What's the Deal with Hemp?

Hemp products are becoming increasingly popular, but what exactly is hemp? To answer a few burning questions…yes, hemp is a species of Cannabis sativa, but no, it’s not the same as marijuana.

Food Network Kitchen's Hemp Seed for Healthy Budget Dinners, as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

Hemp products are making more appearances at health-food stores, but what exactly is the story with this plant? To answer just one burning question: Yes, hemp is a species of Cannabis sativa, but no, it's not the same as marijuana.

Health Attributes

Hemp is a complete plant protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. It's also brimming with good fats, including the Omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which may help decrease inflammation and control blood pressure. That's in addition to bringing a variety of other nutrients to the table, including fiber, iron, phosphorus, folate and magnesium.

5 Hemp Products

Stroll the aisles of any health-food store, and you're sure to encounter some of these hemp spin-offs.

1. Hemp seeds have a slightly nutty flavor and are packed with protein, Omega-3 fats, and minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium. Sprinkle raw shelled hemp seeds over a salad, cereal, yogurt or soup.

2. A fine addition to morning cereal bowls or smoothies, hemp milk has a creamy texture and is brimming with Omega-3 fats. Many hemp milks are also fortified with riboflavin and vitamins A, D and B12.

3.  Hemp oil, good for salad dressings, has a slightly nutty flavor and contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. Like any oil, hemp contain 120 calories per tablespoon.

4. Hemp granola  adds delicious crunch to parfaits. As with any granola, it's important to keep portions in check. Three-quarter cup of  Nature's Path Hemp Plus Granola contains 260 calories and a respectable 5 grams of fiber.

5. Hemp bread offers a decent way to help meet the daily recommended intake of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Make your favorite sandwich using a couple slices.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

Keep Reading

Next Up

What's the Deal with Powdered Peanut Butter?

The original version needs no introduction but this not-so-distant relative has been gaining major popularity. Is powdered peanut butter for you?

What’s the Deal With A2 Milk?

Could this cow milk be a new option for those with lactose intolerance?

The Real Deal on Guarana

This new caffeine alternative is all the rage in energy drinks. A few weeks ago a client told me she was drinking guarana soda instead of coffee because she was pregnant. The young woman was floored to find that it contains much more caffeine than coffee. This inspired me to write this post---guarana is not always safe. Read up on the facts and find out if it’s right for you.

Safely Dealing With Leftovers

Here are some tips for properly cooling and defrosting leftovers -- especially important after those big holiday feasts.

Easy Meals, Good Deals, Made Healthy

. Get back to budget-friendly eating with Foodnetwork.com's Easy Meals, Good Deals feature.

How to Deal with Post-Workout Hunger

There’s a right and wrong way to eat after exercise; find out the balance to get the most out of your fitness routine.

On TV

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.