Hemp seeds are said to contain nearly every single vitamin and mineral needed by the body. They are a rich source of phytonutrients which help protect your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin and organs.
Hemp seeds are one of the highest sources of complete protein of any plant-based food, containing all of the essential amino acids (similar to flax). They also have high amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 (as well as other essential fatty acids) in an ideal ratio of around three to one.
Hemp is one of the earliest known plants to be cultivated by humans, with a recorded history of over 12,000 years. Various parts of this hearty plant have been used for different purposes, including the use of its fiber for textiles and paper, its oil for vehicle fuel, and its seeds for food.
Hemp seeds are a superior vegetarian source of protein. They contain 25 percent protein content, second only to soy among plant foods. However, soy has very high amounts of a substance called phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that prevents your body from absorbing certain minerals. Hemp seeds don’t contain phytic acid and are highly digestible, giving them an advantage over soy.
In addition, hemp seeds contain vitamins (particularly Vitamin E complex), phytosterols and trace minerals. They're also a great source of dietary fiber, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium — these are true superseeds.
Compare them to soy (or flax seeds) for both taste and nutrition, and you'll agree they're superior to either one.
Hemp's essential fatty acids also come in a perfect 3:1 ratio of omega 6 linoleic acid to omega 3 linolenic acid. These fatty acids have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and the strength of your immune system.
Omega 3 fatty acids are probably the most important fats for your health because they help reduce inflammation, a primary cause of many of the degenerative diseases so common today — heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimers, arthritis, and more.
Omega 3 fats are critical for normal growth and development in children. For women, they offer relief from menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms, infertility and breast cancer.
When you examine the list of benefits attributed to essential fatty acids, it's easy to see why they are quickly becoming one of the most researched topics in the scientific community — and one of the supplements most often recommended by health practitioners. Omega 3 foods, especially, have been shown to have a wide range of health benefits, including:
There are many types of essential fatty acids. Besides alpha-linolenic acid, the ones most well-known are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found primarily in fish oils.
Typical modern day diets are usually lacking in omega 3 fats. Instead, they contain lots of omega 6 fats from vegetable oils like corn, canola, soy and others. An imbalance of omega 6 and omega 3 foods in the diet leads to inflammation, which is a root cause of many degenerative diseases.
Most nutrition experts believe that a health-promoting ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats is no higher than 4:1, and many believe the optimal ratio is 2:1. The typical American diet, however, contains almost 10 times as much omega 6 as omega 3 fatty acids.
To improve your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, increase your consumption of omega 3 foods, such as hemp, chia seeds and flax seeds, soybeans, walnuts, and cold-water fish like wild salmon. Decrease your consumption of foods rich in omega 6 fats, such as vegetable oils.
You can obtain omega 3 fatty acids from a wide range of food sources. See my page describing Sources of Omega 3 and you will discover the best ways to get your daily requirement.
If you want to make sure that you get all of the great benefits of omega 3 for yourself, you'll want to explore the different types of omega 3 supplements.
Hemp foods are just now becoming popular in the US. Examples of hemp food products include hemp protein powders, salad dressings, nutrition bars, breads, cookies, granola, waffles, nut butter, chips, frozen deserts and hemp oil supplements.
Using Hemp Seeds. Hemp seeds look similar to sesame seeds in color and size, and have a mild, nutty taste with a distinctive richness. You can enjoy hemp seeds by themselves, or try them sprinkled on just about anything: granola or yogurt, salads, soups, dips. The seeds can be ground into hemp powder or flour that can be mixed in with a variety of bakery goods, such as cookies and breads.
Using Hemp Oil. To avoid conversion of its polyunsaturated fatty acids to unhealthy peroxides at higher temperatures, hemp oil is best used for cold and warm dishes only. It should not be heated to a high temperature or used for frying.
One of the easiest ways to add the benefits of hemp seeds to your daily routine is by using it as an ingredient in smoothies. They won't affect the taste at all, they just increase the thickness. They'll also give your smoothie more fiber and a boatload of omega 3s!
If you're not hip to smoothies yet, they're the easiest and best way to increase the amount of antioxidants you get from your diet. Using superfoods such as hemp seeds can boost the nutritional content of any smoothie recipe to unimaginable levels. I make a morning smoothie every day (using superfoods) that gives me the antioxidant benefits of at least 6 servings of dark green leafy vegetables, but tastes nothing like them!
You can discover my secrets about how to make smoothies the healthy way elsewhere on this website.
A great source for raw, 100% organic hemp seeds is Nutiva, one of the most advanced makers of natural foods products since 1999. They're best-known for superfoods that feature hemp: hemp oil, hemp seeds, and hemp protein powder, which was awarded the title "Best New Supplement" at the Natural Products Expo Show in 2003.
Nutiva donates one percent of its sales to organizations that promote sustainable agriculture, and supports green energy technology and fair-trade practices around the world.
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