As cannabis consumers, we are more than aware of the psychological benefits of smoking the plant. There’s a strain for literally every desired mood, and CBD is steadily gaining a reputation for its health properties, too. But what about the rest of the plant? What about hemp?
You probably see hemp in your local health food store next to the whole grains like quinoa, chia seeds, and granola. Being a rarely used ingredient, but one found easily in the health food store should give you some idea of how this amazing, versatile grain is underutilized. Without the long prohibition of cannabis now finally coming to an end, I hope to see hemp become a staple in all homes and restaurants across America.
What exactly is hemp? You probably even already know that it comes from a different variety of cannabis specifically bred for its fiber and seeds. The hemp seeds are an edible grain, and… drumroll please… gluten-free! Whether you have a gluten allergy or not, we know that regular amounts of gluten in a diet can have negative health effects to everyone, regardless of one’s tolerance to it. Looking at the nutritional facts for one serving of hemp should stand out to the vaguely health-educated as being a nutrient dense food. One tablespoon includes 9g of protein, 14g of fat, only 2.6g of carbs, with fiber and less than a gram of sugar, and some important micronutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and folate. Whoa. That’s a lot of good stuff. As a grain so high in fat and low in carbs, this is an ideal replacement food for some starchier grains.
Food scientists are coming back around to espousing the benefits of a high level of healthy fats in your diet. Vegans and vegetarians may struggle to find plant-based food with enough healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Hemp is replete with alpha-linolenic acids… which you need if you’re not going to include fish or eggs in your diet. All 10 of the essential amino acids are present in hemp, but missing phytates. Those are antioxidants that actually can block essential minerals being absorbed. It’s likely that if anyone has told you about why you should eat hemp, they’re probably living the veggie lifestyle. Being a former vegetarian, and living with one who has been considering reintegrating meat due to a lack of nutrients, I understand the difficulty of eating balanced and healthfully, while cutting out animal products. Truthfully, there are so many better alternatives to regular meat consumption, and hemp’s praises need to be sung.
What can all of these wonderful properties of hemp do for you in actuality? Some of those wonderful effects of CBD have been felt by those incorporating hemp into a diet. This is possibly due to the inherent presence of the compound in cannabis plants, and CBD has been able to treat conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and seizures. The fatty acids in the right ratios strengthen the heart, and the high levels of arginine assist in retaining blood vessel walls’ elasticity. Adding hemp to your plate is also an easy way to reduce inflammatory problems, including acne, arthritis, and other chronic related diseases.
Add hemp to your shopping list, make a tasty acai-hemp bowl, add to oatmeal, top a savory dish with a hefty sprinkle, or eat plain with almond milk as a cereal… your body will thank you!