In high school, I had a bracelet made out of hemp. At the time, it seemed a little ‘too hippy’ for me. Can punk rock and hemp items co-exist? Apparently so. Since my teenage days, I have owned a few shirts, a wallet and a pair of shoes made from this all-purpose fabric, and my dogs even sport hemp collars. I suppose it was only a matter of time that I would start eating it too – hemp seed that is, not the fabric.
Despite its small size, the mighty hemp seed is very nutrient-dense and the plant itself is a hardy one – having been utilized by humans for around 10,000 years. Despite having nutritional benefits, it has only been in recent years that hemp seed has found its way into more ‘mainstream’ foods. Sure, you can be a purist and just stick to hemp seeds, which are rich in essential fatty acids and protein; however, you can also find hemp oil, milk, and powder at the local grocer, along with items like waffles, granola bars, veggie burgers and cereal made with hemp seeds. Remember when you are opting for the seeds and oil, you will need to keep them refrigerated due to the high fat content. Rancid food is gross.
The ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids in hemp seed is about 3:1, which is very good. Ideally, we want that ratio to be low, as many people consume too much omega 6 and not enough omega 3-rich foods. And for most people, consuming enough protein is not an issue, but it is good to know that hemp seeds have a protein profile close to that of soybeans, which means they are easily digested and used by the body.
Any healthy diet is based on variety, and hemp seed is another option to add into the mix of your flax and chia routine. And while you are at it, go ahead and buy that hemp bracelet if you want. I am proof it won’t turn you into a Grateful Deadhead.
Photo credit: Magalie L’Abbé via Flickr