Published Thursday, July 25th, 2013
by Nick Polizzi
The seed from this plant has been referred to by natural brands like Bob’s Red Mill as “One of nature’s most perfect foods.” The plant’s fibrous stalk and leaves have been cultivated for over 10,000 years to produce cloth and paper. In fact, early American colonists were OBLIGATED to grow this crop because of it’s incredible versatility.
Did I mention that a certain variety of this plant is considered highly illegal in most of the United States and Europe?
The plant is hemp, and the food I’m talking about is hemp seed.
Contrary to popular belief, hemp has been grown throughout the ages both for its durable stalk and also it’s hearty protein rich seeds. As mentioned above, hemp stalks and leaves were used to create the massive ropes and canvas sails on most of the famous sailing vessels throughout history. In fact, the word canvas comes from the scientific name for hemp – “cannabis”.
You’re probably thinking “Ok, sailboats are great, but what does this have to do with nutrition and optimal health?” Simple answer: A TON!!!
You see, nutritionists have discovered that the raw hulled seeds of the hemp plant are extremely nutritious. For example, hemp seeds contain more essential fatty acids than any other food source, they are a far more digestible protein source than soy, and are rich in B vitamins. Attention all vegans!!
Here is the spectrum of nutritional benefits offered by hemp seeds:
- they contain all 9 amino acids
- they are the highest botanical source of essential fatty acids, (more than any nut or seed oil)
- they contain an ideal 3 to 1 ratio of omega threes
- they contain a ton of phytonutrients (natural compounds in plants that protect them from germs, fungus, and a number of other outside threats. When we ingest these phytonutrients they help develop the same immune boosting effects in us!)
I know there is a big stigma in mainstream society around the recreational use of marijuana, the cousin of the hemp plant and my intention is NOT to advocate nation wide drug use. But these small hyper nutritious seeds are quite possibly the most healthy thing you can put in your mouth, especially if you are vegan.
3 simple ways to eat raw hemp seeds:
- Buy hemp seed butter (Manitoba Harvest is my favorite brand) and dunk your veggies into it. I can dip celery sticks and sliced red pepper into a cup of hemp seed butter all day
- Sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons of raw hemp seed over a kale or arugula salad as a topping.
There are a ton of more extravagant hemp seed recipes out there but I love simplicity. If you have a great hemp seed dish, please share it below!