Hemp, the variant of cannabis without the kick, is often thought of as being nothing but a fibre crop, but for thousands of years, it has also been used as a food. Specifically, the seeds are considered to be among the so-called “superfoods” owing to their high nutritional value.
Although hemp as a food is just returning to the West after years of obscurity, there are parts of the world where it has never stopped being used for its nutritional value. For example, in India, sacks of hemp seed are sold at markets, and these seeds are incorporated into a wide variety of dishes and Chinese villagers grind hemp seeds and add them to bread recipes.
Health food stores adopt hemp
In recent years, health food stores have begun offering a variety of hemp-based foods, and one is even beginning to see them in mainstream supermarkets. Apart from hemp seeds, they sell hemp butters, culinary hemp oils that can be used in much the same way as olive oil and even hemp seed milks that offer the lactose intolerant a tasty alternative to dairy.
What’s so healthy about hemp food?
There are so many healthful ingredients in hemp food that it would be easy to believe claims are exaggerated, but these have all been confirmed. It’s no wonder that the term “superfood” is being applied to the seeds of this plant! You will find countless articles describing ways of include it in your daily diet. Here’s why.
The perfect balance of fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 including GLA)
The only plant based food to have complete protein.
Zero cholesterol (and may even fight cholesterol)
Low in sodium
Rich in zinc
Good source of magnesium
Good source of iron
High in dietary fibre
A rich source of vitamin E
Contains vitamins A, B, C and D
Excellent source of dietary fibre
How people eat hemp
Munching down on a spoonful of seeds may not be for everyone, but there are many tasty ways in which hemp can be incorporated into the diet. People ass hemp seeds to cereals or yoghurt, scatter them onto salads where their nutty flavour makes a pleasant addition or whip them up into smoothies.
Hemp oil isn’t suitable for high temperature cooking since heating will destroy much of its nutritional benefit, but is widely used to make nutty flavoured salad dressings or is used to dress foods after cooking.
Hemp protein powders are also available, and these are widely adopted by people hoping to build muscle as well as by vegetarians who hope to improve their intake of amino acids without eating meat.
An essential food for those hoping to optimise nutrition
In today’s busy world, optimising nutrition through eating a wide variety of foods is often difficult, but hemp seeds make it easier to do so thanks to their all-in-one combination of fatty acids, proteins, antioxidants, minerals and fiber.
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