Shelled hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a suitable protein source for vegetarians. Hemp seeds are also a good source of zinc and magnesium and contain only trace amounts of cholesterol and sodium.
Hemp seeds originate from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa L. Though commonly confused with marijuana, hemp plants contain almost none of the psychoactive chemical that is present in marijuana. Hemp seeds are generally regarded as a health food as they are high in healthy fats and proteins and easily digestible. A 30-gram serving of shelled hemp seeds contains approximately 174 calories and 14 grams of fat. Of the 14 grams of fat, only 1 gram is saturated fat, and the seeds contain no trans fat. One serving of the seeds also contains 11 grams of protein.
Hemp seeds may be eaten as-is, or they may be processed and turned into hemp protein powder, hemp oil or hemp milk. The composition of hemp seed is approximately 73 percent fat, 35 percent protein and 2 percent carbohydrate. Hemp seeds have a relatively sweet and nutty flavor when eaten on their own. Because cooking may affect the nutritional benefits of the fatty acids, hemp seeds are best eaten raw or added to foods after cooking.