Hemp, a variety of ‘cannabis sativa’ plant species is typically cultivated in the northern hemisphere specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. Our ancestors knew better and spun it into first usable fiber 10,000 years ago. It has been around since a millennia and was and still is used to make a variety of products- from ropes, clothes, food, and paper to paints, plastic, biofuel and much more.
Recently, hemp has come into the spotlight for completely different reasons. Due to the various health benefits of hemp oil and hemp protein, it has emerged as a new ‘superfood’ in the modern world.
Just to be clear industrial hemp is nothing like its party-time cousin- marijuana. Different varieties of marijuana, whether indoor grown or cultivated outside give different kinds of high. Whereas, hemp would never get you high.
Hemp Is A Superfood
Essential and non-essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and we all know that proteins are the building block of life. However, essential amino acids cannot be produced by your body. You must get them from food or supplements.
Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own. Hemp seeds have a 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids, second only to flaxseed.
High in essential fatty acids, Omega 6 and omega 3, hemp oil can be used to increase immunity, can slow down the aging process, fight psoriasis and improve cardiovascular health.
Interestingly, it is also known to suppress hunger and helps in reducing weight. It truly is a superfood.
It Suppresses Appetite And Weight Loss
The omega 3s gives hemp the ability to suppress appetite. Healthy fats serve as a natural appetite suppressant. An addition of just a few tablespoons of these seeds, packed with healthy fats, to your daily meal can reduce sugar cravings and make you feel fuller for longer hours.
Hemp seeds are also rich in dietary fiber which promotes satiety. When consumed with the shell on or in the form of powder, they aid in weight loss because of its high fiber content. Insoluble fiber cannot be broken down easily by our digestive system, thus consuming fiber rich hemp protein will make you feel satiated for several hours, thereby preventing any mid meal snacking.
Insoluble fiber also helps in gently cleansing the colon and benefits the body by reducing the general colon inflammation caused by poor diet. In all, it keeps you gut healthy too.
Furthermore, the high complete protein (all essential amino acids) and fat content in hemp seed naturally gets digested slowly thereby promoting satiety.
It is also known to have an effect on the body’s glycemic index. Glycemic Index or GI represents the rise in a person’s blood sugar level two hours after consumption of the food. The omega content in the hemp seeds helps in lowering the GI, which when combined with a balanced diet tends to increase the rate of digestion, which in turn increases the body’s metabolism. Because of this pumped up metabolism, excess calories are burned off more effectively.
Good fats are required to kick out bad fat, thus consuming healthy fat present in this superfood helps in resetting the body’s digestive process and helps in metabolizing the bad fat collected over a long period.
Hemp seeds also contain a lot of phytosterols- which helps in lowering the cholesterol. Phytosterols are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell membranes. These phytosterols are structurally similar to the body’s cholesterol, upon consumption they compete with the body’s cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system.
As a result the cholesterol absorption is blocked, thereby reducing the blood cholesterol levels. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends people with high cholesterol to consume 2 grams of phytosterols each day.
How Should It Be Consumed?
Hemp is suitable in various forms for consumption- its seeds can be eaten raw, or grounded into a meal called hemp protein. It can be sprouted or turned into hemp milk similar to soymilk. It can be had in oil form.
Hemp seeds are filled with oil and cold pressed hemp oil is one of the most nutritious food on the whole planet. It is rich in protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 6, omega 3 and insoluble fiber and a good source of tocopherols- Vitamin E antioxidants.
They’re loaded with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus. Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and also a rich and unusual source of the polyunsaturated fatty acid gamma linolenic acid or GLA.
It Doesn’t Get You ‘High’
Although Industrial hemp and marijuana have a lot in common, like both are species of the genus cannabis, they both have the iconic five-fingered leaves and both are widely sought after around the world, but apart from these common factors they hardly have any other similarities.
Cannabis plants contain unique compounds called cannabinoids, there are over 60 different cannabinoids in this plant but the most well-known are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC is responsible for the ‘famous high’, while CBD has many medicinal properties. While marijuana plants contain high levels of THC, hemp contains very little of the psychoactive chemical.
Industrial Hemp contains less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), whereas different varieties of marijuana have different percent of THC. For instance, Sativas are pretty high in THC- containing anywhere from 10 to 30 percent THC, which produces the “euphoric high,” Indicas on the other hand are also high in THC but have elevated levels of CBD, which restricts the THC effect and produce a mellower high.
Moreover, hemp plants produce more CBD than THC, while marijuana produces more THC than CBD, so hemp is totally safe for consumption and is absolutely legal. And, it surely won’t get you stoned.
So, summarizing it, hemp seeds boost metabolism due to which excess calories are more effectively burned off, helping in reducing bad cholesterol, lowering glycemic index and the high fiber content in it keeps us satiated for longer periods and reduces food cravings caused by glycemic spikes. Thus, hemp protein and hemp oil are an excellent help in suppressing hunger.