Hemp Hearts 101


Everything you didn’t know you needed to know about nature’s coolest superfood

Whether you’re an old hand at enjoying hemp hearts or brand new to the bandwagon, it never hurts to brush up on why you should feel great about including this stunner of a superfood in your diet. At a time when many of us are trying to be extra mindful of eating in a way that’s good for ourselves and the planet, there aren’t too many foods that check all the boxes that hemp does in terms of nutrition, versatility, and sustainability.

What are hemp hearts, exactly?

Hemp hearts are the seeds of the hemp plant that have had their hard outer casing or shell removed. They have a delicate, nutty flavor and are incredibly versatile, as you’ll see below. They also pack an incredible nutritional punch.

Oh yeah? What’s so special about hemp hearts’ nutrition profile?

Hoo boy, where do we start. OK, pull up a chair because this is quite the list.

  • Gram for gram, hemp has more protein than chicken.
  • Hemp hearts offer twice the protein content of chia or flax seeds, with half the carbs.
  • Hemp hearts contain an impressive 18 amino acids — including all 11 that our bodies can’t produce on their own.
  • Hemp hearts contain gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that plays a role in fighting inflammation.
  • In fact, hemp hearts contain nature’s ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (3:1).
  • They’re also an excellent source of minerals such as phosphorus, niacin, thiamine, manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
  • Oh, you want more? OK, hemp hearts are also a good source of folate and Vitamin B6.

It’s no wonder that humans have been having an ongoing love affair with hemp for literally thousands of years. For real! It was one of the very first cultivated agricultural crops, as far back as 8,000 BC. And it’s been keeping us fueled ever since.

What about genetically modified ingredients or preservatives? Do Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts mess with any of that?

We can answer that in three simple words: No. Sirree. Bob.

Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts are 100 percent free of preservatives, GMOs, soy, gluten, grains, and nuts. They’re paleo-friendly, keto-friendly, kid-friendly, grandma-friendly, athlete-friendly, and vegan-friendly. It’s basically the friendliest food we know. Let’s just say that when hemp throws a party, the line to get in stretches around the block.

And look, we’re as excited as the next guy about the plant protein revolution sweeping the globe, but we’re especially fond of hemp hearts because they’re showing up in the same minimally processed, accessible, versatile, clean, unadulterated way they have been since humans started putting plants in the ground. No high-tech chemistry labs required. And that is something to don a party hat for.

Tell me more about this versatility you keep mentioning. How can I use hemp hearts in the kitchen?

One of the most popular ways to eat hemp hearts is to blend them into your breakfast or post-workout smoothie. They add a subtle nutty flavor and a big ol’ punch of protein and other essential nutrients. (Bonus protein points if you use hemp milk or hemp protein powder too!)

Folks are also fond of sprinkling them onto salads, granola, yogurt, soup, or any other dish that could use a little texture, crunch, and protein boost.

But that’s just the beginning. When dinner time rolls around, try using hemp hearts as a grain- and gluten-free substitute for bread crumbs and use them to coat chicken, fish, or tofu. (Hemp-crusted tofu? Be still our beating hearts!) Or sub hemp hearts for nuts in any recipe being served to people with nut allergies. Just toast ‘em up a little in a dry pan over low heat to bring out even more of their natural nutty flavor.

Now we’re getting warmed up! You can also use hemp hearts in falafel, cookies, waffles, energy bites, muffins, meatballs, pasta sauces, tabbouleh, homemade nut butters, and hummus. To name a few.

Turns out the better question might be: How can’t you use hemp hearts in the kitchen?

Wow, I’m sold! Off to stock up on hemp hearts!

Hold up, there’s more! We’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you one more super important way that hemp hearts make a smart, responsible, feel-good dietary choice.

As good as hemp is for humans, it’s just as good for the health of the planet. It helps reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, helps to regenerate depleted soil, prevents soil erosion, doesn’t require any pesticides or herbicides to grow, and requires much less water than plants such as soy, almonds, or cotton.

It also helps support hemp farmers, many of whom we’ve cultivated personal relationships with over our quarter century of doing business. We like to think we cultivate our growers with the same care and affection with which they tend their plants. We’ve been working with some of our growers since the 1990s. We know them and their families, and we pride ourselves on helping them make a stable living while adhering to best farming practices. They know they’re working with the leader in the hemp industry, and that we’re committed to everyone’s well-being—from the grower to our own employees to the people who buy our trusted products.

So there you have it! From nutrition to versatility to sustainability, there’s no shortage of reasons to feel mighty good about your hemp heart habit. We’ll toast to that.