Hemp is one of the world’s most nutritious seeds – with a history that dates back thousands of years. These days, it’s officially the ‘go-to’ product for vegans seeking a protein boost; not to mention countless others who appreciate its nutritional punch and deliciously nutty taste.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is the name given to the seed and fibre of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. Yes, that’s correct, it’s the plant you probably know better as marijuana! However, the two are not the same, and it’s important to note that hemp doesn’t product a ‘high’. Instead, it’s valued around the world because of its dietary value and flavour, as well as its wide range of industrial applications.
From Ancient Roots…
Hemp has been cultivated by humans for around 12,000 years. However, it wasn’t just used for eating. Back then (and to this day), people used it to make rope, clothing and even paper – talk about a versatile plant! It can even be used to make fuel and biodegradable plastic.
…To Modern Use
These days, the world is waking up to the nutritional possibilities of hemp. It contains a wealth of nutrients, including:
- Omega 3, 6 and 9 – Essential fatty acids that don’t occur naturally in the body. Traditionally, vegans and vegetarians find it difficult to get enough of these fatty acids, which is where hemp can be a great help.
- Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, iron and more – Hemp also provides a healthy dose of vital vitamins and minerals.
- High protein levels – Over a quarter of the calories in hemp seeds are protein-based. This is far higher than either chia or flaxseeds.
- GLA – Hemp contains GLA, which has natural anti-inflammatory qualities.
Eat Them, Drink Them… the Choice is Yours
Hemp seeds and oil can be added to virtually any meal, including:
- Roast dinners (using hemp oil to roast the potatoes)
- Protein shakes
- Porridge or muesli
Thanks to its distinctive nutty flavour, it works well with both savoury and sweet dishes.
Better for You, Better for the Environment
As an added bonus, hemp doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides to grow well, and is considered to be a relatively environmentally friendly option when compared to plants used for similar purposes.