Functional foods are those that are near-to or wholly natural. While the movement towards eating for wellbeing has been bubbling away for some time, it has exploded in popularity with the pandemic sharpening the focus on food-as-medicine.
Industrial hemp foods come from the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Technically these seeds are actually a nut and from them, we derive foods such as hemp seed oil, protein powders and hemp hearts containing approximately 30 percent oil, 25 percent protein, essential fatty acids, GLA (gamma linolenic acid), fibre, vitamins and minerals.
There are numerous clinical studies now that prove industrial hemp foods can help and even go so far as prevent many chronic conditions such as inflammation, skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
What Are Essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that include omega 3 and 6. The science is a complex jargon of carbons and chemical compositions but suffice to say our bodies can’t make omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, so we must get them from our diet. They are called ‘essential’ because if we don’t get enough of them from food we will become deficient and ultimately our health will decline.
Omega 3 Alpha Linolenic Acid Fats
These help contribute to the health of our cell membranes, heart, brain and metabolism. A deficiency has been linked to depression, anxiety, joint pain and skin issues. Omega 3 use is believed to help improve a plethora of conditions such as heart disease, blood clot formation, eczema, ADHD in children, sleep, PMS, menopausal symptoms, bone health, fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease, cognitive function and eye health.
Omega 6 Linolenic Acid Fats
Omega 6 is important for energy. Typically modern diets provide too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3 which is why it’s important to get the balance of these two essential fatty acids right. The ratio of 3:1 is considered optimal.
Point to note
Omega 3 is believed to be anti-inflammatory and omega 6 pro-inflammatory. To clarify that omega 6 from unhealthy sources, such as the trans fats found in cookies, cakes and processed fatty foods increase inflammation. Omega 6 derived from hemp seed oil is not the same as the omega 6 fat from the sources above. We should be aiming for an average of three serves of omega 6 to one serve of omega 3 to promote good health and reduce our risk for developing cardiovascular disease, cancer and other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Hemp seed has this optimal balance to help maintain good health.
The Inflammation Equation
Hemp Seed Oil
This is why we think of hemp seed oil as “nature’s most perfectly balanced plant oil”. It contains the 3:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 – or three parts linoleic acid to one part alpha-linolenic acid – the perfect proportion for the human body.
What Is GLA?
When it comes to industrial hemp foods they are protein powerhouses. Protein is often called the building block of the body as its main role is to grow and repair our tissues and organs.
Industrial hemp seeds contain about 20-25 percent protein whereas flax and chia seeds are abut 16-18 percent protein. Industrial hemp seeds actually contain similar amounts of protein as beef and lamb and 2-3 tablespoons will provide approximately 11 grams of protein. The New Zealand Nutrition Foundation recommends a daily intake of 46 grams for adult women and 64 grams for adult men.
A couple of the proteins that make up hemp food are in the form of edestin, which mimics our body’s natural proteins and albumin, the protein found in egg whites. Both of these proteins are high-quality and easily digested. They also contain good amounts of all the essential amino acids including arginine. Our bodies don’t make nine of the essential amino acids we need so we need to get them through diet.
This composition of proteins and amino acids make industrial hemp foods a complete protein something that is rare in the plant world with soy protein and quinoa being the only other plant-based alternatives.
Vitamins & Minerals
Industrial hemp foods are particularly rich in vitamin E and contain an abundance of minerals such as phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium.
These minerals have numerous actions in the body such as aiding in bone and tooth health, muscle growth, cognitive function, blood sugar stability, a robust immune system and facilitating good gut absorption of nutrients,
Fibre plays a key role in good digestion and keeping us regular. Whole hemp seeds serve up high amounts fibre with most of it being found in the seed’s outer shell.
The two different types of fibre have different roles:
- Soluble fibre absorbs fluid like a sponge, lowers cholesterol, and helps to keep blood sugar stable.
- Insoluble fibre helps form healthy, bulky stools ensuring a smooth passage for waste.
Hemp Farm Accounts Manager
“Hi, I’m Fay and I’m the Accounts Administrator. I’m a bit of a stickler for detail and am passionate about order and accountability in the finance area.
I moved to the Bay of Plenty with my husband a couple of years ago having spent most of my life living and working in Wellington. When not in the office you can find me out and about with my camera exploring the beautiful lakes and beaches around the Bay of Plenty and beyond. I love to share my photos on the “gram”, I’m the convener for a local book club, love to entertain, and I make a wicked carrot cake, (with hempseed of course!)
I love the seemingly endless potential for the use of hemp and feel incredibly privileged to be part of the Hemp Farm team and such an exciting and innovative industry.
Testimonial Of The Month
“Great for me. Before I started using Hemp Oil my body didn’t belong to me. I was always achy, joints sore and could hardly move due to a condition I have. Now I’m back playing golf, biking and walking for longer.
Hemp oil gave me my life back.
Hemp Recipes To Try
Kiwi Hemp Hearts
100% New Zealand Grown Hemp
100% Pure NZ Kiwi Hemp Hearts Are Here!
Exciting news, our Kiwi Hemp Hearts have arrived yay!! Our brand new 100% New Zealand grown hemp hearts are in stock now. Fresh, nutty tasting and ready to sprinkle. These little nutrient dense seeds are grown right here in NZ by our dedicated Hemp Farm growers, harvested and deshelled fresh for your customers to enjoy!
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1. New analysis finds hempseed oil packed with health-promoting compounds
2. Hempseed as a nutritional resource: An overview
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution
4. Occurrence of “omega-3” stearidonic acid (cis-6,9,12,15-
octadecatetraenoic acid) in hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seed
5. Importance of n-3 fatty acids in health and disease
6. The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases
7. Summary of the NATO advanced research workshop on dietary omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids: biological effects and nutritional essentiality.
8. Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and in growth and development
9. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Depression: Scientific Evidence and Biological Mechanisms
10. Essential fatty acids for premenstrual syndrome and their effect on prolactin and total cholesterol levels: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study
11. Gamma Linolenic Acid: An Anti-inflammatory Omega-6 Fatty Acid
12. Dietary hempseed reduces platelet aggregation
Further reading: https://hempnz.co.nz/health-benefits-of-hemp-seed-oil/