Why is hemp so good for us?

Hemp is one of the most amazing plants to support human health that exists on our planet. It’s brimming with nutrients, so much so, that I make a point of incorporating it regularly into my already super healthy plant-based diet. Here are some of the many beneficial health traits of our favorite plant:

Protein Power Super Star
Hemp is one of the most complete proteins in the plant food kingdom, containing ALL 21 known amino acids, including the 9 that humans are unable to produce themselves. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Protein is essential for basic bodily functions; it helps to build new cells whilst looking after the tissues within your body. Protein is responsible for making neurotransmitters, the essential internal messaging service that sends the signals around your body to make it function. Hemp comes up top for protein power and is well recognized as a superfood by those seeking a healthy protein source.

Perfect balance of omega essential fats
‘Essential’ means that the body can’t produce these fats itself, so it requires dietary input. Hemp contains nature’s perfect ratio (3:1) of omega 3 to omega 6 essentially fatty acids. This is a unique accomplishment in the plant world. These compounds have been shown to have a particularly beneficial effect on our health. Hemp seeds are one of the few plant-based sources of omega 3 (other sources include walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds).

‘Essential’ means that the body can’t produce these fats itself, so it requires dietary input. Hemp contains nature’s perfect ratio (3:1) of omega 3 to omega 6 essentially fatty acids.

GLA (gamma linolenic acid)
Hemp is an excellent source of GLA. This is a really special omega 6 fatty acid, that is also found in borage, evening primrose and black currant seeds. It has been shown to help people with skin disorders, PMS, menopause, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and has good anti-inflammatory benefits.

Hemp seed oil and skin disorders
Studies have shown that hemp seed oil can help with skin disorders. I found one study concluding that improvement in cholesterol levels and improved symptoms of atopic dermatitis were directly related to the dietary consumption of hempseed oil. It was suggested that this may be because of the abundance of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) in hempseed oil.

High fiber food
Like most plant foods, hemp seeds are rich in soluble and un-soluble fiber. Fiber naturally keeps the colon clear, gives you a satiated feeling, whilst helping to reduces sugar cravings.

High in antioxidants
Hemp seeds are high in the antioxidant vitamin E. It has also been found to contain tocopherol, which benefits both Alzheimer’s and atherosclerosis. Phytol is another powerful antioxidant from hemp seed, which is known to have both antioxidant and anticancer properties.

Different ways to eat hemp seeds

Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is extracted by pressing hemp seeds. It’s best to choose a cold pressed, unrefined oil to ensure that it retains its optimal goodness. The best hemp seed oil will have a green tint along with a fresh, nutty flavor. It is known to be unstable at high temperatures and not advisable to use for frying or baking. It works well by drizzling over potatoes or veggies after cooking and is always my first choice for salad dressings.

Whole & shelled (hulled) hemp seeds
I remember the first time I ever tried hemp seeds about 15 years ago. They hadn’t yet taken the world by storm and generally came with the shells still on. I learned rapidly from experience that you definitely want to buy them hulled/shelled (also referred to as hemp seed hearts). They have a light, nutty flavor and blend easily into smoothies or act as a great sprinkle on salads and other cereals. Grind them or use them whole.

Hemp protein powder
This is an excellent way to add hemp to a smoothie or other food if you specifically want to focus on the protein and high fiber element of these amazing seeds. The powder is what’s left over after the oil has been extracted and is much easier to digest than many other protein sources. One of my favorite ways to use hemp protein powder is to pop it in a smoothie.

Where to find hemp seeds
You can find hemp seeds, hemp protein and hemp oil at any good health food store or online.

-This article was originally published here: http://www.trinityskitchen.com
Check out more recipes and fun facts on Trinity’s site.

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