Choosing to incorporate superfoods into your life is not always easy. There is tons of information out there about the health benefits of foods, but its not always easy to know which ones to choose and how to get started. Hemp is a great one to start with. It is easy to add into your diet – smoothies, oatmeal, grain bowls, salads – and it is rich in so many healthy nutrients! So let’s get started with the health benefits of hemp.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is cultivated from the environmentally-friendly plant, Cannabis genus. Yes, that is the same plant that Marijuana comes from, but it is in fact a very diverse plant. Hemp is not only used as a health superfood but also as a fuel source, a material to make textiles and biodegradable plastics, as well as to make paper. Being one of the earliest domesticated plants known, hemp is one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources known today with one of the highest nutritional values.
Does Hemp have the same effect as Marijuana?
Hemp and Marijuana come from the same family but from different plants. Hemp comes from Cannabis sativa L. while Marijuana comes from Cannabis sativa indica. The major difference between the two plants is the level of THC, which is the component that causes a drug-like effect. While the plant that Marijuana is derived from has up to 20% THC, hemp contains only .3%, not enough to cause any effect what so ever. Therefore, no worries, you will not receive any type of drug-like reaction while utilizing hemp as a food.
What is the Nutrient Profile of Hemp?
- About 44% of hemp is comprised of edible healthy oils, containing 80% of essential fatty acids
- Hemp is an excellent vegan protein source: 33% is edible protein, making it only second to soy
- Hemp has an amino acid profile closer to complete than animal sources such as meat, egg, and dairy
- There are no known allergies to hemp foods
- Perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids
- High Chlorophyll content and High in Vitamin E
- Contains a high content of major and trace minerals
- High source of fiber
What are the Health Benefits of Hemp?
Hemp is highly digestible which is a vital factor in today’s world. With almost everyone needing of a digestive cleanse, the more digestible a food, the better. As great as many foods are and as many nutrients as they have, if you cannot digest them properly, you are not really getting those benefits.
Rich in Essential Fatty Acids, Hemp has the following benefits:
1. Anti-inflammatory: vital if you have any chronic or autoimmune disease, if you are dealing with any pain, or if you exercise regularly.
2. Critical to Brain and Nervous system functioning
3. Highly beneficial to those with Cardiovascular Disease
4. Improves quality of Hair, Nails and Skin
Hemp is High in Protein, a perfect source of vegetarians or vegans.
Being a vegan myself, eating hemp seeds everyday has been an important part of my daily nutritional practice. To learn more about the health effects of adequate protein, check out my other article.
Hemp is rich in Vitamin E, making it a highly effective Antioxidant. Vitamin E has the following benefits:
1. Anti-inflammatory: yes, Hemp not only helps to control inflammation in the body from its essential fatty acids but also from its component of Vitamin E
2. Rush University showed that a vitamin high in vitamin E (a combination of tocopherol forms, not including alpha-tocopherol) lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by 67% in subjects.
3. Boosts Metabolism– may help with weight loss
4. Protects against Cancer-some studies suggest Vitamin E to protect against prostate, breast, colon and bladder cancer.
5. Eye Health– studies show a 20% lower risk of developing age-related Macular Degeneration
Will Hemp be Right for Me?
I think that Hemp is one of the staples of a healthy diet. Fortunately Hemp products are affordable and really easy to use, so they can be added into your normal routine quite easily. Whether you are currently dealing with any of the previous conditions mentioned, or just want to prevent chronic disease, cancer or aches and pains, this is a MUST.
How to I Incorporate Hemp into my Life?
The easiest ways to incorporate hemp seeds into your diet is either through the seeds, powders or oils. I personally LOVE using the seeds. My favorite brand is Navitas Naturals – you can find them on Thrive Market. I add the seeds to my grain dishes, to my oatmeal, and salads. I also like to use them in my morning breakfast shake as well as a milk alternative. You can simply add them to food or add a couple tablespoons to 1-2 cups of water and blend them up to make hemp milk.
Hemp also has been used to make an array of products from Hemp Seed Butter, Hemp Cereal, Hemp Bread and Hemp Oil. While the Hemp cereals and Hemp granolas are a nice addition, if you are looking for more therapeutic effects, I would use the seeds, seed butter or oil. They are much more concentrated and easier for you to use in higher dosages.
Will I Like the Taste?
Yes! They have a slightly nutty and sweet flavor that are easy to add to anything. I have made dishes with them for my family and friends and haven’t heard anything negative about them yet, so I think I can safely say you will like them too.
How Much Should I Have Daily?
Depending on your health condition I would suggest anywhere from 1-6 tablespoons a day. If you are dealing with inflammatory conditions, cardiovascular disease, or any other chronic or auto-immune diseases I would use 6 tablespoons a day of the seeds. If you are using them for protective measures I would use 2 tablespoons a day. Depending on your weight, these dosages will be subject to change.