“Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” —Hippocrates
Ushering in a new year often brings excitement, optimism and hope for becoming an improved you. If you are like most, including me, you have strolled into 2019 with plans to take better care of yourself by exercising more, spending more time with family and friends, or by improving your eating habits, to name a few. Whatever your plan or, dare I say, resolution calls for consider including hemp into your diet to help you achieve your goals.
What is Hemp?
This is a site about incorporating cannabis as a healthy lifestyle choice, so why am I talking about hemp? Because, hemp IS cannabis!
Cannabis is a family of plants that comes in three basic species: Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis ruderalis. Two varieties of Cannabis sativa are hemp and marijuana.
Both hemp and marijuana contain the cannabanoids, CBD and THC; however, hemp has been bred over time to produce the lowest concentration of THC (< 0.3%) while marijuana has been bred to produce much higher amounts of THC (15-40%). Thus, making hemp a nice alternative way to get the benefits of the plant without the psychoactive effects. If you pay close attention to your CBD oil bottle or jar, then you will notice that is says things like, “CBD from Hemp” or “CBD Hemp oil.” By obtaining CBD from hemp instead of marijuana, that 0.3% or less THC is a given and allows it to be on the shelf of your local health food market, legally.
Hemp as a dietary supplement
While hemp oil in the form of CBD tinctures is becoming more and more common, many are still unfamiliar with the other ways to enjoy the health benefits of cannabis via the hemp plant. Hemp is a plant first, meaning it can be consumed in the same ways that many other plants are consumed:
- Hemp seeds can be added to yogurt, smoothies, salads or oatmeal (my favorite way)
- There are breakfast cereals made primarily of hemp
- Hemp milk, similar to Soy and Almond Milk
- Hemp flour can be used to make a variety of baked goods
- Cold pressed hemp oil
4 Reasons to include Hemp in your diet
1. Hemp is a complete protein
We all agree that protein is a vital part of a healthy diet, and there are a variety of foods that provide it; however, hemp is one of very few foods that can be classified as a complete protein. This means that hemp contains all 9 amino acids that our bodies cannot produce but need to build muscle and regulate our immune systems. One tablespoon of hemp seeds contains a whopping 9.5g of protein, second only to soybeans! Makes you wonder why we have been conditioned to believe that the best sources of protein come from meat and eggs.
2. Hemp is high in essential fatty acids
You may want to consider ditching those fish oil tablets (which could contain mercury) after hearing this – Hemp is high in omega-3 and omega-6. Both are important for cardiovascular health by helping to lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Fatty acids also help with chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes and arthritis by reducing inflammation.
3. Hemp is high in fiber
The hull or outer shell of hemp seeds are the source of fiber in this super food. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 1.2g of fiber. The fiber in foods like hemp can help with those weight loss goals by reducing appetite, stabilizing blood sugar and promoting a healthy gut.
4. Hemp is full of vitamins & minerals
If the first three reasons were not enough for you to add hemp to your grocery list, then maybe this will. Hemp seeds contain an astonishing array of vitamins and minerals, each with a plethora of benefits. They are particularly rich in:
Long-term changes, like those we vow to make in New Year’s Resolutions, require small incremental adjustments in order happen. By adding a handful of hemp seeds to things you already enjoy, your resolution of improved health can be a reality. Try my recipe for Overnight Oats with hemp seeds as a start and let’s make 2019 our best year ever.