Hemp -a Nutritional Powerhouse by Kate Smyth – Sports Naturopath at the Athlete Sanctuary.
Hemp is an incredibly versatile product and nutritional powerhouse. It has been used by many civilisations for over 10,000 years however only started to gain popularity in the Australian diet since a regulatory change in 2017 that now permits human consumption of hemp seed and oil.
Hemp has over 2000 species. The hemp species used as a food product is Cannabis Sativa without intoxicating components. It is a different species to the Cannabis Indica variety of marijuana that contains the hallucinating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) drug compound.
Hemp is an incredibly versatile product and one of the world’s strongest natural fibres. It is used for making clothing, shoes, rope, horse bedding in stables, car fittings, homeware and cleaning products, soap, hair, body and face care products and even lipsticks. Its seeds are used for producing high-protein flour for making bread and other food and hemp oil is one of the easiest vegetable oils for humans to digest. There are several Australian manufactures of hemp cosmetics, clothing and accessories and our mainstream supermarkets and health food shops now stock hemp food products.
Some of hemp’s valuable nutritional qualities include:
- Hemp is high in protein. Hemp seeds contain 31g of protein per 100g serve as opposed to just 21g in almond meal. Hemp flour has 14g of protein per 100g serve as opposed to regular white wheat flour with just 10 g of protein per 100g. Hemp protein is easy to digest and is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. It makes a great snack post strength work outs and inclusion in protein smoothies.
- Hemp contains a range of beneficial essential fatty acids with a perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp also contains anti-inflammatory Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), (also found in evening primrose oil), heart protective alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which may be converted to anti-inflammatory EPA and DHA by the body and stearidonic acid (SDA) another shorter long-chain omega-3 fatty acid and precursor to EPA and DHA with enhance conversion abilities. Hemp seed oil is the richest sources of these fatty acids which are vital for building and renewing cells and maintaining skin moisture. Hemp is particularly good for sufferers of dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis.
- Hemp is really high in dietary fibre (69g per 100g serve of hemp flour) making it an excellent choice for gut health. This form of fibre assists athletes with constipation, provides bulk to enhance satiety and promote weight loss.
- Hemp is extremely low in carbohydrates (just 1.7g per 100g) and contains less than half the calories of almond meal making it an ideal for athletes leaning up.
- Hemp is gluten free and has a low glycemic index making it a smart choice for athletes with gluten sensitivity or coeliac’s disease, sugar cravings or energy slumps.
- Hemp is available in a variety of easy to use forms such as hemp flour, hemp protein powder, hemp seeds, hemp milk, hemp seed oil and incorporated in snack bars, bread, ice cream, tofu, coconut yogurt and protein drinks.
- Hemp seeds also contain minerals, vitamins and enzymes.
- It has a mild nutty flavour.
- Hemp is easy to use and incorporated into dishes. It can be added to muffins, cookies, breads and pancakes. It can be used on its own or blended with other gluten free flours such as almond meal, flaxseed, buckwheat or chia seed flour for baking. Hemp flour makes an excellent pizza base, crackers and flatbreads. It provides added protein and fibre when added to yogurt, soups, cereals or fruit and thickens up sauces and smoothies.
- Hemp is eco and vegan friendly and may be locally grown and produced. Purchase Australia grown hemp as imported hemp seed is treated and, in the process, may lose many of its beneficial qualities.
Sounds interesting? Try our hemp protein muffins by following this link https://athletesanctuary.com.au/kate-smyth-naturopath-healthy-recipes/
For more information on healthy food choices contact the Athlete Sanctuary at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://athletesanctuary.com.au/