Cannabis sativa, aka marijuana, is legalized here in the Netherlands and every year it entices roughly 25% of visitors from abroad to experience the coffee shops in Amsterdam (not the kind that serve coffee by the way – that’s a café!). That’s a lot of people with a serious case of the munchies! But did you know that components of this plant, namely hemp, actually have nutritional and health benefits? While it won’t get you high, read on to discover how hemp seeds and oil can improve your health.
Hemp is also the richest known source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and contains an optimum ratio of 3:1 Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) (fats that our bodies can not synthesize and must get from our diet). A standard North American diet, or SAD diet, contains far too many Omega-6 fats and not enough Omega-3s, and this imbalance is what contributes to many inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and coronary artery disease. While adding a few tablespoons of hemp hearts won’t necessarily rebalance a diet rich in Omega-6s, it’s definitely a start.
Hemp seed soil also happens to be a rare plant source of an important Omega-6 EFA called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), with the other plant sources being borage, black currant, and evening primrose. GLA fights inflammation and produces hormone-like substances, called prostaglandins, which help regulate the immune system. One human study looked at supplementing with hemp seed oil versus placebo (olive oil) as treatment for atopic dermatitis (eczema) and found that after 8 weeks there were significant decreases in skin dryness and itchiness, which are the most common symptoms associated with eczema. While more human studies are necessary before therapeutic doses of hemp seeds or oil are recommended for specific conditions, it is generally considered safe for daily consumption.
How to Consume
Got a favorite hemp seed/oil recipe you care to share? Have you used hemp seed therapeutically for a condition? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!
To your health,
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