Gone are the days (although there may be a few holdouts) when people thought you could get high by smoking hemp (including hemp clothing!) or by using hemp seed oil or hemp seeds. Now, part of our love affair with hemp (Cannabis sativa and various subspecies) centers around the use of the oil and seeds for a variety of reasons. Here are five great reasons to use it:
Helps multiple sclerosis: A study of people who have relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), the most common form of this autoimmune disease that involves damage and destruction of the protective coating on the nerves, found that supplementing with hemp seed oil was beneficial. Specifically, patients who took hemp seed oil and evening primrose oil (both good sources of GLA, which helps the heart) experienced significantly fewer relapse events and had better function than did patients who took a control (olive oil). Read more about olive oil
Provides protein power: Vegetarians and vegans (and meat eaters too) have an excellent protein source in hemp seeds, which contain 25% of this critical macronutrient and all the essential amino acids the human body needs. Add 2 tablespoons of ground hemp seeds to smoothies, salads, soups, cereals, yogurt, or as a vegetable topping and you’ll be getting 5 grams of excellent protein.
Offers healthy fats: Hemp seed oil and hemp seeds are great sources of healthy fats, including linolenic acid (LA, an omega-3 fatty acid) and the omega-6 fatty acids GLA and linoleic acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain function, heart health, menopausal symptoms, and rheumatoid arthritis, while omega-6 in the form of GLA helps reduce inflammation and regulate blood pressure.
Scores high on minerals: Hemp seed hearts (shelled hemp seeds) do not skimp in the mineral department. One ounce of hemp seed hearts contain 179 milligrams magnesium (that’s 45% Daily Value), 3.2 mg zinc (21%), and 2.7 mg iron (15%).
Good for people with diabetes: Hemp seeds are super low in carbs and have a glycemic load of 0. The glycemic load is the effect a food or meal has on blood glucose levels. The lower the glycemic load the better, especially if you have diabetes. Since one ounce of hemp seed hearts have a 0 glycemic load, you can’t get any better than that!
When you bring home that bottle of hemp seed oil, here’s a tip: do not use it to fry foods. High temperatures (212 degrees F or greater) can cause the fatty acids in hemp seeds and hemp seed oil to convert to peroxide. Therefore, consider using hemp oil in a salad dressing or to accent cooked or raw foods. Hemp oil should be stored in a dark, airtight container in the refrigerator. Hemp seeds also should be stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator or freezer.