I’ve been talking about hemp seeds and their oil for a while now and using them in so many of my recipes these days. Many of you are now also in hemp world with me, which I’m so happy about. You’ve also been asking what’s so fab’ about them, are they safe to eat, and what do they taste like.
I’ve had some of you report that your skin is so much nicer, with improved elasticity, texture and glow. Well, that’d be the essential fatty acids they contain – namely the omega family and the perfect and unique balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 they contain.
The skin benefits of Omegas 3,6 & 9 are endless. They are the building blocks of healthy skin and help maintain the natural barrier that locks moisture in. They are also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that calm, soothe and improve conditions like eczema and acne from the inside out. (According to Chinese Medicine, hemp has a ‘cool’ energetic quality so it's wonderful for treating ‘hot’ conditions such as eczema [literally meaning ‘boiling over’] and psoriasis. The ‘cooling’ powers of Hemp calms and soothes the skin and restores balance to the body. Flaxseed oil by the way, is ‘warm’.) Hemp has the perfect balance of Omegas 3,6 & 9 - 2:1:1, as this is the ratio in which they are found naturally in human cells.
Many EFA (essential fatty acid) supplements are blended to reach this golden ratio, but Hemp oil naturally contains the Omegas in these proportions. And as they are all from this one perfect source, the body can metabolize the Omegas in Hemp more readily, so is easily able to reap the benefits.Hemp and marijuana are both varieties of cannabis – but ‘Industrial Hemp’ contains very little if any (0.03 or less) THC (the stuff that gets one ’high’) while marijuana contains around 30%.
Grown since ancient times and documented as far back as Ancient China, Hemp contains its own built-in insecticide called ‘terpene’, which is responsible for its pungent smell. And the leaves once juiced have been hailed as a ‘cure for cancer’. But as there is no legal support, this can’t be proven – yet. Hemp is high in carotenoids, which we know decreases the risk of eye disease and some cancers among other things. Pests don’t like hemp, maybe due to the ‘terpene’, so there’s no need for toxic sprays.
Are you loving it yet? Raw, whole seeds contain the highest amount of the good oils and nutrients but current laws dictate that the seeds must be sterilized or hulled to prevent sprouting, but thanks to recent processing technology the hull can be removed without affecting the nutritionally dense nut inside.
BENEFITS TO YOUR HEALTH
- Weight loss by increasing metabolic rate
- Increased and sustained energy, and recovery after chronic fatigue
- Balancing blood pressure
- Helps reduce behavioural issues in children and adults
- Improved circulation
- Reduction of menopausal symptoms and PMT
- Reduces arterial plaques
- Makes for a soft and velvety skin and helps with acne, psoriasis and eczema
- Reduces inflammation thanks to the Omega oils
- Improves digestion
- Reduces arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Reduces hypertension
- Boosts immunity
- Reduces sugar and junk food cravings
- Improves brain function, probably due to the protein and EFA content
- Control of blood sugar due to the high protein content (33% when hulled)
- Contains good amounts of soluble and insoluble fibre
- Helps relieve the symptoms of AIDS
- Symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s reduced thanks to Glutamic acid - a neuro-transmitter
- Liver and kidney disease reduced due to albumin, a protein usually manufactured by the liver
35% of the whole seed is fibre – 10% higher than flax seeds. Fibre helps to eliminate toxins from the body via your bowel and, for this reason, helps in lowering your chances of the colon, breast, prostate and rectum cancer and heart disease. It will also help to keep your blood sugar stable, your skin nice and increase your life expectancy.
THE GOOD OILS
These good EFA’s can help you to reduce your weight, improve your good skin, make for a healthier cardiovascular system, protect against some cancers, and positively affect your immune and inflammatory response, and clean your bowel. They also help the renal, respiratory and cardiovascular systems. AS I mentioned earlier, Hemp has the perfect ratio of omega 3, 6 and 9 oils - unique in the oil world. These essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are also necessary for healthy cell membranes so will help with leaky gut.
The oil is best as a supplement and kept raw. You can have 1-5 tablespoons a day for therapeutic purposes. Add it at the end of your cooking, add it to your smoothies, salads or steamed veggies, and keep it in the fridge to ensure the delicate omega oils are not damaged.
Hemp has a unique, easy to digest and absorb protein called ‘Edestin’. Like soybeans, it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 22 amino acids – AND it contains antioxidants. It naturally contains 50% protein and after processing may be increased to 97%. Hemp contains no carbohydrates and is more stable than other hemp products. It’s a great alternative to the less digestible soy and whey protein powders. Edestin Increases the bodies own natural defense system so decreases sickness and disease.
Grind the whole seeds using your ‘dry’ blender or coffee or seed grinder. Add it to your baking with other flours - just be sure to knead it well if you’re making bread. It has a short shelf life of about 3 months so only make enough that you need in any given time and store it in the fridge.
Add 3 times the amount of water, blend well and then strain through a sieve. Yummy added to your baking or smoothies. Use the pulp in your baking.
BENEFITS TO THE PLANET
- Improves the condition of the soil
- Natural body care
- Chemical- free cleaning products
- Suitable for producing paper
- Environmentally building material
- A good alternative to petrochemical- based plastics
- A fuel source for diesel engines
- Stronger and more durable than alternative fibres like cotton (which is a GMO crop).
- Hemp produces 4 times as much paper pulp as the equivalent area of trees.
- Hemp and marijuana are both varieties of cannabis – but 'Industrial Hemp' contains very little if any (0.03 or less) THC - a hallucinogenic property - while marijuana contains around 30%.
HOW TO USE HEMP
Really you can add it at the end of any dish. Lately been making
‘Basil and Hemp Hummus’, adding to it my Tabouli, adding it in my nori rolls, as a garnish to my stir-fry’s, quinoa salads, and steamed veggies, and I add the oil and/or protein powder to my daily smoothies. Hemp seeds taste like sunflower seeds and have the texture of cashew seeds so they’re pretty easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
I realise hemp seeds bring about a certain reaction in some people, firstly because it’s related to marijuana, and because in
Australia and New Zealand they’re not legal for consumption - the last places on earth that haven’t legalised them for this purpose yet. But after much research and using them myself for months now, I am sure that this incredible plant has much to offer, and very little, if anything to fear. So go ahead - start adding hemp to you meals, and watch your health improve, your weight reduce (if it needs to), your heart get healthier and happier, and your digestion much calmer.