Searching for something nutritious and different at mealtimes? Eating a wide variety of foods is one of the key nutrition strategies, and now there’s a new food available in Australia to add a tasty and nutritious ingredient to your recipes: hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds have been a pantry staple overseas for years, however they weren’t available here until November 2017 when Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FZANZ) changed the regulations to allow these nutritious seeds to be sold here.

Why hemp seeds?

Firstly, they are a good source of protein (around 34g/100g – higher than quinoa).

Importantly they contain all 20 amino acids (that help with healing and repair of our muscle and tissue), including three of the essential fatty acids needed for the human body to function:

  • Omega 3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and stearidonic acid (SDA), for a healthy heart.
  • Omega 6 and 9. The ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 polyunsaturated fats is around 3:1. (Australians generally aren’t lacking omega 6 but many are not meeting omega 3 requirements).

They also contain dietary fibre which can aid digestion, are gluten free, low allergy and suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Plus they add a nutty taste to recipes and are a versatile ingredient.

Thompson’s Hemp foods are now available in Australia as Hemp Seeds, Hemp Wholefood powder (chocolate and unflavoured) and Hemp Seed Oil.

According to recent research, however, Australians remain sceptical about hemp foods, mistakenly believing they are illegal and ‘mind altering’. This simply isn’t the case as the hemp seeds, unlike marijuana, contains none of, or very low levels of the chemical THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol). To be approved by FSANZ, hemp foods have to contain less than 0.5% of THC, hence they are called low-THC hemp. So they are quite safe.

You can find these new products in some pharmacies and health food stores around Australia, so why not try adding hemp seeds or powder to breakfast cereals or smoothies, scatter over salads, wizz into gluten free breadcrumbs or use the oil in salad dressings. See the two recipe on the website for inspiration:  Salmon, Avocado, Blood Orange & Hemp Seed Salad and Hemp Banana Pancakes.