Where Does Hemp Come From?
One of the first plants to be cultivated by humans, cannabis has an array of beneficial uses that have been recognized at particular times in our history, and then unfortunately forgotten. The nutritional composition of oil from the marijuana plant could be beneficial to your health.
Cannabis sativa is synonymous with marijuana, but the plant’s Latin name means the “useful hemp.” Hemp has been an important source of fiber, rope, textiles, fuel, and food and at the same time has been revered for its psycho-activity and medicinal qualities.
The seed oil is particularly nutritious and its properties and potentials are being explored. This highly polyunsaturated oil not only has uses as soaps, detergents, and emollients in body-care products, but also as fuel for lighting, printer’s ink, and wood preservatives The grade of the oil is categorized into nutritional, cosmetic, or technical grade depending on age and means of pressing.
Hemp Food Nutrition
Nutritional grade hemp seed oil is the most nutritional oil available, full of essential fatty acids. It is used in salads, dressings, etc. The oil is cold-pressed in an oxygen-free environment which allows it to better resist oxidation, giving it an extended shelf life. Whole hemp seed contains approximately 20-25% protein, 20-30% carbohydrates and 10-15% insoluble fiber, as well as a rich array of minerals, particularly phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and calcium, along with modest amounts of iron and zinc.
The latter of which is an important enzyme co-factor of human fatty acid metabolism. It is also a good source of carotene, a “Vitamin A” precursor, and is a potentially important contributor of dietary fiber. A handful of seeds provides the minimum daily requirements of protein for adults.
This is a high quality protein containing all eight essential amino acids in the correct proportions that humans need. In the entire plant kingdom, hemp seeds are second only to soybeans in their total protein content. But unlike soybeans, the proteins in hemp are easy to digest.
The potential contribution of the hemp seed to human nutrition is gaining wide recognition. Like no other plant resource, the 0hemp seed0 has both a high content of easy digestible, complete protein and a rich endowment of oil, providing the most favorable ratio of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), required for proper human nutrition.
The best EFAs sources are oils from freshly ground grains and whole seeds, but EFAs are fragile and quickly lost in processing. Essential Fatty Acids are the building blocks of longer chain fats, such as eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that occur naturally in the fat of cold-water fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, bluefish, herring, and to a lesser extent, tuna. These are the EFAs that are needed by, but not produced by the human body.
In addition, the hemp seed provides a significant contribution of gamma-linolenic acid which has potential therapeutic efficacy.
Richer in EFA’s than flax, or any other seed oil, Hemp seed oilis being called “Nature’s most perfectly balanced oil”. As a poly-unsaturated oil, (81%), Hemp seed oil is said to be the most unsaturated oil derived from plants, making it an ideal alternative source of EFAs for those you cannot tolerate flax seed oil and the recent concern raised on toxic contamination of oils derived from fish products, such as cod liver oil.
We need essential fatty acids in our diet more than any other vitamin. Many researchers are linking EFAs deficiencies with a variety of degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, skin afflictions, multiple sclerosis, PMS, behavioral problems, poor wound healing, arthritis, glandular atrophy, weakened immune functions, and sterility in males. Lack of oxygen is a key factor in degenerative diseases and EFAs help bring oxygen into our system.
Adding these foods to the diet seems to lower risks of heart attacks because omega-3 fatty acids reduce the clotting tendency of the blood and improve cholesterol profiles. They also have a natural anti-inflammatory effect that makes them useful for people with arthritis and autoimmune disorders. Essential fatty acids serve what seems to be an unending list of vital functions in the body. for example:
- Our bodies use EFAs to construct membranes, to create electrical potentials and to move electric currents throughout the body.
- The tendency of EFAs to disperse gives biological systems the power to carry substances such as toxins to the surface of the skin, intestinal tract, kidneys and lungs, where these substances can be discarded.
- The chemical reactions on which life depends require a one-way movement of energy through molecules. EFAs play an important role in this function.
- Facilitates the recovery of fatigued muscles after exercise.
- Precursors of prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that regulate cell functions in all tissues.
- Found around the hereditary material in our chromosomes, where they may play a part in maintaining chromosome stability and may have functions in starting and stopping gene expression.
- Helps our immune system resist and fight infections and prevent allergies from developing.
- Necessary for the development of brain and nerve cells and for healthy liver function.
Overall, EFAs are involved with producing life energy throughout our systems. They govern growth, vitality and mental state. They hook up oxygen, electron transport and energy in the process of oxidation. Oxidation, the central and most important moment-to-moment living process in our bodies, is the burning of food to produce the energy required for life processes. Essential Fatty Acids govern these life processes.
Life without them is impossible. When our foods are EFA poor, we can expect a diversity of health problems. Some cancer patients have found it to be a superior remedy for the nausea caused by chemotherapy, and some people with multiple sclerosis are grateful for its relaxant effects on spastic muscles.
Hemp Seed Oil
The proportions of EFAs in hemp seed oil matches the ratios that were previously determined by nutritionists to be most beneficial to human nutrition. Hemp seed oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids in an ideal long term ratio of three to one. It also provides the derivative gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which stimulates growth of hair and nails, improves the health of the skin and can reduce inflammation. Its content of (GLA) makes it unique among edible seed oils.
No other common seed contains (GLA). Hemp seed oil’s unusually well-balanced profile means that one could use it for a lifetime without ever suffering an EFA deficiency. In addition, it also contains smaller amounts of 3 other polyunsaturated fatty acids in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), oleic acid and stearidonic acid. This EFA combination is unique among edible oil seeds.
The oil contained in the hemp seed is 75-80% polyunsaturated fatty acids (the good fats) and only 9-11% of the lesser desired saturated fatty acids. In general, North Americans have a high dietary deficiency in EFAs due to out high intake of animal fats versus plant fats, caused by our high consumption of processed foods and meats versus natural organic foods.
Extensive studies have demonstrated that many common illnesses are related to deficiencies or imbalances of specific fatty acids in the body. Symptoms are often related to a lack of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and their derivatives, the postaglandins. Most people eating a healthful diet, one that includes a balanced ratio of essential fatty acids, also have healthy skin and a strong immune system.
Yet some individuals may experience shortages in specific fatty acids or their metabolites due to dysfunctional enzyme systems or other inhibitions in their metabolic pathways caused by genetic, immune-system-related, or even environmental factors. It has been proven in several clinical studies that dietary supplementation with EFAs or their metabolites (such as GLA) will often prevent or even cure these illnesses.
Since hemp seed oil contains both EFAs in a desirable balance while also providing two of the EFA metabolites, it is a good resource for the prevention and treatment of certain illnesses.
Hemp seed oil also provides an adequate supply of antioxidants (Vitamin E), carotene (precursor to Vitamin A), phytosterols, phospholipids and a number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, along with modest amounts of iron and zinc. Hemp seed oil also provides a good source of chlorophyll.
The daily recommended allowance of hemp seed oil is 14-28 ml (1 to 2 tablespoons). This allowance provides between 8 and 16 grams of Omega 6 (LA) and between 3 and 6 grams of Omega 3 (LNA).
And lastly, unlike other Omega-rich alternatives (flax, evening primrose, borage or fish oils) that are sold mainly as a vitamin supplement, hemp seed, hemp oil and hulled hemp seed all have a flavorful “nutty” taste that will create consumer demand and can easily be added into most any recipe to obtain a balanced diet!
Caution: Highly unsaturated vegetable oils such as Hemp Seed Oilare denatured by heating above 150ºC (300ºF), which can result in the production of unhealthy trans-fatty acids and increased peroxide values. Use Hemp Seed Oil as a flavor-enhancer in many recipes. Do not use as a substitute for frying oils. Keep bottles tightly sealed after opening and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Hemp Seed Protein
Hemp seeds are second only to soybean in protein content. However unlike soybeans, hemp seeds have not been subjected to genetic engineering. Proteins serve a variety of functions in the human body such as acting as enzymes, antibodies, and the structural components of tissues, hormones and blood protein. The main function of dietary protein is to supply amino acids for the growth and maintenance of body tissue. Digestion disassembles proteins into their basic building blocks – the amino acids.
Hemp protein contains all 20 known amino acids including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce. Proteins are considered complete when they contain all 9 essential amino acids in a sufficient quantity and ratio to meet the body’s needs. Hemp seeds contain an adequate supply of these high quality proteins (EAAs) for a well balanced diet. Hemp protein is free of the tryspin inhibitors which block protein absorption and free of oligosaccharides found in soy, which cause stomach upset and gas.
Approximately 65% of the protein in hemp seeds is made up of the globulin protein Edestin and is found only in hemp seed. Edestin aids digestion, is relatively phosphorus-free and considered the backbone of the cell’s DNA. The other one third of hemp seed protein is Albumin, another high quality globulin protein similar to that found in egg whites.
In addition to the high quality protein and oil found in hemp seeds, 34% of this nutritional package deal is rounded out with carbohydrates made up of dietary fiber and a small amount of sugar. This dietary fiber is made up of 3% soluble fiber and 27% insoluble fiber.
Nutritional Oil Composition
Oils Containing both Omega 6 and Omega 3 (ratio)
Oils Containing GLA (percent of total EFAs)
Benefits of consuming Hemp Seed & Oil
- Excellent source of essential fatty acids including Omega 3, 6 and GLA
- Lower blood LDL cholesterol levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve cardiovascular circulation & function
- Improve organ function
- Improve immunity levels
- Increased energy levels & metabolic rate
- Reduce symptoms of PMS & menstrual cramps
- Reduce inflammation and the symptoms of arthritis
- Improve recovery of muscles after exercise
- Reduce & treat dry skin and hair conditions
- Reduction of many degenerative diseases through preventative measures
- Hemp products are GMO-Free, Gluten-free, Herbicide & Pesticide free, peanut free, Vegetarian approved, Kosher certified, No THC and Tryspin inhibitor free
- Hemp products have a wonderful nutty flavor that can easily be incorporated into your diet while providing a powerful daily supplement.