As the food industry continues to kick out new products faster than we can blink, it seems as though we are grocery shopping in a foreign market. You can’t blame perplexed consumers for looking lost in the “health food” aisle wondering why there is seaweed is in my salad, people are telling me to eat hemp instead of smoke it, and why there are chia seeds in my cereal but where did all the chia pets go? As we start to question the familiar and become a little curious, we realize that some of these bizarre foods, such as hemp, are pretty cool nutrition powerhouses and can actually help you really rock at life.
Why You Should be Eating Hemp
So you might be asking yourself, “what is hemp and why do I want to eat it?” Hemp seeds are the edible seeds from a hemp plant. While hemp is a cousin to the marijuana cannabis plant, it contains an extremely low to no amount of psychoactive compounds, such as THC. Hemp seeds are highly beneficial as they are touted as one of the world’s most nutritious foods and here is why…
1. They are Protein Powerhouses. The protein from hemp seeds are easily digestible and contain all essential amino acids that the body can readily use to build protein.
2. Rich in Disease Fighting Fats. Hemp seeds provide an excellent ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6. These fatty acids are essential, meaning that our bodies cannot make them and we must get them from our food. Essential fatty acids play an important role in brain function and reducing inflammation, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. Hemp seeds do not contain any trans fat or cholesterol.
3. Full of Fiber. Fiber is vital for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber may be beneficial for weight management by digesting slowly and keeping you feeling fuller longer.
4. The Mineral Content is Ridiculously Awesome. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of iron, which is important for carrying oxygen in our blood so we feel energized throughout the day! It is also rich in zinc to support a healthy immune system; copper that plays many roles and helps with iron absorption and storage; and magnesium that is involved in bone building, nerve impulses, and muscle contractions;
How to Eat It
There are so many easy ways to incorporate hemp into your diet! Pretty much any health food store and some grocery stores now are beginning to carry hemp products. Here’s what to choose and how to eat it:
1. Hulled hemp seeds: tiny soft seeds that can be added to just about any meal, smoothie, or salad.
2. Toasted hemp seeds: crunchy seeds that make an awesome snack
3. Hemp flour: flour that can be used for making high protein pancakes or baked goods.
4. Hemp oil: get the benefits of these healthy fats by using it as a salad dressing. Hemp is best used on raw or very lightly cooked foods because it burns easily.
5. Hemp milk: cool alternative to regular milk!
Check out hemp products and info at www.cousinmaryjane.com
Gina Worful, RD