By Revital Aranbaev
Hemp is one of the oldest and most misunderstood plants in the world.
8,500 years ago, hemp was harvested and used to produce durable cloth. Around 3,000 years ago, people began using hemp as a food and medicinal source. At that time, hemp seeds were used to heal the central areas of the chi and revitalize blood flow, veins and arteries.(1)
Since hemp is a cousin of THC-rich marijuana, it has gotten a bad rap for many years. It's even banned in countries like Brazil. But unlike marijuana, hemp seeds don't contain psychoactive compounds. The trace amounts of THC found in hemp are not mind-altering.
In many ways, hemp is one of the most useful plants known to mankind. It is used to make over 25,000 different products, including paper and clothing. But does that mean hemp can be properly absorbed as food? Does it have more nutritional benefits than other foods?
Why Hemp Is Called a Super Food
Essential and non-essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein. However, essential amino acids cannot be produced by your body. You must get them from food or supplements. Hemp seeds contain all of these essential amino acids, the ones your body can't produce on its own.
Hemp has less overall protein than soy. But hemp protein is easier to digest and it's absorbed quickly. And it doesn’t cause bloating or gas.
Hemp seeds have a 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids, which is important in preventing heart disease and promoting heart health. Their Omega 6:3 ratio is second only to flax seeds.
Though not scientifically proven, hemp has been linked to helping people with varying issues including ADHD, eczema and atherosclerosis according to the University of Michigan Health System. In addition hemp seed oil can help alleviate dermatitis (an inflammation of the skin) according to a study conducted in Finland in 2005.(2)
Hemp seed oil is used in various cosmetics, such as skin creams, shampoos, shaving creams, lip balms etc. One reason is that hemp seed oil has properties that make it a natural sun block. These properties make it a great functional ingredient in natural skincare products. In addition since hemp is rich in vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption, it helps skin stay hydrated and smooth.
There are so many ways to add hemp into your diet… hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, made into hemp milk, or prepared as a tea.
Allergies to hemp are rare. So are side effects, except sometimes loosening of the stool. If your digestive system is sensitive to change, start with small amounts of hemp seeds and slowly work your way up.
People who are extremely sensitive to THC may experience hallucinations or feelings of euphoria.(3) But as mentioned earlier, hemp seeds only have trace amounts of THC.
Please share your experiences and experiments with hemp and leave us a comment!