Superfoods are foods that are densely packed with a high balanced concentration of nutrients such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, fiber, low glycemic carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more. One such food is hemp seed.
Hemp is a leafy plant that grows to a height of up to 5 meters within 90-120 days. As a nutritious food, its seeds are processed from the stalk and eaten. They are prime sources of essential omega fatty acids and complete proteins. They contain all of the essential amino acids that humans need for healthy growth, repair, and maintenance. They are also a potent source of vitamins and minerals, and their addition of hemp seeds to diets has been shown to have a regulatory effect on cholesterol levels. When preparing them for consumption, the seeds can be shelled then eaten as they are or made into a cold-pressed oil, protein powder and flour.
These small seeds are densely packed with essential fatty acids such as Omegas 3, 6 and 9, which are important in fighting coronary heart disease and alleviating symptoms of depression. Omega-6 is also present in hemp seeds at a ratio with Omega 3 of 4:1, which is the optimal ratio for human consumption. This is especially vital as most Western diets provide a ratio of up to 50:1. The other fatty acid that they provide in sufficient quantities is Omega 9, also known as gamma linoleic acid (GLA).
This Omega 9 fatty acid, GLA, is used by the human body to effectively metabolize fat stored in adipose tissue for energy. It also catalyzes metabolic processes that are essential for the absorption of vital nutrients at the cellular level and remove toxic substances that may build up in cellular structures. GLA’s ability to play these roles in the body is key to the promotion of healthy skin, nails and hair.
Hemp is commonly associated with cannabis, and although they are of the same family of plants, they are very different. They are both classified as superfoods; however, the strain of hemp grown for food consumption does not contain any THC which is the psychoactive compound in cannabis.
This association with cannabis led hemp to being vilified in the recent past; however it is a plant that has been grown and used by cultures that date as far back as the Babylonians. It was originally grown as a food source and the fibers from its stem were used to make rope and paper. Today, it is making a major comeback and breakthrough in the agriculture and the global health food market as one of, if not the very best, multifaceted plant based complete proteins and sources of essential fatty acids for better health and improved lifestyle.