Hemp Seeds and Diabetes
It’s common for people to associate the benefits of hemp seed with those of the cannabis plant. However, these seeds obtained from the hemp plant have little to none of the psychoactive compounds found in marijuana — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Instead, they are a rich source of essential nutrients needed for the total well-being of the body, e.g., omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
For centuries, these seeds have been utilized as oral and topical medications to treat and prevent several diseases and infections of the heart and skin. However, despite its numerous uses, does it have beneficial implications in the treatment of diabetes?
Stick with us as we unravel loads of scientific research on hemp seeds and type 2 diabetes.
- Protein 31.6 g
- Carbohydrate 8.67 g
- Fat 48.8 g
- Fiber 0 g
- Sugar 1.5 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
Nutritional Profile of Hemp Seeds
The various health benefits of hemp seeds are associated with their nutrition profile. They boast diabetes-friendly carbs and dietary fiber content of 2.6 g and 1.2 g per three tablespoon-serving, respectively. They also have an impressive protein content of 9.48 g.
Although they are high in fat (14.6 g), this isn’t a cause for alarm as the majority (about 90%) of this fat exists in the form of heart-healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. However, these seeds are relatively high in calories (166 cal). Hence, you might need to watch your consumption to avoid excessive calorie intake and a subsequent weight gain.
Furthermore, hemp seeds are cholesterol-free and assumed to have a zero glycemic index (GI) — both desirable qualities of a diabetes-friendly food. Finally, the seeds provide healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, etc.
Benefits of Hemp Seeds to Diabetics
Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and offer impressive benefits to skin health. In addition, they have been shown to promote digestion. One other important area of concern is their role in the management of diabetes. This section explores the various reasons people with diabetes might want to increase their intake of hemp seeds.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Coronary disease is a common complication of diabetes. However, research proves that hemp seeds might have a beneficial effect on this condition. This is primarily due to its high linoleic acid content, which is believed to have beneficial effects on certain cardiovascular diseases.
One meta-analysis of 25 case studies associates reduced tissue linoleic acid levels with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Although such findings aren’t consistent across studies, research proves that supplementing your diet with linoleic acid-rich sources may help prevent the risk of coronary heart disease.
Blood Glucose And Weight Management
This attribute of hemp seeds is linked to their decent dietary fiber content (10.5–16% DV per three-tablespoon serving). According to research, dietary fiber intake improves blood glucose and insulin sensitivity in diabetic and non-diabetic individuals. In obese people, soluble fiber has been associated with the enhancement of weight loss.
These aforementioned effects of dietary fiber may be due to the ability of soluble fiber to slow digestion of nutrients like fat and carbs since it readily forms a gel in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). As such, it prevents unwanted spikes in blood sugar levels.
Further research into the benefits of hemp seeds found them to exert impressive antioxidant-boosting effects. Feeding high-fat diet-induced obese rats with hemp seeds for eight weeks increased their antioxidant status, particularly the hepatic metabolism of glutathione.
The native hemp seeds were found to reduce plasma cholesterol levels, while defatted seeds minimized triglyceride accumulation. Surprisingly, the latter was also found to cause undesirable cholesterol increases labeling this hemp seed variant as a double-edged sword.
How Can Diabetics Eat Hemp Seeds?
Hemp seeds are highly nutritious, but their high-fat content may induce diarrhea when eaten in excess. Instead, studies on hemp seeds and type 2 diabetics prove those with this disease can benefit from their desirable blood sugar regulation and heart-friendly benefits when eaten in moderation. Here are exciting ideas you should try out for the safe consumption of hemp seeds:
- When baking, replace nuts or other seeds with hemp seeds.
- Use them to make hemp milk.
- Sprinkle them on yogurts, cereals, salads, or cottage cheese.
- Incorporate them into smoothies.
- Use them to coat fish or chicken in place of breadcrumbs.
Hemp seed offers numerous benefits that may aid diabetes management if consumed in minimal portions. However, it’s crucial you reach out to your physician before utilizing any hemp-based products.