It’s Hemp History Week, which, perhaps to the chagrin of some, is not actually a week dedicated to gettin’ your ganja on! Instead, it’s a week devoted to spreading the word on the nutritional and environmental punch powerfully packed into this wee seed.
In terms of health benefits, hemp is one of the few sources of vegetable protein that contain ALL essential amino acids, which are critical for not only physical, but mental health, as well. Certainly something of which to take note, my vegan friends! Amino acids are the compounds in proteins that are critical for regenerating cells and building and strengthening your muscles, including your brain. These protein sub-units keep your noggin in peak performance by not only helping to combat stress, but also by helping to strengthen your memory.
Hemp also contains those super sexy fats that always make the headlines: Omega-3 & Omega-6.
Omega-3’s and -6’s are known to reduce inflammation and cholesterol and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease and even Cancer. Additionally, the benefits to mental health are my favorite part of these fatty acids. From memory loss to depression to ADHD (Attention Dialed to a Higher Dimension), many mental hiccups can be treated or prevented to a certain degree with Omega-3 & Omega-6.
And get a load of this: Hemp is not only a source of nutrition for your body, but beneficial to the environment, as well. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, one acre of hemp can produce 4 times more paper than one acre of trees, and fewer caustic and toxic chemicals are used to make paper from hemp than are used to make paper from trees, resulting in less pollution! Additionally, one acre of hemp produces twice as much fiber as an acre cotton, yet without requiring nearly as many pesticides, and it has even been shown to purify soil and repel weeds. Sounds like a must-have on any farm, commercial and otherwise!
But, where do I find these hemp products and what do I with them, you ask? Well, here we go!
Many hemp products, like the milk & seeds, can be found at your local grocery store or Whole Foods. For instance, my favorite, Living Harvest Tempt’s Unsweetened Vanilla Hemp milk can be found in the natural food section at the local Kroger (which I love in my smoothie or on cereal, as it tastes subtly earthy, like soy). For more of the boutique hemp products, such as raw hemp butter, Amazon.com is your go-to. Like you would with any cooking oil, use hemp oil to sauté veggies or make salad dressing, and for a little texture fun, add the seeds to your smoothie, your granola, or on top of any salad, as the seeds don’t have a pungent taste. Two tablespoons contains 6 grams of fat (including 882 milligrams of ALA), 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein, so they’ll round out any meal or snack, from a nutritional standpoint, very nicely.
For more information on hemp, check out these sites and share your thoughts with us below, as always!
The Official Hemp History Week Website
Triathalon Magazine’s Mel McQuaid’s Hemp Hearts Salad
Living Harvest Tempt, the freedom loving, environmentalist, hempfood pioneers