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For many decades, hemp has been politically demonized. Of no doing of its own, of course. After all, it’s simply a plant!
Hemp’s image has largely been tainted by its botanical relationship to the medicinal and drug-related varieties of cannabis.
Take note: hemp grown for human consumption does not contain the same psychotropic qualities. Rather, it contains a whole host of wonderful nutritional qualities!
Until recently, scientific literature severely lacked in exploring the health benefits of this wonderful plant. Thankfully, times are changing. Research is catching up to what the Ancients have none for thousands of years. Records of hemp’s use and consumption date back 8000 years to China!
So, let’s explore this wonderful plant food together!
Where Do Hemp Seeds Come From?
The hemp that is fit for human consumption originates from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Don’t be worried! The similarities between marijuana and hemp begin and end with their botanical names.
Hemp seeds do not contain enough tetrahydrocannabinoids (THC) — the active ingredient in marijuana — to have any impact on the human body, even in large doses.
No worries — hemp seeds are safe for children, pregnant and nursing mommas, and those recovering from substance abuse.
Dating back to the 1700s, hemp was widely grown in the United States for its practical uses as a strong fiber. Once again, it’s becoming more widely cultivated, thanks to an increasing awareness about its versatility and nutritional attributes.
What Makes Hemp Special?
Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on this planet. In addition to eating the seeds and oil for their health benefits — which we’ll discuss below — the entire plant is widely useful! The fibers are used to make:
- cleaning products
- body care products
- building materials
So, here are just a few of the reasons to incorporate hemp seeds and hemp oil into your lifestyle.
#1 — High In Vitamins, Minerals, & Plant Protein
Hemp seeds are high in an abundance of nutrients including vitamins E and B and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc.
Additionally, hemp seeds contain almost as much protein as soybeans. Yet, they are much easier to digest, not likely to disrupt hormone balance, and aren’t genetically modified.
Hence, hemp seeds provide a great plant protein source for vegans. Just 3 tablespoons of Wildly Organic’s Hemp Hearts provide 10 grams of plant-based protein!
#2 — Rich In Healthy Fats
Hemp seeds contain a high amount of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) which is an omega-6 fatty acid.
Not all omega-6 fatty acids behave the same way in the body though. This kind of omega-6 fatty acid is different from linoleic acid (LA) found in other vegetable oils (like canola and soybean oils) which are known to create an inflammatory response in the body.
Instead, GLA is a building block for hormone-like chemicals in the body that are responsible for reducing inflammation and regulating body temperature. For women experiencing painful PMS, GLAs have been shown to help alleviate symptoms.
#3 — Good For Your Bowels
Because they’re rich in fiber, hemps seeds are great at keeping the digestive system moving. Hello, more regular bowel movements!
One particular study actually found hemp seed pills to be an effective combatant for constipation. Fiber also feeds the good bacteria in your gut which promotes a healthier gut microbiome and helps maintain blood sugar balance.
#4 — Helps Promote Healthy Skin
Topical application of hemp seed oil in people with atopic dermatitis resulted in significant improvement of the plasma fatty acid profile and alleviated clinical symptoms of the condition (source).
This might explain why hemp seed oil is being used more frequently in skin care products.
#5 — Good For Heart Health
One research paper concluded,
A mix of legal issues and misunderstandings has slowed research progress in this area but enough data presently exists to argue strongly for the continued investigation into the therapeutic efficacy of dietary hemp seed.
This was in specific regard to its potential to reduce risk factors associated with heart disease and other heart-related illnesses.
Furthermore, other studies have looked into how low-grade systematic inflammatory conditions are often a sign of essential fatty acid deficiencies.
Made up of over 30% fat, hemp is an excellent source of essential fatty acids. It also contains arginine which produces nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide has been known to help dilate blood vessels and reduce hypertension (source).
#6 — May Help Reduce Fatigue
Finally, studies on mice have provided some hope that hemp has the potential to reduce fatigue due to its ability to reduce lactic acid in the blood.
This could be good news for endurance athletes, but don’t get too excited yet. Human studies have yet to be performed.
The Best Ways to Eat Hemp
Wildly Organic’s Hemp Hearts (another name for hemp seeds) are soft, but tenderly crunchy, and have a mildly nutty flavor. There is no need to grind or shell them; they’re perfect for eating straight from the bag!
Or, try hemp hearts…
- sprinkled on porridge, yogurt, or on a smoothie bowl
- added to smoothies
- in homemade granola
- sprinkled on salads
- made into crackers
- in pesto