Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant. It contains only traces of THC (the thing that gets you high) and is grown for its nutritional value as well as for fibre and industrial uses.
When hemp grows, it has a remarkable ability to clean the air. In fact, for every tonne of hemp produced, 1.63 tonnes of carbon is removed from the air. This actually makes the growing of hemp crops a carbon negative activity.
Growing hemp also improves the quality of the soil. The stem and leaves of the hemp plant are jam-packed with nutrients, so as the leaf matter falls to the ground it replenishes the soil. And after harvesting, the remnants of the hemp plant can then be returned to the soil to make for a richer yield the following year.
It is an incredibly fast-growing and durable crop, and was one of the first plants to ever be spun into useable fibre, around 10,000 year ago! The US government even ran a "Hemp for Victory" campaign during World War 2!
The use of the plant depends on which part of the plant is being used. Hulled hemp seeds are used for their nutritional value, whereas the stalk is used used for rope, clothing, building materials and paper (to name a few)!
Hemp health benefits:
Hemp is incredibly nutritious Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). They have about a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which is considered in the optimal range. This makes them particularly helpful for people who are not getting these essential fatty acids through fish or eggs.
Minerals and antioxidants Hemp contains an impressive range of minerals and antioxidants including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and more! Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage, which has been linked to chronic illnesses including heart disease and diabetes. So eating foods that contain antioxidants is beneficial for health.
Hemp protein benefits Hemp seeds are a complete source of protein, meaning that they provide all nine essential amino acids. Relatively few plant-based foods are complete sources of protein; this makes hemp a great addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Supports heart health Hemp seeds contain a high amount of the amino acid arginine, which produces nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that makes blood vessels dilate and relax. This leads to a lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Improves the condition of skin Studies suggest that the immune system depends on the balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Consuming these nutrients can help to treat skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, and lead to good skin health generally. The linoleic acid and oleic acids found in hemp oil can’t be produced by the body but can play a crucial role in skin health, and signs of aging.
Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally-complete foods on the planet. A superfood that’s actually worth the hype!