9 Reasons to Use Hemp Seed
Foods that have an incredible array of health benefits that go well beyond just their nutritional value are considered ‘super-foods.’ One of the oldest and yet seemingly most misunderstood superfoods on the planet is hemp. Hemp is an incredible multi-purpose plant that can be used for anything from paper, rope, and cloth. It is also one of the most nutritionally well-balanced foods on the planet. In this article, you will discover 9 reasons to use hemp seed to improve your health.
Although many people associate hemp with its sister plant marijuana (Cannabis sativa l.) the two are not the same. Hemp products come from a special variety that contains virtually no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the chemical that gives marijuana its psychoactive effects (1). Therefore hemp is a perfectly safe food that will not make one “high” or cause anyone to fail a drug test.
The History of Hemp Seed:
Hemp has been cultivated and used by any ancient cultures since the beginning of recorded history. Researchers have found its use in China, India, Babylonia, Persia, Egypt and the native cultures in North & South America (2).
Hemp fiber was used to make rope and cloth, while the stalk was used to make paper. These cultures also used the seed for nutritional purposes. It can be eaten as shelled seeds, oil, butter, flour, and protein powder (3).
The Protein Composition of Hemp:
Hemp protein is one of the very few plant based complete protein sources. This means that it contains sufficient quantities of all 9 essential amino acids. Hemp is a great source of sulfur containing amino acids methionine and cysteine which are necessary for cellular detoxification and the production of vital enzymes. Additionally, it is rich in branched chain amino acids that are needed for muscle growth and repair (4, 5).
Almost 60% of the protein in hemp is made up of a globulin source called edestin. Most of the rest is in the form of albumin. Albumin and Edestin is a very similar molecular makeup as the protein found in the human body. Because of this common link, hemp protein is very easily absorbed into human blood and used for roles as critical as DNA repair (6, 7).
Hemp is a Rich Source of Essential Fats
Most of our world is suffering from abnormal fatty-acid ratios. Two critical forms of essential fats are the omega 6 and omega 3 varieties. Due to the heavy consumption of processed vegetable oils and grain-fed meat & dairy products most people have very high levels of omega 6.
The World Health Organization recommends a 4:1 omega 6:omega 3 ratio. The typical western diet produces a ratio from 20:1 – 50:1. Abnormal ratios cause heavy increases in inflammation that leads to accelerated aging and advanced disease states.
Hemp Is Rich in GLA:
Hemp contains the optimal ratio of 3.75:1 (omega 6:3) making it a powerful source for an anti-inflammatory diet (8, 9). Hemp is also a great source of the omega-6 essential fat gamma linoleic acid (GLA). GLA is only found in quantities of significance in hemp, borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, & spirulina.
Because of the scarcity of GLA much of our society is deficient in this essential fatty acid. GLA is critical for reducing inflammation in our body and is one of the most powerful nutrients for balancing hormones. Additionally, sufficient quantities of GLA promote healthy skin, hair, & nails (10).
GLA and Metabolic Function:
GLA significantly increases metabolism by encouraging stored fat known as brown adipose tissue (BAT) to be effectively used for energy (11). Additionally, GLA activates the metabolic process by providing key nutrients for the cellular energy system called the sodium-potassium pump (12, 13).
When the sodium-potassium pump is effectively operating in every cell it can remove toxic substances from deep within the cell structure. If the pump is weak, cells will store toxins and the metabolism will be slowed.
How To Use Hemp:
Hemp is used by health conscious individuals in a variety of ways. I personally like to occasionally snack on the seeds, use a high quality hemp seed protein powder, and my favorite way of consuming it is through hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is great in green shakes or smoothies. It is also good salad dressing oil.
However, you would never want to cook with the oil due to its essential fat content and it should always be stored in a cool, dark area. Ideally, it should come in a dark, container at the time of purchase. Here are the hemp seeds I personally like to use and the hemp oil I use.
Sources For This Article Include:
Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity Link Here
Hemp History Link Here
Hemp: A New Crop with New Uses for North America Link Here
Tang CH, Ten Z, Wang XS, Yang XQ. Physicochemical and functional properties of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) protein isolate. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Nov 15;54(23):8945-50. PMID: 17090145
Characterization, amino acid composition and in vitro digestibility of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) proteins Link Here
Enzymatic hydrolysis of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) protein isolate by various proteases and antioxidant properties of the resulting hydrolysates Link Here
Rodriguez-Leyva D, Pierce GN. The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2010;7:32.
Characteristics of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seed oil Link Here
Fatty acid composition and oxidation stability of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seed oil extracted by supercritical carbon dioxide Link Here
Kapoor R, Huang YS. Gamma linolenic acid: an antiinflammatory omega-6 fatty acid. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2006 Dec;7(6):531-4. PMID: 17168669
Takahashi Y, Ide T, Fujita H. Dietary gamma-linolenic acid in the form of borage oil causes less body fat accumulation accompanying an increase in uncoupling protein 1 mRNA level in brown adipose tissue. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2000 Oct;127(2):213-22. PMID: 11079375
Coste T, Pierlovisi M, Leonardi J, Dufayet D, Gerbi A, Lafont H, Vague P, Raccah D. Beneficial effects of gamma linolenic acid supplementation on nerve conduction velocity, Na+, K+ ATPase activity, and membrane fatty acid composition in sciatic nerve of diabetic rats. J Nutr Biochem. 1999 Jul;10(7):411-20. PMID: 15539317
Tsimaratos M, Coste TC, Djemli-Shipkolye A, Vague P, Pieroni G, Raccah D. Gamma-linolenic acid restores renal medullary thick ascending limb Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity in diabetic rats. J Nutr. 2001 Dec;131(12):3160-5. PMID: 11739860