Hemp seeds or hemp-seed oil have recently become commercially popular and are easily available off the shelf but what are their benefits and why are so many claiming hemp seeds have changed their lives? We take a look at this often misunderstood ingredient and how you can use it in your daily life, to feel healthier, look better and deal with some common ailments with ease.
What are hemp seeds?
Before looking at its benefits, it is important to clarify what hemp seeds are. They come from the Cannabis Sativa plant and as their name suggests, does not include the leaves or flowers. The oil is extracted, usually cold pressed from the seeds alone. More specifically, hemp seeds or hemp-seed oil are the non-narcotic parts of the Cannabis Sativa plant. That is to say, they contain no or negligible levels of THC(tetrahydrocannabinol), which creates a psychoactive reaction in humans. While CBD oil has recently been in the news for becoming more widely legalized, hemp seeds and hemp-seed oil are commercially available across the country.
Hempseeds are rich in protein and minerals that can benefit a variety of areas of your life. The seeds are known as a nutritious powerhouse, with a 25% protein content (beating chia and flax), and 30% fat. To be precise Omega-3 and Omega-6, these are essential fats that help everything from depression to improving brain, eye and bone health. They also provide energy for the body and help fight various diseases. Finally, hempseeds offer a healthy dose of GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid), vitamin E, and minerals including Iron, Zinc, Sulphur, and Calcium.
Uses for hemp-seed oil in everyday life
As a nutritious food or supplement.
Hemp can easily be introduced in the kitchen, in order to benefit from the nutrients listed above, avoiding piles of pills or supplements. Using the seeds themselves adds a lovely nutty flavor to a meal, sprinkled over your salad or you can incorporate the oil into a nutritious sauce or dressing. Just 2tbs of the seeds a day provides you with 2g fiber, 5g protein, 300mg potassium, 15% Vitamin A RDA and 25% iron RDA.
Keep your heart healthy
Several studies have been carried out that indicate that hemp-seed oil could be a powerful tool in fighting heart disease. The Canadian center for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine, along with the University of Manitoba established that hempseeds could reduce cholesterol build up, reduce blood pressure and help in recovery from a heart attack. Data has only been collected in studies with rats, but the initial findings are positive. Also, hemp-seed oil is high in arginine, which, a study by the Department of Family Medicine in Ohio found to help reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) which is linked to heart disease when high levels are recorded.
Get glowing skin
As mentioned Hemp-seed oil is high in omega-3 and omega-6, both of which are essential fats, which means our bodies can’t produce them so they need to be taken in some form. These are fats needed for healthy skin cell production, particularly Omega-3. Benefits include improved skin elasticity, improved hydration, calmed redness and sensitivity and soothed inflammation, which is particularly helpful to sufferers of eczema. These omegas also provide antioxidants to revitalize the skin and even help reduce the signs of aging.
Hemp oil can be used directly on the skin, though always consult a professional if you have any sensitivity issues. The oil is also found in a number of skin creams and salves, which are created to target specific areas according to your needs.
Help Fetal development
When looking at fetal development, the brain is one of the fastest growing areas of the baby and both the brain and eye require high levels of Essential Fatty Acids(EFA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), to grow effectively. The fatty acids in Hempseed oil will help your baby reach their cognitive and visual potential and some studies even suggest that they will reduce the risk of retinitis, poor night vision, diabetes, and dyslexia. A mother can take Hemp-seed oil during pregnancy to reap the benefits for her baby.
Keep Joints Flexible
Joint pain is often caused by inflammation, which, as mentioned above can be eased with either an oral or topical application of hempseed oil. Pain can also be reduced thanks to the analgesic properties found in hempseed oil, and studies are continuing to establish exactly how effective hemp-seed oil can be in pain relief, even potentially easing rheumatoid arthritis.
Recover quickly from exercise strain
Hempseed oil is high in Cannabigerol (CBG) which can limit the stimulation of neurons, by limiting the absorption of a chemical called GABA, in the brain. This, in turn, leads to decreased muscle tension and quicker recovery times after intensive training. Coupled with the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of hempseed, sore muscles should fade into the past.
Reduce PMS and Menopause symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome is commonly suffered by women around the world but relief seems to be at hand. Hempseed oil contains GLA, which can help reduce the effects of Prolactin, a hormone that is suspected to be the cause of symptoms related to PMS. More significantly perhaps a recent study on rats found that hempseed oil could also reduce the symptoms of menopause including reduced anxiety, lower cholesterol, and a general improvement in wellbeing.
Hempseeds can help maintain a healthy bowel, thanks to their impressive levels of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber benefits the gut by providing nutrients for the healthy bacteria found in the stomach and hempseed is also suspected to reduce spikes in blood sugar levels as well as maintaining cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber is found in unprocessed hempseeds, or, hempseeds with the husk still intact. This fiber helps to ensure regular bowel movements and helps waste to pass through the bowels easily and without discomfort. This can even help to reduce the risk of diabetes.
A closing note
There seems to be no end to the potential benefits of Hempseed oil, and so far, very few side effects. Though trials are ongoing to ensure all theories are supported scientifically, the above benefits will help a lot of people to feel more comfortable and happy in their day to day lives. It may be a bit premature to call this a true panacea, however there very few other natural remedies that offer such a wide range of benefits.