Reap The Benefits of this Powerfully Sowed Seed
Hemp hearts, hemp-seeds, hemp nuts. What’s the difference between these three products? Well, nothing. Hemp seeds are actually hemp nuts, and they’re often called hemp hearts. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s explore some of the reasons why everyone should be consuming these tiny superfood powerhouses on a regular basis.
Enter the Omegas
Essential fatty acids are nutrients that must be sourced outside of the body as our bodies do not produce them.” Our bodies need these nutrients to function properly. Therefore, they are “essential” nutrients for growth, development, and health maintenance.
Omega-3 fatty acids are well-consumed in the western diet. Scientifically known as Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), omega-3 fats are sourced from nuts, green leafy vegetables, some types of grass-fed animal fats, and seed oils like flax seed and hemp seed. The omega-3 fats play a key role in cell membranes and how the receptors found in these membranes function. Omega-3 fats are responsible for initiating hormone creation that regulates blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They play an integral role in reducing inflammation in the body and in the prevention of heart disease like stroke and atherosclerosis.
Omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) are also well-consumed in the western diet, but their role is a bit different than the omega-3 fatty acids. Whereas omega-3 fats are thought to be anti-inflammatory, omega-6 fats can be inflammatory. One may wonder, well why do I want to intake something that causes inflammation in my body? Explained simply, the body initiates an inflammatory response when disease or injury is present. This let’s the brain and the nervous system know that there is something wrong that needs to be healed. So this function is vital for survival. However, left unchecked for too long, inflammation in the body causes widespread damage and degradation which leads to chronic disease. In fact, many conditions are directly related to unchecked or out of control inflammation in the body. Diabetes, heart disease, dementia, depression, chronic pain are just a few of the conditions directly related to inflammation.
Unfortunately, people who consume a western diet are typically getting too much omega-6 fat from an overabundance of processed vegetable oils and products that are manufactured with these oils. Therefore, western diet consumers are prone to developing chronic inflammatory diseases. To combat this inflammation, some researchers suggest that a 1:1 ratio of Omega-3 fats to Omega-6 fats should be consumed. Western diet consumers get more of a 16:1 ratio — Omega-6 to Omega-3 — which creates a great deal of inflammation in the body.
Omega-9 fatty acids (oleic acid) are not necessarily considered essential fatty acids as the body does produce them. Some sources of omega-9 fats include almonds, safflower oil, olive oil, and you guessed it — hemp seed oil. Omega-9 fats may combat heart disease by increasing good cholesterol levels (HDL) and reducing bad cholesterol levels (LDL). Omega-9 fats may also improve mood, reduce anger, and increase energy.
What the hemp?
So you may now be trying to figure out how to consume the proper amounts of omega fatty acids so that you can decrease inflammation, improve your mood, give you energy, all while striving to NOT increase inflammation! Thankfully, the Earth provides, you guessed it — hemp! Hemp provides one of the best sources of essential fatty acids to promote wellness and healing in the human body. The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in hempseed oil is normally between 2:1 and 3:1, which is considered to be optimal for human health. In addition to being this well-balanced source of omega fatty acids, hemp seed is also an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamin E, and minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium.
Give me all the hemp!
Wanna reap the benefits of hemp, hemp seeds or nuts or hearts? There are a lot of quality products on the market. Hemp protein powders, hempseed oils, hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds), and whole hemp seeds are available for purchase in major supermarkets, online from small hemp businesses, and in health food stores. Try a variety of hemp and hemp seed products to boost your health and healing abilities. Support local when you can, and know who is making the product you are interested in purchasing. (Hint: This is a good rule to go by when purchasing anything!) Pay attention to tension and pain in your body and look for reductions in these symptoms. Also pay attention for improved energy and perhaps even better sleep. Here’s to your health with hemp!
Bjarnadottir, A. (2017, June 04). 6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-health-benefits-of-hemp-seeds#section1
Callaway, J. C. (n.d.). Hempseed as a nutritional resource: An overview. Retrieved 2017, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10681-004-4811-6
Hemp Oil. (n.d.). Retrieved 2017, from https://www.regenerativenutrition.com/hemp-oil-flush-efa-cholesterol-omega.asp
Oliver, K. (2017, June 15). The Fat that Improves Your Heart, Brain & Mood. Retrieved 2017, from https://draxe.com/omega-9-benefits/
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution. (2015, May 26). Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
The Omega Truth: Hemp Vs. Fish Oil. (2016, February 18). Retrieved 2017, from https://www.nateralife.com/blog/lifestyle/omega-truth-hemp-vs-fish-oil/