Hemp was cultivated in China more than 6,000 years ago, from a wild plant that grew in central Asia. The Chinese recognized hemp's amazing nutritional value, and used it as a food source long before soy foods. About a thousand years ago, hemp traveled to Europe, where peasants used the plant in several ways, one of the most popular being the making of hemp butter by grinding the tasty seeds.
A Nutritional Powerhouse
Hempseed is considered by leading researchers and medical doctors to be one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet. Shelled hempseed is packed with 33 percent pure digestible protein and is rich in iron and vitamin E as well as omega-3 and GLA. A recent report funded by the Canadian government states that hemp protein is comprised of 66 percent high-quality edistin protein, and that hempseed contains the highest percentage of this of any plant source. Hemp also contains three times the vitamin E contained in flax. Unlike soy, hemp is not genetically modified, and it doesn't contain the anti-nutritional qualities commonly found in soy.
Got Your EFAs today?
Because the human body produces no Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), it is important that EFAs be consumed on a regular basis. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of Americans take in too little of one of the most important EFAs--omega-3--which is found in flax, walnuts, deep-water fish, and hempseeds. EFAs are the "good fats" that doctors recommend as part of a healthy, balanced diet. The quality of omega-3 is vital, and can be diminished by oxygen, heat, and light. Thus consume the freshest seeds possible and store them in a dark, cold environment such as a refrigerator. Nutiva obtains its seeds exclusively from Canada, and we date all our products. Great nutrition never tasted so good.
Q & A:
Q. What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
A. Marijuana and hemp both come from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa L., but from different varieties. There are different varieties of Cannabis, just as Chihuahuas and St. Bernards are different breeds of dogs, Canis familiari.
Marijuana is the flowering tops and leaves of psychoactive varieties of Cannabis that are grown for their high THC content.
Hemp, also referred to as industrial hemp, are low-THC varieties of Cannabis that are grown for their seeds and fiber. Hemp is grown legally in just about every industrialized country except the USA.
Q. What is the recommended daily intake of hemp seeds?
A. Health practitioners suggest three to five tablespoons of shelled hempseed per day.
Q. What is the recommended daily intake of hemp oil?
A. Health practitioners suggest one or two tablespoons of hemp oil per day.
Q. Why is hemp so nutritious?
A. Hemp oil contains the most essential fatty acids (EFAs) of any nut or seed oil, with the omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs occurring in the nutritionally optimal 1:3 ratio.
Q. Why are essential fatty acids (EFAs) important?
A. Essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the human body; they must be obtained from your diet. As the name implies, they are essential to your health and well being. Seventy percent of adults who eat a typical Western diet do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids, and at the same time, they get too much omega-6 fatty acids. This imbalance can cause a wide range of health problems.
Q. What are the benefits of hemp vs. flax?
A. Shelled hempseed is more easily digested than ground flax seed, while whole flax seed passes through your body undigested. Hemp seed and hemp oil also contain higher-potency omega derivatives, GLA and SDA, which flax seed lacks.
Q. I would like to know more about hemp and hemp foods. What are some good sources of information?
A. To learn more about hemp food, please read the article: "Hemp and Flax Seeds and Oil in Modern Nutrition" by Gero Leson, D.Env. (PDF file 305k)