Health Benefits of Chia, Flax, and Hemp Seeds

Health Benefits of Chia, Flax, and Hemp Seeds
Chia, hemp, and flaxseeds seem to be everywhere these days! This trio of tiny seeds offers an abundance of health benefits, not the least of which are the valuable Omega-3 fatty acids. These seeds aren’t just for those following plant-based diets, but anyone who wants to boost their intake of nutrients. Read on for a brief introduction to these small but mighty super foods, their comparative benefits, and some ways to use them in your daily fare.

Chia Seeds


Chia seeds are known for their abundance of Omega-3 fatty acids, making them a great alternative from fish oil for vegans. These tiny seeds actually have more of the beneficial fats than salmon. The omega fatty acids can improve your heart health and cholesterol levels, and can be helpful in losing weight. The gel that is formed around the seed with the help of water has no calories and makes you feel more full.
These seeds contain an abundance of antioxidants, as well as complete protein, a rarity in plant sources. They balance your blood sugar and give you steady energy that lasts for hours (a good reason why runners have adopted chia). Chia seeds are also a great source of fiber; they have both soluble and insoluble fibers. You can add these seeds to pretty much anything. Try using them in oatmeal or smoothies. A typical amount is 2 tablespoons a day.

When immersed in liquid, chia seeds form a gel, and make a great egg substitute. To replace one egg, combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water. Stir together and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, or until thick and gelatinous.

Chia seeds are amazingly sturdy and rarely get rancid, even if kept at room temperature for months at a time. Still, it doesn’t hurt to keep them in a tightly lidded container or jar in the refrigerator. For lots more information on chia seeds, how to use them, and their benefits, go to Chia FAQ.

A few recipes using chia seeds on VegKitchen:

Nutty Chocolate Protein Bars with Chia Seeds
Chia Breakfast Bowl
Chia Green Super Smoothie

Flax Seeds


These days, flax seeds can be found in a wide variety of foods. Something often overlooked is that whole flax seeds don’t break down when eaten, they go right through the digestive tract without bestowing any of their many benefits. Make sure you grind the seeds yourself (coffee grinders work well), or use pre-ground flax seeds to get the most value.
Flaxseeds contains lignans, which are chemical compounds that carry antioxidants and enzymes that have many benefits. Flax is also a good source of a type of soluble fiber that helps maintain ideal cholesterol levels. It provides Omega-6 fatty acids and many essential minerals.

Ground flaxseeds can be added to oatmeal, baked goods, smoothies, cereal, and more. Like chia seeds, when immersed in liquid, ground flax seeds form a gel, and make a great egg substitute. To replace one egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons water. Stir together and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, or until thick and gelatinous.

Until recently, it has been necessary to buy whole flaxseeds and grind them in a spice or coffee grinder to get their full benefits. Now, pre-ground flaxseeds are available, making them handy to use without extra preparations. Both flaxseeds and flax oil are highly perishable, so keep them refrigerated. Another way to reap flaxseeds’ fatty acid benefits is by using the oil in salads or dressings (direct exposure to heat damages the nutrients).

Tip: Keep your ground flax in the freezer so it keeps longer and retain nutrients. If you have whole flax, just keep in a sealable bag or mason jar in the refrigerator, as they are highly perishable.

A few recipes using flaxseeds:

Vegaroons (Vegan Macaroons)
Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Yummy Apple-Flax Muffins
Hemp Seeds


Hemp seeds are a great addition to vegan and vegetarian diets, as they’re packed with easily digestible proteins and contain all 10 essential amino acids, putting them among the rare plant-based foods that provide complete protein. These seeds are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a specific omega-6 fatty acid (GLA) not found in any other food; hemp oil contains even more GLA.
Hemp seeds are high in fiber and are rich in minerals including magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium. Hemp seeds are very rarely allergens, unlike many other nuts and seeds. And unlike flaxseeds, you need not grind them to reap their benefits. While chia and flaxseeds have the edge in terms of soluble fiber, hemp is higher than the other two seeds in protein. Hemp seeds aren’t as rich in Omega 3 fatty acids as chia or flax, but much higher in Omega 6s, which is not necessarily a benefit, as the western diet is already overabundant in the latter.

Hemp seeds have a very mild, nutty flavor. As with the other seeds, they’re good in hot or cold cereals, smoothies, and soups, or just sprinkled on salads, casseroles, noodle dishes, or cooked grains. Hemp oil has a strong “grassy” flavor that, though an acquired taste, affords the same benefits and can be used in place of olive oil in cold dishes like salads, but not for cooking.
A few recipes using hemp seeds:

Black Bean-Hemp Protein Patties
Hemp Smoothie with Ani Phyo
Here’s a handy chart comparing the major nutrients in chia, hemp, and flax seeds, reprinted from Quick and Dirty Tips:


Plum Hemp Streusel Coffeecake


1/2 cup Hemp flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegan vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
3/4 cup refined sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup vegan vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
3-4 ripe plums, sliced

Method :

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease (I used Earth Balance and flour) a 9″ cake pan.

Combine all of the streusel ingredients in one bowl and stir until fully combined, or do what I do and mush it all together with your hands. Set aside.


Chocolate & Pear & Hemp Cake


50g  milk chocolate
½ cup coconut oil
2 scoops Hemp Protein Powder with Baobab
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup buckwheat flour
4 tbsp almond or hazelnut milk
2 ripe pears, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Sweet Freedom, agave syrup or coconut nectar


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C and grease and line a loose-bottomed 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Arrange the pear slices in a uniform pattern to cover the base of the tin. Squeeze over your choice of natural syrup.
Put the coconut oil and chocolate (broken into pieces) in a small pan and heat gently until completely melted. Leave to cool.
Now put all of the remaining ingredients and your melted chocolate sauce in a blender and blend until you have a smooth mixture.
Gently spoon over your pear slices, smooth over evenly and place your tin on tray (it may leak out!). Bake for 30-40 minutes until risen, golden and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
Run a knife around the edge and remove the cake from the tin – tip upside down onto a wooden or chopping board. Now carefully remove the loose bottom lid and peel off the greaseproof paper – you should hopefully have a nice pattern intact!!
Slice up and serve with Greek yogurt or just on it’s own!


Hemp Dark Chocolate Cake


27g almond butter
70g unflavored hemp protein
32g hulled hemp seeds
1 banana
15g mulberries
170ml coconut milk
15g quinoa flakes
17g coconut flour
15g cocoa
1 apple
26g cacao nibs

1. Blend all the ingredients but the cocoa, cacao, and apple.

2. When it was mixed, I added 15g of cocoa and 1 grated apple (which I had pressed down so it wouldn’t be overly liquidy).

3. To this I then added 26g of cacao nibs (for the crunch).

4. I pressed it into a baking mould and sprinkled with cocoa + cayenne pepper (oh yeah baby!) + cinnamon. Boom. To the fridge.

Macros per Serving (out of 8):

7.6g protein
10.6g carbo (3.6g sugars/5g fiber)
7.25g fat (1.6g sat)
Now, make and get ready to SERIOUSLY rejoice. Top it with MORE protein to up the protein content if thou shalt desire it 😀 (if you’re willing to desecrate the cake’s veganness, you can use a whey protein sauce but one with pea protein would be more than doable too). The beauty of the cake also is that it is totally sweetener free and oh so rich and dark!

If you, unlike myself, are not into intense dark chocolate though, add some honey to the mixture? The cayenne worked beautifully on top, AY! It wasn’t much but it was certainly enough to get that KICK (which you can turn into a POW! by adding more, hehe). Ohhhhh this is GREAT!! ADAM, THANK YOU FOR THE CHALLENGE!!!!! It’s grand to think that such a thing is possible post workout, topped with protein fluff? Oh, mon Dieu!!!!!!!!

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Presented the final bill for the legalization of cannabis in Italy: full details

imagePresented the final bill for the legalization of cannabis in Italy: full details

It has just presented to the Chamber of Deputies, the final version of the bill for the legalization of cannabis in Italy prepared dall’Intergruppo “Cannabis Legal”. The bill was signed by 218 perlamentari between the House and Senate: “It is perhaps a unique case in the history of the Republic that a bill arrives in Parliament with these numbers”, according to the founder of the Intergroup, Senator Benedetto Della Vedova.
Here are the main points contained in the bill:
Personal possession: It provides for the possibility of holding 15 grams of cannabis at home and 5 grams when you are away from home. It is still illegal and punishable by the little shop of cannabis, even for quantities of less than 5 grams. It also permitted the detention of cannabis for therapeutic use within the limits contained in the prescription, even above the limits for recreational use.

Self-cultivation: It is possible to grow cannabis plants, up to a maximum of 5 female, both by individuals, who associated. It also permitted the detention of the product obtained from plants grown. For personal cultivation it is enough to send a communication to the Office of the Regional Monopoly responsible for the area and does not require any authorization. The transmitted data are included in the “sensitive” of the Privacy Code and shall not be acquired, or disclosed for purposes other than those provided by the communication procedure.

Cannabis Social Club: For the cultivation in a partnership, you must be a non-profit association, the social model deicannabis Spanish clubs, which can only be associated persons of age and resident in Italy, in no more than fifty. Each cannabis social clubs can grow up to five cannabis plants for each member. You can start growing after thirty days from the notice to the Office of Monopoly regional jurisdiction. Again the communications are protected by the rules provided for “sensitive” by the Privacy Code.

Retail: It is also envisaged the sale of cannabis to the public. Production and retail will be submitted to the state monopoly and vigerà ban of import and export. For assets subject to monopoly are planned principles (traceability of the production process, authorization for retail only exercises exclusively devoted to this activity, supervision of the Ministry of Health on the types and characteristics of the products on the market and how packaging etc. etc.), the implementation of which it is delegated to three orders. The violation of the monopoly involves, in any case, the application of the rules to combat the production and trafficking of illicit drugs.

Cannabis: Is it allowed to self-production of cannabis for medical purposes, even in excess of the 5 plants as to consumers “playful” if the prescription includes a need for increased consumption. There are also rules to simplify the procedures for the identification of areas for the cultivation of cannabis destined for medicinal preparations and pharmaceutical companies authorized to produce them, in order to meet the national demand. They are simplified mode of delivery, prescription and dispensing of medicines containing cannabis.

Ban on smoking in public places: Cannabis use is prohibited in public places and in every place where the public: that is also forbidden to consume cannabis on the street and in the parks.

Cannabis and Driving: As with alcohol, the legalization of cannabis does not involve the relaxation of the rules and penalties provided by the Highway Code for driving while impaired mental and physical. According to the text proposed dall’intergruppo “it is still open the question of the verification techniques of positivity tetroidrocannabinolo attesting alteration actually in place, as for alcohol.”

Taxation and prevention: The bill also stipulates that 5% of the proceeds from taxation of the sale of cannabis should be used to finance projects of the National Fund for the fight against drugs. In addition, the proceeds of administrative penalties for breach of the limits and arrangements made for the cultivation / possession of cannabis, will be fully allocated to interventions informative, educational, preventive, curative and rehabilitative, made by schools and health and aimed at consumers Drugs and drug addicts.




1 cup plain flour (or gluten-free flour of your choice)
1.5 cups hemp milk
2 tbsp shelled hemp seeds (and extra for garnish)
1 tbsp hemp oil
1/2 banana (mashed)
1/2 banana (sliced, to garnish)
pure maple syrup (optional)
coconut whipped cream (optional)
Mix the flour, hemp milk, hemp seeds, hemp oil and mashed banana in a large bowl until the batter is smooth and lump-free.
These crepes are quite delicate so extra care and attention is needed to get them right. Make sure your frying/skillet pan is always lightly oiled to stop the crepes from sticking, or use a non-stick pan if possible. You will also need to keep an eye on the heat and make sure the pan never gets too hot. When this happens, take it off the heat for a couple of minutes between each crepe to cool down slightly. Don’t worry if the first crepe turns out looking like its been run over by a truck and thrown against a concrete wall…this is normal…the first attempt is usually the worst one, and then it gets better!
Ladle some of the batter into the pan, swirling it round to coat the bottom and form a nice round shape (use the back of a spoon to spread it out more thinly, if necessary). Wait a few minutes for the top to start bubbling and until the crepe lifts easily around the edges. Flip it over and cook the other side until lightly browned.
Cook the rest of the crepes in this way until your batter runs out, remembering to keep an eye on the heat.



The potential therapeutic use of the CBD has been shown in a large number of diseases and symptoms, such as dystonia, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, skin diseases, and hepatitis.

In 2012, Dr. Leweke has shown that in humans the CBD can be successfully used as an anti-psychotic and confirmations came from a study published in January in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, where the researchers took into account 66 previous studies on CBD psychosis and concluded that the compound offers a number of advantages over current drugs.
It seems to have no obvious side effects and no lethal dose.

GW Pharmaceuticals has announced the start of the second phase of clinical trials of a drug based on the CBD that can improve the symptoms of schizophrenia and reduce the side effects of antipsychotics current.

In a study applied the journal Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, the group of students of the Medical University of Sao Paulo discovered in a test on mice that CBD can reduce or block the symptoms of OCD.

Researchers Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London have demonstrated the potential of the CBD in combating nicotine addiction.

In a study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers concluded that the CBD could be used to prevent brain damage caused by alcohol, while researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York have found that it can prevent the accumulation of fat due to alcohol in the liver by preventing fatty liver, a condition that in time can lead to hepatitis and cirrhosis.

According to researchers at the Department of Pharmacology at King Faisal University Al-Ahsa: << Cannabidiol could be a possible option to protect liver tissue from the harmful effects of cadmium >>.

Researchers at the Department of Psychology, University of Haifa explained that the CBD could be a << new approach to the treatment for the cognitive deficits that accompany depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders related to anxiety and stress >> and there are many scientific studies highlighting the potential of this compound in reducing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.



There are thousands upon thousands of different cannabis strains, all with varying growing traits, tastes, aromas, yields and effects; but they all have something in common: They belong to one of three families of cannabis – sativa, indica or ruderalis.
Each of these names are used to describe three very different and unique sets of genetics found within the Cannabaceae family of plants (of which all cannabis varieties belong to), each with their own traits. Understanding the difference between these genetic families can help growers make an informed decision about what they want to grow, and the preparations they will need to take to get the right marijuana for them.
Cannabis sativas are physically the largest of the three families, and are also probably the most popular. They originated in the wilds of equatorial countries, between 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south of the equator. In these equatorial countries, the hours of daylight do not fluctuate throughout the year in the same way it does across the rest of the globe. Cannabis sativa plants have evolved to take advantage of this, and continue to grow as they flower. For this reason sativa plants tend to look a lot more airy and loose then their other family counterparts. It has also resulted in longer average flowering times than indica or ruderalis varieties, but a proportionally higher yield as well. The leaves of the cannabis sativa plant are long and spindly, often described as being finger-like – much like the stereotypical representation of a cannabis leaf.

Cannabis sativa plants tend to have very high concentrations of THC and relatively low levels of CBD, which has been further strengthen by human breeding – the market has always traditionally valued high THC strains. This tends to result in sativas having the following effects:

– A cerebral head buzz
– Energizes and uplifts
– Motivation
– Focusing and/or increasing alertness
– Inspiring and increasing creativity
– Reduces nausea
– Helps relieve depression/pryomotes a sense of wellbeing
– Stimulates the appetite
Cannabis indica plants are most commonly recognized by their short and stocky stature. This variety of cannabis originated in the wilds of sub-tropical countries, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan (which is sometimes reflected in a strain’s name). Anywhere between 30-50 degree north and south of the equator tends to have the ideal climate for them. Because these are further away from the equator then their sativa cousins, the hours of daylight cannabis indica plants are exposed to tend to fluctuate much more. This means that once the plants have reached their ideal height, they put all of their energy into producing flowers, utilizing the changing hours of day to the best of their ability. The leaves of cannabis indica plants are a lot more fan like then any of the other families of cannabis. The fingers of the leaves grow much wider in order to utilize as much sunlight as possible.

This urgency to take full advantage of the sun has resulted in a line of cannabis plants that flower much faster than their sativa counterpart. This combined with their much smaller stature makes indica strains extremely attractive to those who are growing for money – where space and speed directly relate into potential profit.

Cannabis indica strains are known for having a much higher CBD content than sativas. One of the many functions of CBD is to moderate the effect THC has on the body and mind. Thus indica strains have a very different effect than sativas. These effects include:

– A body buzz
– Acting as a muscle relaxant
– Reduces inflammation
– Effective pain relief/management
– Aids sleep
– Acting as a sedative
– Increasing the appetite
– Increasing dopamine production
– Relieving stress and anxiety
Cannabis ruderalis, is a relatively new line of cannabis within the cannabis cultivation scene. It can be found growing in the wilds of the colder regions of the world, usually above 50 degrees north of the equator (in such places as Russia and China).

The main feature of the ruderalis family is that it is autoflowering, meaning the cultivator does not need to get involved, and can leave their marijuana crop largely to itself. Ruderalis strains are also very small and very fast growing. They produce very small leaves and only a few side branches.

Ruderalis has very low levels of THC and CBD, making them worthless to use in a pure form. This is largely why they have not been utilized by the market up until recently. However, when bred with sativa or indica strains it is possible to produce a sativa or indica dominant plant that retains the auto flowering features of the ruderalis. This is a huge advantage for many growers, especially those who live in colder areas of the world, and/or those who grow outdoors. It means a crop can be planted, maintained with little effort and then replanted right after harvest – as flowering will be effected by time growing as opposed to seasonal change.

What this does mean is that ruderalis does not really have any effects in itself, and will be reliant on the sativa or indica genetics it has been bred with to produce any.

A quick note on hybrids

Although sativa, indica and ruderalis are 3 very distinct and different families of cannabis, they are all interbreedable. What this means is that there are now many strains out there that possess the qualities of multiple families. This allows seed banks and growers to customize and tinker with the qualities of their strains even more, producing some really stunning results.