29 September 2011

For The Love of Hemp

The first time I heard the word ‘hemp’ was on a class field trip to the Eumundi markets when I was in year five. Being the alternative little town that it is, there is a hemp store sitting loud and proud right in the middle of the main street. I’d seen pictures this funny looking leaf before, scrawled onto my older cousin’s school books, but it wasn’t until I heard giggles and sniggers from the boys in my class that I caught on to the stigma attached to the mighty hemp leaf. As I got older, I hung out with Mary Jane on the odd occasion, but it wasn’t until I started digging around in the world of nutrition that I discovered that this plant offers much more than its reputation promotes. Hemp is actually a nutritional gem. A superfood, some would say.

The difference between hemp and wacky tobacky …

Hemp is a legal cousin of “cannabis” or the illegal/medicinal form of hemp that contains the drug ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. Hemp seed contains no THC, meaning consuming it will not offer you any kind of drug-like affect. Before you get too disappointed, let me make up for that by telling you what hemp will do for you.

Why hemp is great

Protein: Hemp seeds contain 10 essential amino acids in nutritionally significant amounts, making it a complete protein. This protein also has a similar cellular structure to a protein manufactured in human blood, making it easily digestible.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): EFAs are important because our modern diets are typically overloaded with processed poly-unsaturated vegetable oils. The typical western diet contains too much LA and not enough ALA essential fats. The essential fatty acid (EFA) make-up of hemp seed oil is like no other on the market today. No other vegetable or nut oil contains EFAs in this concentration or ratio – high in omega 6, linoleic acid (LA), and omega 3, alpha-linolenic acids (ALA). This balance promotes a healthy immune system, healthy skin, hair and nails, and the prevention of many modern ailments such as diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndromes.

Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA): Like another of my favourite superfoods, spirulina, hemp seed contains the super anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). As well as having an anti-inflammatory effect, GLA is also known to help balance hormones.

Minerals: According to David Wolfe’s Superfoods book, hemp excels at absorbing minerals from the soil. This makes it a great source of major and trace minerals. These include phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, sodium, silicon, copper, platinum, boron, nickel, germanium, tin, iodine, chromium, silver, lithium.

Where to buy it …

Funny story here. Did you know that it is totally legal to grow hemp (the stuff without the drug ingredient), but hemp foods are not legal? In North America it’s the opposite. Hemp foods are alleged to be worth $100million, yet you cannot legally grow a commercial hemp crop for love or for money.

However, there are several websites where you can find organic hemp products. Try www.rawpleasure.com.au  and www.hempfoods.com.au 
Hemp comes in the form of hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp milk and heaps of other products made from this super nutritious food

29 September, 2011
the Wellness Warrior

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