Weed vs. Seed: Is Hemp Healthy?

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Hemp Seeds & Hemp Oil are great sources of Protein & Essential Fatty Acids

The first time someone ever suggested I try “hemp protein”, I had to wonder what they were smoking.

Truthfully, once you do a little research you have to consider why the hemp plant received such a bad rap in the first place. After all, hemp can be turned into rope, paper, clothing, cooking oil, protein powder, bio-fuel and is even being developed into green products like kitchen sinks! More over, hemp seeds, protein, oil and fibre are commonly used in many health foods and supplements.

Unfortunately, guilt by association to marijuana has led to a lot of confusion about hemp. There has been a great deal of bad press and legal issues, but hemp and “weed” are two very different plants. Widespread misconceptions have resulted from the common slang terms for the many varieties of plant called Cannabis sativa:

  • Cannabis sativa is the name of the entire plant species.
  • Hemp is just one variety of Cannabis.
  • Marijuana refers to cannabis plants with levels of THC (the chemical that gives a feeling of euphoria) higher than 1% by weight.
  • THC is not presently significant in hemp!

Any product containing over 1 percent THC by weight would be considered marijuana in the United States. Marijuana grown for drug use typically has 3 to 15 percent THC by weight. Industrial hemp usually has less than 0.3 percent THC by weight. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

The recent debates about the use of marijuana for medical purposes have focused on the fact that that some Cannabis plants – not those associated with weed or hemp protein, to be discussed below – provide neuroprotective cannabinoids that relieve pain, but do not exceed dangerous levels of THC. With so much controversy, we can be sure that the political debate over this use will not be decided overnight.

Meanwhile, we know the health benefits of the seeds, protein, and oil of hemp to be incredible. This form of the species has never been up for debate!

Hemp seeds, as a food, have an impressive record. Approximately 44% of the weight of the hemp seed is edible oils, containing 80% essential fatty acids (EFA’s). A separate 33% of a hempseed’s weight is protein. Since hemp contains ALL 20 amino acids, this makes its amino acid profile “complete” when compared to more common source of protein such as meat eggs, milk and soy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp)

One tablespoon of hemp seeds offers 22 grams of quality protein! Simply add raw hemp seeds to a salad to have a complete meal. Seeds can also be made into a ground meal, transformed into hemp milk, brewed as a tea, or used as a baking ingredient. Hemp seeds are an awesome Vegan option to give smoothies a boost of protein, essential fats, and keep you full. Hemp seeds are high in fiber, which regulates blood sugar levels, diminishes hunger, cleanses the gut and encourages the increased absorption of nutrients.

Hemp Seed Oil is a perfect blend of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. In my book, Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, I’ve outlined the importance of consuming the ideal ratio of EFA’s, as opposed to just a lot of any one type.

 Use it in salad dressings (as an alternative or complement to olive oil), add it to smoothies to increase your healthy fats, or use it atop hot or cold soups to beautify presentation while adding a nutritional boost.

To extend the shelf life of hemp seed oil, store it in a dark, airtight container inside your refrigerator. And, as I would recommend when using flax Oil, do not heat it up when cooking!

Hemp protein – A great choice for Smoothies!

Because of its abundance of high quality amino acids, hemp protein is an awesome for developing muscle and maintaining total health:

• Hemp contains all 20 of the essential and non-essential amino acids required to build muscle.
• Hemp is easily digestible, unlike its processed rivals.
• Hemp helps to maintain a healthy alkaline pH blood level.
• Organic hemp possesses no artificial additives or chemicals.

If people look confused when you try to explain about the difference between hemp and marijuana, remind them that wolves and collies are both part of the canine species, but definitely are not the same kind of dog.

It’s vital to fuel your diet with variety. Add in hemp to your assortment of protein sources, and see what it does for your energy, strength, and stamina.
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Dr. B.J. Hardick

About Dr. B.J. Hardick

Raised in a holistic family, Dr. B.J. Hardick is an organic food fanatic, green living aficionado, and has spent the majority of his life working in natural health care. In 2009, he wrote his first book, Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, which has now been used professionally in over 500 health clinics. Dr. Hardick regularly blogs healthy recipes and holistic health articles on his own website, DrHardick.com, and speaks to numerous professional and public audiences every year. In his spare time, he invests his keen interest in sustainable living into urban development in his hometown of London, Ontario. Learn More