First there was flax, then chia, now, the latest superfood craze is hemp. Hemp appears everywhere these days on our supermarket shelves in the form of seeds, milk, powder and is becoming increasingly popular because it’s a nutritional powerhouse. But there is still an air of mystery surrounding hemp.
What Exactly is Hemp?
The term hemp refers to a variety of the cannabis plant that is grown for its fibrous stalks and seeds. Around the world, hemp is grown for industrial and commercial use for such items as food, paper, textile, and other building materials because of its durability.
Hemp seeds, which are usually eaten shelled and raw (seen in stores as “hemp hearts”), are high in digestible protein, and are considered nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acids—more than flax or any other nut or seed oil. They are naturally gluten free for those who have food sensitivities and other digestive allergies, and because hemp is high in amino acids, it’s great for those on vegan diets. Hemp oil, which is derived from pressing the seeds, is one of the richest known sources of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids there is.
Nutritional Benefits of Hemp Seeds
- Cholesterol free
- Gluten free
- Rich in gamma linolenic acid
- Rich in Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids (balanced in a 3:1 ratio)
- Great source of Vitamin E
- Rich in amino acids
- Contains important vitamins, minerals & antioxidants
- Good source of chlorophyll
- May lower blood LDL cholesterol levels
- Treats dry skin and hair
- Free of GMOs – it’s never genetically modified
Hemp seeds can be used in smoothies, as a topping for salads, soups, as a topping for yogurt and in baked goods.
What Do Hemp Seeds Taste Like?
Hemp seeds have a pleasant nutty and slightly-sweet flavor, tasting very similar to shelled sunflower seeds. But when combined with foods and in smoothies, you really do not taste them at all.
Where Can I Find Hemp Products?
You can find hemp products in any health food store or online on sites like Amazon. The cost is approximately $4.00 per 2 oz pouch.
Industrial Uses For Hemp
Hemp can be used to make over 25,000 different products. Some such products include: paper, clothing, soap, and a variety of healthy and nutritious foods. Because hemp fibers are longer, stronger, and more durable than cotton, it’s a great textile and commonly seen in the production of clothing. The long, sturdy fibers of this plant allow it to be several times more recyclable than wood-based paper. This means that hemp can benefit the earth by being less polluting and harmful in the manufacturing of goods.
Today, much of the world cultivates hemp and sees it as a sustainable crop, one that can be used in a variety of ways. As society looks for even more ways to live a healthier, sustainable life, hemp may very well be a valuable resource for future generations.
So with all the good news, why is there hype surrounding hemp? Well, because hemp and marijuana come from the same species of plant, Cannabis Sativa, there is a bit of controversy surrounding it. The difference, though, is they are different varieties. Hemp has a different chemical property because of the way it is grown. Its seeds cannot produce anything but more hemp. Here’s an explanation of the difference between the two.
Industrial hemp contains barely a trace or no THC, the chemical that can make a person react in a heightened state so consuming hemp seeds and washing with hemp soap are perfectly safe and cause no ill effects. The only high you’ll receive by ingesting hemp seeds is nutritional. They have the highest protein content than any other seed out there (10 grams of protein per ounce) so it is being taken more seriously as a great source of nutrition.
Hemp has been grown worldwide for over 10,000 years. Today, many countries around the world produce hemp, like Canada, France, and China. In the United States, however, more hemp is imported than grown. This is because of government regulations and some of the misconceptions surrounding it.
Chocolate Banana Protein Hemp Smoothie
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 banana (you can slice and freeze first if you’d like)
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder (or to taste)
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
4 ice cubes
Blend until smooth and enjoy! Serves 1.