Healthy nutrition: hemp seeds
No other single plant source provides complete protein in such an easily digestible form, nor has the oils essential to life in as perfect a ratio for human health and vitality, says N C Shah in the concluding part of the article.
Now-a-days, in the USA, Canada and European countries etc hemp seed and its oil is being used for nutritional rather than its medicinal or narcotic values.
Seed: Osburn (1992) states that in hemp seeds protein is about 65 per cent globulin, edestin plus quantities of albumin (present in all seeds) so it is easily digestible, further, protein is readily available in a form quite similar to that found in blood plasma. Not only this, it contains all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life.
No other single plant source provides complete protein in such an easily digestible form, nor has the oils essential to life in as perfect a ratio for human health and vitality. Pioneers in the field of biochemistry and human nutrition now believe cardiovascular disease (CVD) and most cancers are really diseases of fatty degeneration caused by the continued over-consumption of saturated fats and refined vegetable oils.
The short list of hemp food currently on the market of USA and in European countries include: hemp oil, hemp cheese (just as good as real cheese and melts great!), hemp ice cream, hemp butters, hemp flour, hemp baked goods, hemp tofu, hemp burgers (tempeh), roasted hemp seeds and hemp beer.
The seed are now becoming available in natural food stores. Hemp milk is not currently available in stores, but it’s a great alternative to soy or rice milk and can be made at home from the seeds. Hemp oil is pressed from the seeds and the remaining meal can be ground into a high protein flour. Many new products are soon to enter the market and cookbooks are in the works. Hemp seed can be ground into a paste similar to peanut butter only more delicate in flavour. ‘‘The ground seeds can be baked into breads, cakes and casseroles.
Hemp seed makes a hearty addition to granola bars.
Seed oil: As stated earlier hemp seed oil is amongst the lowest in saturated fats at eight per cent of total 1-4 per cent g-linolenic acid (GLA) and 15.25 per cent a-linolenic acid oil volume. The oil pressed from hemp seed contains 53-60 per cent linoleic acid (LA) and (LNA). Essential fatty acids govern growth, vitality and state of mind. LA and LNA are involved in transferring oxygen from the air in the lungs to every cell in the body. They play a part in holding oxygen in the cell membrane where it acts as a barrier to invading viruses and bacteria, neither of which thrive in the presence of oxygen.
Beyond basic nutrition, hemp oil may help to prevent many of todays increasingly common degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, weakened immune functions, arthritis, behavioral problems, high cholesterol, multiple sclerosis, skin affections and dry skin and hair, pms, sterility and even hair loss.
Seed oil for body care: Hemp seed oil is perfectly suited for hair and skin care. Its nutritional value, combined with its moiturizing and replenishing Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s), make it one of the best vegetable body care foundations. Hemp seed oil’s EFA complement includes polyunsaturated fatty acids, a-linolenic acid and Gamma Linoleic Acids (GLA’s). Although they are very effective in skin care maintenance, GLA’s are rarely found in natural oils. Hemp is an excellent source of GLA’s.
Hemp oil as paint and plastic: Hemp oil extract can also be used as an ingredient in nontoxic, biodegradable inks, paints, and varnishes. It is an ideal raw material for plant-based plastics such as cellophane.
About the author: N.C. Shah is ex-founder director of Herbal Reseach & Development Institute (Govt of UP now Uttaranchal), retired scientist (CIMAP,C SIR) and also hon.coordinator, Centre for Indigenous Knowledge of Indian Herbal Resources. (CIKIHR).