(NaturalNews) The use of hemp seeds in modern foods is relatively commonplace now, but this amazing healthy food has been the source of heated debate in the US since before World War II. Currently many food manufactures are looking for more healthy and wholesome options. Hemp is proving to be a wonderful addition to many different types of foods because both the seed oil and nut are extremely dense with nutrients.
Vegetable oil manufacturers have been lobbying for the inclusion of unhealthy polyunsaturated oils in mainstream foods successfully for the last 70 years. Unfortunately modern civilization has seen an increase of diseases related to the use of these “bad” oils in our foods since then – like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many metabolic syndromes. Introducing hemp seeds and hemp oil to your diet can only benefit your health in the long run since it is one of the most compact sources of vital nutrients available.
Competing for the edge in any market usually includes misinformation and confusion tactics, and in the case of hemp, it has worked. Any hype associated with hemp seeds can also be attributed to the fact that cannabis, a relative of industrial hemp, is on the US Drug Enforcement Agency`s top 10 list of drugs they oversee. They have, and have had, many campaigns against the use of cannabis, so it is understandable that our society is confused on this issue.
Notably, there is an insignificant amount of THC in industrial hemp (the source of drug-related compounds found in cannabis) so using hemp seeds or hemp seed oil in food is technically considered safe by the industrial hemp industry, and has proven to not affect drug tests.
Currently the United States doesn`t allow the growing of industrial hemp, but Canada and many European and Asian countries (China since 1500 AD) have been producing it for commercial use consistently. At this point, importing hemp seeds for use as food and fiber has not been banned in US.
Health Benefits of Hemp
“Overall, hemp`s main nutritional advantage over other seeds lies in the composition of its oil,” according to Gero Leson, D.Env., an environmental scientist and consultant with extensive experience in the food and fiber uses of hemp and other renewable resources.
Hemp seeds have a high quality of protein with a nutritionally complex composition containing 10 essential amino acids in nutritionally significant amounts, making it a complete protein. This protein also has a similar cellular structure to a protein manufactured in human blood, making it easily digestible.
The hemp nut is also rich in the vitamin E complex of tocopherols and tocotrienols and contains many trace minerals. This nutritional profile is significant in the fact that per pound, no other nut or seed provides such a density of beneficial nutrients.
Essential Fatty Acids
The essential fatty acid (EFA) make-up of hemp seed oil is like no other on the market today. No other vegetable or nut oil contains EFAs in this concentration or ratio – high in both omega 6, linoleic acid (LA), and omega 3, alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) specifically.
Because of the wide spread use of processed poly-unsaturated vegetable oils in cooking and frying, foods consumed in the typical western diet contain too much LA and not enough ALA essential fats. According to National Institute of Health studies and reports on the subject, this has been found to be an unhealthy balance, and the addition of good EFAs has proven to help with many modern ailments such as diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndromes.