A New Super Food
Hemp ~ Super Natural Foods
Yep, we’re talking about hemp that comes from the same plant species as marijuana (i.e., Cannabis).
You thought it was illegal, right?
Well, it is if you smoke it.
But today, not only can you wear it, you can eat it, too.
The kind you eat comes from a special variety of this plant that contains only trace amounts of the chemical (tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) that causes marijuana’s intoxicating effects.
So you don’t have to worry about getting “high” any more than a poppy seed muffin will (which contain trace amounts of opiates) have you hallucinating.
More than 6,000 years ago, the Chinese cultivated this plant which grew wild throughout Asia.
Even before Asians used soy foods, they prized it for its high-quality nutrition.
Eventually the seed was cultivated in Europe and India.
Indians called it “bhang,” using the dried leaves as a stimulant and medicine for colds, fevers, dysentery and as part of religious ceremonies.
Modern day nutritionists know the plant has high-quality protein and essential amino acids, along with a healthy blend of other nutrients, like iron, magnesium and manganese.
A Hefty Dose of Nutrition
Imagine a sesame seed and you’ll have a pretty close match to the hemp seed.
However, it tastes more like sunflower seeds or pine nuts than it does sesame seeds.
Like other seeds, these have a nutty flavor as well as hefty dose of essential fatty acids and protein.
As an example, just one tablespoon offers about three grams of protein, four grams of fat (primarily omega-6 and some omega-3), almost one gram of fiber and no cholesterol.
It also offers an excellent array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin-E, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and
All this for a mere 56 calories, comparable to roughly one cup of cantaloupe.
It's treasure trove of essential fatty acids (EFAs) with a beneficial balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, is particularly important for those who tend to run low on EFAs.
According to more than five decades of scientific research, insufficient essential fatty acids in general may raise the risk of heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and skin conditions (like eczema and psoriasis).
Operating with insufficient levels of these two fats also affects brain and immune functions, as well as infant development.
Omega-3s and omega-6s work together to keep us healthy, particularly our brains.
help reduce inflammation and omega-6s increase it, a key immune system response.
However, when the two fats are not in balance, and there are more omega-6s than omega-3s, we are more apt to develop diseases related to inflammation such as heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
The majority of North Americans get 11 to 30 times more omega-6s than omega-3s.
Mostly because they eat too many baked goods made with refined vegetable oils high in omega-6s.
In the Kitchen
Before hemp foods arrive on the shelves, the seeds have been shelled and cleaned.
In supermarkets or health-food markets, it's sold as a shelled seed, oil, or flour.
And you may even discover an assortment of hemp-filled prepared foods, such as bread, salad dressings, spreads, energy bars, shakes, chips, meatless burgers, and cookies.
If you've ever used
using this particular seed will be an easy addition to your diet.
You can add both to yogurts, smoothies, juices, salads, batter mixes and your morning cereal.
You can also roast the seeds, or include them in spices mix that you can sprinkle on your food instead of salt.
You can even use it as a breading for meats or vegetables.
For a stir-fry, instead of canola oil, try a little of this oil.
If you have leftover products, store them in the refrigerator: they’re sensitive to heat and light.
Refrigerated, it'll keep for months.
But, once it’s lost its nutty taste, throw it out.
If you’re still stymied about how to use it, you can even find cookbooks online.
And for those of you interested in greening up your plate, it's often certified as organic and it's an environmentally friendly crop that needs no herbicides or pesticides to grow, nor is it genetically modified.
So, Is Your
Three years ago, the Hemp Industries Association, won a court battle against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after they tried to ban the sale of hemp foods in the United States.
The association demonstrated that these foods contain insignificant amounts of THC.
Shortly afterward, these products began to appear on store shelves.
However, no matter how much you like these food products, growing the plants yourself is still illegal.
But don’t worry: An energy bar or smoothie won’t doom you to fail a random workplace drug test.
Approximately 25 North American manufacturers have promised through a TestPledge program not to allow their nut and oil products to exceed acceptable levels of THC.
With so many forms of hemp food now on store shelves, it's easier than ever to get your fix.
The seed's outer shell is removed to leave the inner kernel (or hemp heart) whose flavor is reminiscent of mellow pine nuts.
Generously sprinkle on soups, yogurt, fruit, vegetable salads, oatmeal, stir-fries, and even ice-cream.
The seeds are pressed to extract their omega-plush verdant oil.
You can incorporate the oil into vinaigrettes, smoothies, pesto, sauces, and dips.
This oil is not heat stable , so keep it out of the fry-pan.
Here the seeds are ground into a protein-rich, nut-free, buttery spread.
Add a layer to toast, whole grain crackers, and sliced apples.
Milled from the seeds, some powders contain an abundance of fiber as well as easy to digest protein.
Whirl into smoothies, or replace a quarter of the flour called for in a baking recipe with hemp protein powder.
The seeds are soaked and ground into water, creating an allergen free, non-milk beverage.
Enjoy straight up, blend into smoothies and baked goods, steam into lattes, or float your cereal in it.
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