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All You Need to Know About Eating Hemp



Contents

  1. Why Is Hemp Catching the World’s Attention Now?
  2. Hemp Vs. Weed
  3. Hemp Oil Is Not the Same as CBD Oil
  4. Nutritional Benefits of Hemp
    1. One of The Most Nutrient-Dense Foods
    2. A Great Source of Plant-Based Protein
    3. A High-Fiber Food
    4. Minerals and Vitamins
  5. Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
    1. Protect Your Brain
    2. Lower Cholesterol and Decrease Your Risk of Heart Disease
    3. Reduce Inflammation
    4. Promote Healthy Skin and Hair
    5. Reduce Symptoms of PMS and Menopause
    6. Whole Hemp Seeds May Aid Digestion
  6. Tips for Adding Hemp to Your Food
  7. A Planet Friendly Plant
  8. In A Nutshell

Why Is Hemp Catching the World’s Attention Now?

The U.S. dominated the worldwide hemp industry until 1937. [1]

According to Ministry of Hemp [2], an article published in Popular Mechanics in 1938 claimed hemp as the New Billion-Dollar Crop. Claiming to have thousands of potential applications, there seemed to be no limit on how and where hemp could be used. Yet, not even a year after this publication, the government passed restrictions on hemp that essentially killed the entire industry. For the next 80 years, hemp and its history were largely forgotten and misunderstood.

The U.S. Farm Bill 2018 signed into law, and specifically, the Hemp Act, marks not only the dawn of a new agricultural era but also a faster movement toward the full legislation of medicinal cannabis. Hemp is now widely promoted as a crop for the future.

Hemp is now widely promoted as a crop for the future.

RELATED: The Greatest Victory For Hemp: The New Farm Bill Signed Into Law!

Hemp Vs. Weed

Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant family and even look similar to an untrained eye, but there are major differences between the two.

The marijuana plant is stockier, while the hemp plant is taller and thinner. But the biggest differentiating factor is that the hemp plant contains low levels of THC (TetraHydroCannabinol)―the psychoactive component of Cannabis family―unlike the marijuana plant.

The journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research notes that food-grain strains of hemp must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. This renders the plant incapable of getting you high, no matter how many hemp seeds you eat. A HuffPost article [3] mentions:

Hemp seeds are not cultivated from the marijuana plant, but from the hemp plant, which contains minute amounts of THC. According to Jolene Formene, staff attorney at Drug Policy Alliance, “Hemp seeds are non-psychoactive, meaning that consumers cannot get high by eating them.” In other words, it’s impossible to get high from them.

They also won’t cause you to fail a drug test. We know that other foods like poppy seeds, which contain trace amounts of opiates, can make you fail a drug test. Certain places actually ask that you don’t eat poppy seed bagels or muffins before testing. But hemp seeds won’t cause the same confusion. A study found that eating hemp seeds had little effect on a person’s THC levels―and never enough to exceed the levels looked for in federal drug testing programs.

Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant family and even look similar to an untrained eye.

RELATED: All You Ever Wanted to Know About THC and CBD

Hemp Oil Is Not the Same as CBD Oil

CBD oil is extracted from the stalks, leaves, and buds of hemp plants.

Though hemp oil can be made from the seeds of any plant in the cannabis family, but it is primarily derived from hemp. The seeds themselves contain as much as 50% of their weight in oil, which is easily extracted.

The seeds do contain some CBD, but not nearly enough to offer medicinal benefits. Likewise, the seeds only contain trace amounts of THC.

So, both hemp oil and CBD oil come from the same plant, contain components sought after for their healthful properties, and have established themselves as useful products—but for different reasons. For the most part, hemp seeds are used for their nutritional value rather than as a medicine.

RELATED: The Underlying Difference Between Hemp Oil Vs CBD Oil

Nutritional Benefits of Hemp

Hemp foods deliver some fantastic nutritional benefits to your body.

Hemp seeds, as described by Healthline [4], are technically a nut, with a mild, nutty flavour and are often referred to as hemp hearts.

Many people consider hemp seeds to be a superfood. The seeds have a rich nutritional profile and provide a range of health benefits. [5]

Many people consider hemp seeds to be a superfood.

 

1. One of The Most Nutrient-Dense Foods

Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids, crucial for long-term health. The body cannot produce essential fatty acids, and must absorb them from the diet. [7]

Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, an omega-3). They also contain gamma-linolenic acid, which has been linked to several health benefits. [4]

Jemima Skelley notes on BuzzFeed [6]: “According to health advocator Dr Sandy Krafchik, hemp seeds have a unique nutritional profile, and are actually a complete food source. "They have a nearly perfect ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 essential fatty acids, which can help prevent heart disease, cancer, and high cholesterol."”

2. A Great Source of Plant-Based Protein

Medical News Today explains [7]:

Hemp seeds contain almost as much protein as soybeans. In every 30 grams (g) of seeds, or about 3 tablespoons, there are 9.46 g of protein. These seeds are a complete source of protein, meaning that they provide all nine essential amino acids.

Amino acids are the building blocks for all proteins. The body cannot produce nine of these acids, so a person must absorb them through the diet. Relatively few plant-based foods are complete sources of protein, making hemp seeds a valuable addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Hemp seeds are especially rich in an amino acid called arginine, which has benefits for heart health.

The digestibility of hemp protein is also very good—better than protein from many grains, nuts and legumes. [4]

The digestibility of hemp protein is also very good.

3. A High-Fiber Food [5]

Much of the fiber in a hemp seed lies in its outer hull, or shell. If possible, purchase hemp seeds with the hulls intact. However, even without the shells, hemp seeds are a good source of fiber, with three tablespoons containing approximately 1.2 g of fiber.

Consuming enough fiber every day can:

  • reduce the appetite
  • help with weight management
  • work to stabilize blood sugar levels
  • promote the health of the gut

4. Minerals and Vitamins

As highlighted by Medical News Today [5], hemp seeds contain an impressive array of vitamins and minerals and are especially rich in vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

They are also a good source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B-6, and folate.

Hemp seeds contain an impressive array of vitamins and minerals.

Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds have many positive health effects on your body. They may:

1. Protect Your Brain

According to Medical News Today [9]:

The fatty acid content of hemp seed oil may also be good for the brain, which requires plenty of healthful fats to operate properly. Hemp seed oil is also rich in other compounds that may help protect the brain.

recent study in mice found that a hemp seed extract containing these active compounds was able to help protect the brain against inflammation. The authors note that hemp seed oil contains polyphenols, which may play a role in protecting the brain.

The fatty acid content of hemp seed oil may be good for the brain.

2. Lower Cholesterol and Decrease Your Risk of Heart Disease

Because hemp oil is so rich in essential fatty acids, specifically omega-3’s and omega-6’s, it is an important dietary addition to help reduce cholesterol levels. Hemp oil accelerates metabolic processes, thereby accelerating metabolism. When you have a high metabolism, your body burns much more fat than usual, and it stops depositing nasty fat deposits throughout your vital arteries.

Healthline further elaborates [4]:

The seeds contain high amounts of the amino acid arginine, which produces nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that makes your blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.

In a large study in over 13,000 people, increased arginine intake corresponded with decreased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammation marker. High levels of CRP are linked to heart disease.

The gamma-linolenic acid found in hemp seeds has also been linked to reduced inflammation, which may decrease your risk of diseases like heart disease.

Additionally, animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and help the heart recover after a heart attack.

3. Reduce Inflammation

Medical News Today says [5]: The amount of omega-3s in hemp seeds and the seeds' healthful omega-3 to omega-6 ratio can together help to reduce inflammation.

In addition, hemp seeds are a rich source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a polyunsaturated fatty acid which may also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Reducing inflammation may help manage the symptoms of chronic diseases, such as:

  • metabolic syndrome
  • type 2 diabetes
  • arthritis
  • heart disease
  • non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease

4. Promote Healthy Skin and Hair

Hemp seed oil is good for the body and skin.

Hemp oil is chock-full of natural oils that mimic your skin’s lipids. Lipids are a vital aspect to your skin’s protective barrier, they also are essential to cell-to-cell communication. With its similarities to these lipids, hemp oil helps to rejuvenate aging skin, assists with water absorption, and elasticity.

Hemp oil is already a very common ingredient in homemade or natural shampoos and hair care products as it naturally thickens hair and prevents hair loss. Massaging hemp oil into your scalp, or shampooing your hair using hemp based products, stimulates blood flow and reduces inflammation which may be causing underlying itching and soreness of the scalp.

These essential fatty acids cannot be naturally manufactured within the body and therefore it is important to ensure you are getting enough through your diet or skincare regime.

Earthly Body [8] describes why hemp seed oil is good for the body and skin:

Hemp seed oil is renowned for its skin moisturizing and rejuvenating properties. Essential fatty acids have the ability to enter directly into the lipid layers of skin cells, replenishing the oils that are missing due to sun exposure, poor nutrition or neglect; and as shown by clinical studies can actually slow down the aging effects on skin. This provides nourishing protection to the skin, while the high moisture content helps to repair and soften damaged skin cells.

Throughout history hemp seed oil has been used as a soothing restorative to dry, damaged skin. The replenishing nutrients of hemp seed oil are able to penetrate deep into skin cells – providing natural emollients and a lasting barrier to moisture loss – increasing the skin’s natural capacity for moisture retention.

5. Reduce Symptoms of PMS and Menopause

According to Healthline [4],

Up to 80% of women of reproductive age may suffer from physical or emotional symptoms caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These symptoms are very likely caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found in hemp seeds, produces prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of prolactin. In a study in women with PMS, taking 1 gram of essential fatty acids — including 210 mg of GLA — per day resulted in a significant decrease in symptoms.

Because hemp seeds are high in GLA, several studies have indicated that they may help reduce symptoms of menopause, too.

6. Whole Hemp Seeds May Aid Digestion

Healthline elaborates [4]: “Whole hemp seeds are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, containing 20% and 80%, respectively.

Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in your gut. It’s a valuable source of nutrients for beneficial digestive bacteria and may also reduce spikes in blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels.

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and may help food and waste pass through your gut. It has also been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes.”

Whole hemp seeds are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.

RELATED: The 9 Hemp Oil Benefits That Can Change Your Life

Tips for Adding Hemp to Your Food

You can purchase hulled, ground, or split seeds. To remove the seeds' hard outer shells at home, you can use a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Whole seeds act as a bulking agent, and they also add fiber to the diet, which can aid digestion. [5]

Hulled hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are whole seeds with the crunchy outer shell removed. They are about the size of a sesame seed, have a soft creamy texture and a nutty flavor, and can be added to almost anything for an extra boost of nutrition [10].

Tips for Adding Hemp to Your Food

Hemp seed oil is a popular cooking oil, serving as an alternative for unhealthy oils, such as vegetable, palm, and canola. It is also much lower in saturated fatty acids than other common cooking oils. However, it has a very low smoke point, so frying with hemp seed oil isn’t recommended. Use hemp oil in low-heat cooking or salad dressings.

Dr. Weil [1] recommends eating whole hemp seeds as a snack. They’re delicious and very easy to prepare. Just pour half a cup of seeds into a dry skillet placed over medium-high heat and stir them around until they begin to toast and pop. At that point, turn off the heat, stir in a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper or a little soy sauce, red pepper, garlic powder or herbs. Prepare only as much as you can eat since the cooked seeds don’t keep well.

A Planet Friendly Plant

Hemp is a sustainable wonder crop. It can grow in a variety of climates and soil types. The crops grow close to one another, so they take up less space. [8]

Farming hemp is also better for the planet than lots of other food sources. It doesn't need as many chemicals or fertilizers to grow, so in turn, it requires less water than plants like corn or cotton. Plus, the crops naturally improve the soil structure, remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than trees do, and are drought- and weed-resistant. [6]

Farming hemp is also better for the planet than lots of other food sources.

In a Nutshell

Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats, essential fatty acids, protein, fiber, and other nutrients.

Consume them as is, sprinkled over your favorite dishes. Or grind them into protein powder. Or blend and press them into milk. Or just add hemp oil to your food. The possibilities are endless.

But remember, it’s always best to eat a diet containing a wide variety of foods so that you get a full spectrum of nutrients.

Sources –

  1. https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/food-safety/how-healthy-is-hemp/
  2. https://ministryofhemp.com/blog/hemp-products-list/
  3. https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/hemp-seeds-thc_n_59b154a0e4b0b5e53104312e
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-health-benefits-of-hemp-seeds
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323037
  6. https://www.buzzfeed.com/jemimaskelley/hemp-australia
  7. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/why-are-hemp-seeds-good-for-me#1
  8. https://earthlybody.com/why-hemp/
  9. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324450
  10. https://thesourcebulkfoods.com.au/blog/hemp-as-food/

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