Hemp Seeds : The Perfect Food
By: Kelly Smith
Hemp is one of our oldest and most versatile plants and has been documented as far back as the 28th century BC. Cannabis sativa, which is the Latin term for "useful hemp" has made a comeback in the food and textile industries and Canada is leading the way.
Hemp is an exceptionally hardy plant that grows well in our climate. It is grown in Canada both conventionally and organically. It can be grown free of herbicides and pesticides because it is so naturally resistant to pests. For the same reason, genetically engineering hemp is not considered. Once harvested, the seeds are thoroughly cleaned and should be cold pressed in the absence of light and oxygen, preserving the freshness of the oil. Read the label of any oil product you buy to make sure! Canadian hemp seed oil is produced with only the freshest viable grain possible. Nothing should be steam-sterilized or treated with radiation. The golden rule is "less is more." Less light, less heat, less processing!
This pressing produces a high quality polyunsaturated oil and seed cake (the crushed seed hulls). The oil can be eaten on its own, blended into other food products, blended into body care products, used as a lubricant or natural wood finish in addition to may other uses. The seed cake can be ground into flour, used to brew beer or added to animal feed. Another process, called de-hulling, removes the seed coat leaving the "hemp nut" which is widely used in recipes. The stalks of the plants are ground up and used in animal bedding, garden mulch and pulp and paper. Hemp can actually be used in 25,000 potential products!
Once of the most commonly asked questions is whether hemp seed oil has any psychoactivity ie. will it get you high? The answer is no! Canadian hempseed oil is extremely safe to consume for individuals of all ages.
Hemp seed oil is truly unique. Approximately 80 percent is polyunsaturated fat – the highest of any vegetable oil. Specifically, it contains the essential fatty acids (EFAs) linoleic acid (omega 6) and alpha linolenic acid (omega 3) in an ideal ratio for absorption by the body. These EFAs cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from our diets. Hemp seed oil also contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA), from which omega 6 is naturally converted. Modern day diets and sluggish enzyme activity often impair this conversion and cause GLA deficiency. Hemp seed oil solves this problem. No other single source oil has this ideal combination of EFAs.
EFA’s are well researched in the literature and are attributed to many health benefits. Some of these include: reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, attention deficit disorder, depression and many others.
Nutrition experts generally recommend that for EFAs to do their job effectively and provide optimal cell function, daily requirements must range from 7 to 11 gm of linoleic acid and from 2 to 3.5 gm of alpha linolenic acid. This can be obtained from one tablespoon of hemp seed oil. However, individuals who consume a diet high in saturated or trans fats will require more, as will people who are overweight or under a great deal of stress.
The hemp seed is 35 percent oil, the richest source of EFAs in the plant kingdom. It is also the king of protein! Of all plant based sources, its 25 percent protein content – comprised of all eight essential amino acids - is second only to that of the soy bean. The protein in hemp seed is readily digestible, being primarily composed of edistin and albumin which are the components of human blood plasma. Hemp seed derivative products are ideal for ensuring that there is adequate complete and assimilable protein in the vegetarian diet.
The hemp seed cake can be ground into a rich, nutty tasting flour (41 percent protein) that adds a unique culinary and healthy twist to your baking. Add the flour in its "raw" form to a smoothie for a high powered quick start to your day. The flour is gluten free and has been approved by the celiac society as a safe ingredient for any one suffering from this disorder.
The best part of any hemp seed product is the taste! It has a wonderful nutty flavour that fits well into most recipes. Try the oil in salad dressings, pour it on pasta or pizza, mix it into humus, add the flour to your favorite bread or muffin recipe - the possibilities are endless!
In short, hempseed oil, hemp flour and hemp nuts are delicious functional foods that ensure an adequate intake of essential fatty acids and protein.
1 can organic chick peas (drained and rinsed)
3 tbsp organic tahini
2 cloves garlic (pressed)
1/4 c Hempola hemp seed oil
1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c water
1 tsp cumin
S & P to taste
Hot sauce to taste
Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and serve with your favorite pita bread.
HIGH POWERED PANCKES
1 1/2 c all purpose spelt flour
1/2 c Hempola flour
4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/4 c milk
3 tsp hemp oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, make a well in the center.
2. In a separate bowl, combine beaten egg and all wet ingredients.
3. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients forming a smooth batter.
4. Drop onto a greased hot griddle, turning once when the tops begin to bubble.
Drizzle with Hempola hempseed oil (instead of butter) and maple syrup.
Kelly Smith is Vice-President and co-founder of Hempola Inc. She has spent the last 7 years researching essential fatty acid and hempseed nutrition. In addition to her responsibilities at Hempola she also owns and practices in a busy physiotherapy clinic in Toronto, Ontario. Please visit
www.hempola.com for more information. Be sure to visit Hempola Valley Farms August 18 and 19 for the Hempola Valley Farm Family Hemp Festival.