You have probably heard of these names making their way into the wellbeing world. Flax seed and Hemp seed are two of the most powerful plant foods now available, but they have been around for quite a while. Flax seeds have been grown since the beginning of civilisation, used as a traditional remedy in Mediterranean culture and hailed for its health properties. And Hemp dates back to the Neolithic Age archeologically.
They are more than today's newest buzzword or touted a 'superfood'. Even Charles the Great knew that flaxseed would be beneficial to his subjects, as he ordered them to eat this wondrous seed for their health! Both flaxseed and hemp have a whole host of properties and benefits as rich sources of vitamins and minerals. Find out which ones unique benefits would be most suited to you and your own individual health needs:
What are be benefits of Flax Seed?
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant substances called lignans. These promote hormonal balance.
- Lignans are antioxidants that fight against free radical damage, making flaxseed a great anti-ager and hormone balancer. However, it is important to note that lignans are only available in the ground flaxseed form, and not in the oil. The process of making the oil removes them.
- Flax seeds are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids to nourish and promote healthy hair and skin. These include calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and protein.
- Evidence suggests that flaxseed lowers cholesterol, and a low cholesterol is important for a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Lignans are Antiviral and antibacterial which can prevent the onset of colds and flus.
- Polyphenols in flaxseed may aid in detox of candida and excess yeast in the body by supporting the growth of probiotics in the gut.
- Supports healthy digestion by providing relief for those suffering with digestive problems, such as Crohn's disease. Flaxseed is a source of insoluble fibre that feeds friendly bacteria in the colon to support cleansing of waste. Flaxseed is also commonly consumed for constipation in order to pass daily bowel movements.
- The Journal of Nutrition published a study stating that flaxseeds may support weight loss and help to combat obesity. The healthy fats and fibre found in flaxseed can increase satiety and therefore may reduce excessive hunger.
What are the benefits of Hemp Seed?
- Supporting heart health by providing nutrients that are essential for a healthy heart, such as fibre, healthy fats, and plant-based protein. Research suggests that hemp can improve cardiovascular health and high blood pressure.
- Promotes healthy skin, hair and nails when taken internally or applied topically. Hemp seed oil penetrates the inner layers of the skin for deep nourishment and healthy cell growth. When eaten, hemp seeds are a source of protein and healthy fats to provide skin, hair and nail essential nutrients to build.
- Management of arthritis symptoms - researchers found that consuming hempseed oil could possibly lower the survival rate of MH7A rheumatoid arthritis synovial cells. They stated that it can even promote cell death at the right doses. You can find this study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
- Hemp seeds high content of both insoluble and soluble fibre promoting a healthy digestive system and keeping the gastrointestinal system regular - providing relief from constipation.
- Keep you fuller for longer - because of the high fibre content in hempseeds, this can can keep you fuller for longer to reduce eating excessive calories. It has been recommended by nutritionists that by adding hempseeds to your breakfast, you can keep yourself fuller for longer, and curb hunger pangs throughout the day. This can help promote weight loss.
- As a rich source of the omega-6 fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), hemp seed has been known to support hormone health and manage symptoms of PMS.
- Hemp seeds are one of nature's best sources of energy with four tablespoons containing 15g essential fats, 15g protein, 2.4g fibre, 4.5g carbohydrates and no cholesterol. If you are feeling fatigued, try adding hemp seeds to your breakfast instead of grabbing a sugary energy bar, which might have the opposite effect with a sugar crash.
Are Flax Seed and Hemp Seed the Same?
Both Flax Seed and Hemp Seed are complete proteins, this means that both contain all 9 of the essential amino acids that the body can make on its own. However, hemp seed is a higher plant source of essential fatty acid.
Hemp seed has double the amount of protein as flax seed. Flax seed contains 5.7 grams in a 3 tablespoon serving. But Hemp seed contains 10 grams of protein in a 3 tablespoon serving.
Flax seed contains more fibre. It is important to note that the fibre of flax is primarily beneficial in using ground flax, not the oil. The oil is more useful for inflammation, and cell membranes. Hemp seed contains 3 grams of fibre in a 3 tablespoon serving, whereas flax seed provides 8.4 grams. This means if getting more fibre is important to you, perhaps to support digestion or to feel fuller for longer, then ground flax seed might be the option to choose.
To sum this all up, both flax and hemp seed are incredible powerhouses of nutrition. You might even want to incorporate both wonder seeds in to your diet, as both offer excellent health benefits and have the power to make you feel vibrant and energised!
Each individual has a different diet, therefore is in need of varying levels of nutrients. For a diet which will be nourished by a higher protein intake containing all of the essential amino acids, Hemp seed would be a wise addition to a diet, especially if you are a vegan or vegetarian.
Alternatively, for a diet which would benefit from a higher omega 3 content, Flax seed is a rich source of Alpha Linoleic Acid which is an essential component of cell membranes and precursor for anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.