and big box superstores alike. Why is this tiny seed suddenly such a big deal?

The Heart of Hemp

Here’s the scoop. Hemp hearts are popular because they yield a nutritional blast for your entire body, are versatile and can add variety to your snacks and meals.

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Hemp hearts, hemp seeds and hemp nuts are the same thing. Usually when you buy hemp hearts, the hard outer shell has been peeled away. The inner part of the kernel is soft and chewable. That is the part that is used in food whole or pressed into oil.

Like chia and other seeds, hemp hearts are simple to use. You can sprinkle hemp hearts onto your yogurt or mix them into smoothies or salads. In addition, Bon Appétit says hemp hearts make a nice gluten-free substitute for bread crumbs and can be used to create a crunchy coating for a variety of foods.

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Hemp Hearts are Not a Drug

With all the goodness hemp hearts offer it might be surprising that many people are still leery about the little gems. This is largely due to nervousness about hemp’s relation to marijuana and the fear that a handful of seeds might make you high or cause you to fail a drug test. Yikes! Rest assured. That won’t happen! While both hemp and marijuana are in the cannabis species, hemp hearts contain just a tiny amount of THC, if detectable at all. Hemp hearts is not a drug.

However, hemp hearts themselves are extremely high in protein. They beat out chia and flax seed in that arena. (This makes them a great protein source for anyone allergic to soy.) Hemp soars when it comes to delivering omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, Vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium and more. With all of those nutrients packed into a couple tablespoons of tiny seeds the health benefits of hemp are promising.

hemp heartFrom smoothies in every color of the rainbow to vegetarian burgers, dips, salads and sides hemp is a key ingredient to dozens of tasty recipes. Check out Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen compilation 39 Hemp Heart Recipes. Don’t be afraid to buy the jumbo bag of hemp hearts from the shelves. And, GET COOKING!