A “superfood” is anything that is considered to be nutrient rich and especially healthy or beneficial to the consumer. Over the years, more and more foods have been distinguished in this category as their benefits are recognized. Although hemp products have been around in smaller quantities over the years, its advantages are coming to the forefront and is creating quite a buzz. Hemp serves as a source of energy, can help reduce cholesterol through large amounts of phytosterols and is being recognized for helping with weight loss.
Protein is necessary in a diet because it helps the body repair and make new cells. Hemp is a great way to increase your protein intake, especially for those following vegan or vegetarian lifestyles. The protein percentage for hemp is between 20- 25%. Hemp is considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids, also adding 2 semi-essential amino acids to one’s diet. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body is easily able to digest this protein and are closest to Edestin, the protein found in human blood. Hemp seeds also contain Albumin proteins, which is the protein found in egg whites. Hemp contains more protein than flax or chia seeds.
Fiber is important because it promotes movement throughout the digestive system. Hemp in a wonderful source of dietary insoluble fiber, approximately 10-15% of it’s composition. Without proper function in the digestive system, people can suffer from irregular bowel movements and are keeping toxins in their body longer than they should. People may also experience pain and bloating as a result. A high fiber diet can assist with weight loss as it promotes satiety, or feeling full.
Fatty acids are crucial for brain health. While the body naturally produces these acids, some are only available through food sources. Hemp offers omega 3-6-9 which can improve memory and focus by giving the brain the nutrients it needs. Depression is reduced in people consuming a diet rich in fatty acids. Hemp’s fatty acids boost the immune system by providing high levels of linoleic acid. Blood sugar is also balanced by omega fatty acids, which are in abundance. The fat composition of hemp is around 30%.
Minerals and Vitamins
Hemp is a rich source of vitamin E and minerals including phosphorous, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. Hemp is a great way to get a series of key nutrients into the body through a single food source. Vitamin E helps create a strong immune system while promoting healthy skin and eyes. Phosphorous helps the body make proteins, utilize fat and carbohydrates and forms bones and teeth. Potassium regulates fluid balance, nerve signals and muscle growth. Sodium promotes the absorption of nutrients in the gut, cognitive function and muscle contractions. Magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical functions in the body like regulating heartbeat and blood glucose levels. Sulfur is a key component in most types of proteins. Calcium intake is needed to keep bones strong. Iron is necessary for hemoglobin to carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Zinc supports the immune system, wound healing and is critical for taste and smell senses.
Types of Products
With the recognition of hemp as a superfood, there has been an explosion of available food and beverage products. There’s hemp tea, milk, coffee, beer, vodka and flavored waters. Meat substitute products hemp based hot dogs and burgers are great alternatives. Hemp flour is utilized in many recipes to replace wheat products and hemp granola is another popular choice. Hemp seed butter is a safe, delicious choice for people with nut allergies. Hemp seeds can be eaten on their own as is, pressed into an oil or ground into a protein powder.
With any product, it’s important to do research and ensure you’re putting high quality, nutritious foods into your body. When selecting a hemp based food or beverage products, especially with oils and protein powders, you want to look for cold pressed unrefined selections. Research has found that heat exposure can reduce the digestibility of hemp. Unrefined cold pressed hemp preserves all of the nutrients found in the seed, maintaining all of the incredible benefits that hemp has to offer.