Hemp’s reputation has grown since its multiple health benefits have come to light. It has been eaten for thousands of years and contains several nutrients essential for the body. Hemp seeds are pressed to form hemp oil, which has a light, nutty flavor. Hemp oil can be found in health food stores. Its growth in popularity has led to it being more readily available in local grocery stores too.
Calorie BreakdownCalorieKing.com reports that 1 tablespoon of an average variety of hemp oil contains 130 calories. The majority of these calories, 126, come from polyunsaturated fat. A tablespoon of hemp oil contains 14 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 12.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
Essential Fatty Acid ContentEssential fatty acids are necessary but not produced by the body. They are only obtained through diet. One of hemp oil's biggest selling points is that it is high in the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. Additionally, hemp oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 in an optimal 3-to-1 ratio. The traditional Western diet typically includes too many omega-6 and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. The benefits of consuming the right mix of fatty acids include a reduced risk for heart attack, cardiovascular problems, atherosclerosis and certain types of cancer as well as improved nervous system function and infant development.
Antioxidants, Vitamins and MineralsHemp oil provides a host of other beneficial nutrients including antioxidants in the form of vitamin E and carotene. Antioxidants are beneficial to the body because they neutralize destructive free radicals. Hemp oil also includes minerals such as magnesium, calcium, sulfur, phosphorous, iron and zinc. Chlorophyll is also present in hemp oil, which gives it a light green color. Chlorophyll has been shown to have potent antioxidant and antimutagenic activities, according to a July 2006 article published in the “Journal of Food Science.”
Polyunsaturated FatsHemp oil is very high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically gamma-linoleic acid and stearidonic acid, according to an article on Dr.Bronner.com. Polyunsaturated fats are beneficial because they help lower cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease and reduce the risk for Type 2 diabetes, according to MayoClinc.com. Consuming polyunsaturated fats is also associated with a reduction in the onset of dementia. A 2010 article in the “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease” revealed that elderly people who had diets higher in polyunsaturated fats had a reduced risk for developing memory difficulties and subsequent dementia.
UsesHemp oil's nutty flavor makes it a great substitute oil. Use it in salads, dips, soups or any recipe that calls for vegetable oil. However, do not use hemp oil as a substitute for frying oils. Hemp oil can denature at high temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit and produce unwanted trans fats and peroxides.
by Rose Haney, Demand Media