Hemp, or Cannabis sativa, has been part of nutritional therapies since 2300 B.C. Similar to flax, it is a high-protein seed that contains all nine essential amino acids, and is rich in fatty acids, fiber, and vitamin E. Due to its balanced ratio of omega-3 to six fatty acids and its high GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) content, hemp seed and oil can help stimulate immunity, balance the endocrine system, and support healthy skin and hair.
Unlike soy, which contains high amounts of phytic acid (an anti-nutrient that prevents us from absorbing minerals), hemp seed has no phytic acid. Because it is nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, however, it will go rancid if stored at room temperature or heated above 100 degrees. Hence, hemp milk is not the best source of this power-packed nutrient. Instead, choose hemp oil or seeds that come packaged in opaque containers and stored in the refrigerator.
Sprinkle hemp seeds over your oatmeal and drizzle hemp oil on your salad, or try this blueberry hemp smoothie recipe.
Lisa Masé is a whole foods cooking educator, food writer, and herbalist. Visit her website, Harmonized Cookery, for more healthy cooking advice