Traditionally, hemp has been used for many thousands of years for an incredible range of applications, with its oldest known use as paper being over 3,400 years ago in China. But, after the comparatively recent boycotting of hemp by Harry J. Anslinger across the USA, during the years 1930-1937, hemp fell out of favour and was condemned as an evil plant.
During Anslinger’s campaign, the word ‘hemp’ fast fell out of use and was reinterpreted as ‘Marijuana’, contriving to disassociate the plant with the recreational use of hemp buds for its psychoactive effects during his campaign against illicit drugs. This reinterpreted word was used to deflect from hemp’s previously positive image; due to its incredible sphere of uses as crucial to the US economy from colonial times up until and during WWl and WWll. Instead, hemp was now to be associated with fear, menace and as a scapegoat; asserting its contribution to social degradation.
Nowadays, it’s far easier to find information about hemp and educate yourself on the power of this plant; with far less manipulation through the media about its actual properties and uses. With just a click of a button, you can find medical, anecdotal and scientific resources attesting to the significant uses of this plant, whether in its natural form, or reiterated for medicinal or scientific purposes.
But, to start, let’s take a look at how hemp can benefit those looking to integrate it into their diets.
1. The Good Kind of Fats
For vegans and vegetarians, coming across larger amounts of essential fats in plant material alone can be truly difficult, as most people receive their fat intake from eating fish, dairy and eggs. That’s why hemp can be so beneficial for vegans and vegetarians.
Hemp seeds are approximately 1/3 essential fats alone and a 30g amount of hemp seed contains 21% of your daily fat intake. Fats found naturally within hemp seeds include Omega 3 ALA, which help with brain function, connective tissues and depressions; as well as Omega 6, which has shown to help prevent rheumatoid arthritis and decrease symptoms of ADHD. These fats can not be found naturally inside the body and so must be consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet. And as hemp seeds become more and more popular, it is easy to source and include these beneficial fats into your diet. Hemp seeds tend to be quite inexpensive due to its easy cultivation, and can usually be found at your local health food shop or online.
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2. Hemp - A Complete Protein Source
Being vegan or vegetarian can mean feeling hungry more often if you’re not feeding yourself correctly. Vegetarians can bypass this by eating protein-rich foods like eggs, beans and dairy products, but finding replacements for vegans means eating a wider range of vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds in order to keep healthy and maintain a fuller stomach for longer.
In this instance, hemp seeds are the easiest and best choice, as it is a complete protein source, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities for a healthy diet. Hemp seeds also contain an incredible 31.56g of protein per 100g of seeds, which is in near equal amounts to that of chicken or pork, and with less saturated fats.
They can be incorporated into your diet easily and with a nutty flavour and smooth consistency, hemp seeds are perfect on top of muesli, blended into smoothies or eaten raw as a snack.
3. Pump Up The Iron
Many of those who forgo animal products can find it difficult to get the right nutrients into their diet. Whether it’s because we can’t find the time to include all the foods we need on a daily basis, or because seasonal produce makes some foods harder to get at particular times of the year; we can certainly feel the effects of the lack of these vitamins and minerals.
One particular mineral vegans and vegetarians have a general lack of is iron. Getting enough iron as a vegan and vegetarian can be difficult, and the effects can be dire, ranging from general lethargy to anaemia. This is easily fixed by eating hemp seeds or hemp oil. Hemp seeds contain 9.5mg of iron per 100g serving which accounts for around 50% of an adults daily iron intake; more than in meat which has approximately 1.2mg per 100g.
Although high in iron, it is a non-heme iron, which is not as easily absorbed into the body as heme irons (which comes from animal products). But, as hemp is rich vitamin C as well, which allows non-heme iron to take effect, it not only provides a vital source of iron, but provides the necessary nutrients to be easily absorbed as well.
4. Antioxidant Rich
An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. Antioxidants such as thiols or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) terminate these chain reactions and are some of the components within hemp.
Incorporating hemp into your diet is a great idea for vegans and vegetarian alike, as it contains a large quantity of these antioxidants, something meat does not contain much of; with the only antioxidants within meat coming from the plants the animal ingests. Hemp is high in Vitamin C, which is integral to maintaining and boosting your immune system as well as for the absorption of non-heme iron. Hemp is also naturally rich in vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants that maintains healthy eyes and skin. Not only this, but hemp also contains the antioxidant vitamin A, or retinol, which aids in the growth of skin and soft skeletal tissues as well as vision.
Eating hemp or hemp products fights the free-radicals that attack healthy cells within the body, as hemp contains anticancer and anti-tumoral properties, integral to a healthy lifestyle.
5. Beneficial Vitamin B
Vitamin B is integral to a healthy body. There are many different components to the vitamin B as it is a complex vitamin, with 8 different vitamins, which include B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. They have beneficial components for the body and are essential for certain metabolic functions. Many vegetarians and vegans take a complex B vitamin as B vitamins are found in larger amounts meats, but can also be found in grains, legumes, bread, eggs, and beans. Hemp contains 3 of the 8 B-vitamins, including B1 (thiamine), which helps to alleviate stress and breaks down carbohydrates, while also working as an immune protectant. Vitamin B3 (niacin) helps boosts the good cholesterol in your system and is helpful as a treatment for acne. It can be applied both topically or ingested.
Vitamin B5 is also present within hemp and is responsible for sex- and stress-related hormones like testosterone. Studies also show that hemp promotes healthy skin with the ability to reduce redness and skin spots.
Hemp for nutrition is best taken in its whole plant form. You can consume the leaves, stems or seeds of the hemp plant, but it can also be made into oils, pastes and butters. When buying hemp material, it is best to buy products from legitimate companies, as they will usually contain these essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and oils.
Make sure you receive the best products you can buy by going online and researching on sites like Trustpilot, where you can find real reviews by real customers. If you’re looking for CBD oil or CBD pastes, make sure to check out the Endoca webshop where you will find the highest quality hemp products right at the click of a button.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Endoca and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cure. Endoca CBD products have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).