If you’ve been following a plant-based diet for any time, you may have by now come across hemp as a food source while perusing the seed selections. Now, you can buy hemp seeds and hemp oil in many natural food stores and/or online. And you may even incorporate hemp into your diet already, or perhaps you have just become curious.

But, nonetheless, you’ve all probably also heard the jokes…or made them yourself. You have likely seen the hemp vendors at various fairs and festivals, with their pot leaf patterns covering everything in sight. You might wonder if hemp is a legitimate food source or a gimmick that has a bit of naughty fun attached to it. The answer would be that it’s food…a valuable source of nutrients not to be ignored.

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Of course, hemp as food is not a new idea. For thousands of years, it has staved off hunger for peasants whose hard work required strong nutrition or endurance. Widely used to this day in Asia and Europe, hempseeds still bear the stigma of being illicit here in the U.S. because of misunderstandings, politics and special interests.

Hemp seeds, in my view, should be as valued by today’s health enthusiasts as any other ‘super food’ because it is more than 30 percent complete protein, with all the essential amino acids needed for digestion and assimilation of nutrients. It is a rich source of the elusive essential fatty acid, omega-3, vital to human health, and in the perfect proportion with omega-6 to keep us vital.  Hemp seeds are also a rich and unusual source of the polyunsaturated fatty acid gamma linolenic acid, or GLA

On top of that, the use of hemp as food is good for the planet as it helps to re-invigorate soil where it grows. The natural fibers that exist in hemp have proven to be invaluable to us in manufacturing (George HW Bush’s life was saved by a parachute made from hemp…just sayin.’).

The use of America’s most misunderstood food, the seed of the hemp plant, could be a key component in healing the planet as we discover that the nutrients we get from animal food, a major source of pollution, could be obtained from the very seed that, during World War II, the USDA literally begged farmers to grow!

From as far back as Buddha to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to modern day advocates like actor Woody Harrelson, hemp has proven to be a valuable plant to be enjoyed and used to change our health and the health of the planet.

Do you use hemp as a part of your plant-based diet? In what ways do you use it? In an oil? Do you eat the seeds? Do you use it as a source of omega-3s? Be sure to let us know in the comments how you’ve incorporated hemp into your own diet, as well as any health benefits you’ve seen or felt as a result.  We’re always looking to delve through the misconceptions people may have about foods, especially those of plant-based nature that can be of benefit to so many! Please share your own comments and experiences with us!

Image source: Health Wise Home 

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