Hemp seed oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the hemp plant, a tall seedy and fibrous Cannabis variety also used to make a number of industrial products such as textiles, rope, paper and biodegradable plastics.
All food grade hemp seeds come from the hemp plant and can be further processed to make oil or shelled to provide a nutritious protein-rich superfood.
About 35% of the total hemp seed weight is made up of this highly nourishing edible oil that when extracted produces a deep olive green colored oil that is thick, rich and nutty tasting.
Most hemp oil's are about 80% polyunsaturated fat, one of the highest of any plant, and provide a balanced 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids which is known to be helpful for lowering the "bad" cholesterol and reducing inflammation in the body. Taken in capsule form or ingested as hemp oil, it can be used in conjunction with algae-based oils to offer a vegan omega-3 supplement alternative to fish or cod liver oil.
Consuming hemp oil is excellent for the hair and skin as it helps to nourish cell membranes and provides antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is also high in the antioxidants vitamin E and beta-carotene and also includes the rare gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA).
The hemp plant, its food, oil and fiber, have been used by many civilizations all over the world since the last part of the Stone Age over 12,000 years ago. The hemp seeds and pressed oil were referred to as Ma Zi in China and were used medicinally for centuries by the Chinese Ming Dynasty to treat inflammation and degenerative conditions.
Hemp seed oil is well known among health food enthusiasts for its high amount of beneficial essential fatty acids. EFA's are "essential" because they are needed by the body for proper neurological functioning, cell membrane stability, bone health, inflammatory regulation, immune response, metabolic processes and cardiovascular maintenance.
Hemp seed oil is high in EFA's called linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Other primary fatty acids present include gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA) as well as palmitic, steric and oleic acids.
balance of omega-6 to omega-3 in a 3:1 ratio, which is very unusual for a food or oil.
In a typical Western diet omega-6 is much higher than omega-3 at between an average 10:1 to 20:1 ratio. Too much omega-6 can cause inflammation in the body and other related health conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acids act as anti-inflammatory agents and help to counteract the pro-inflammatory effects of LA omega-6 fats and their derived oils. Omega-6's are especially concentrated in refined vegetable oils such as corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil and sesame oil. They are also found in abundance in grain-fed meat protein and dairy products.
Omega-6 acids need to be consumed in proper proportion to omega-3's or ALA. The general standard for this is between a 4:1 or 1:1 ratio.
This means that for the amount of omega-6 foods you consume you would need to eat at least 1/4 of that amount in omega-3's. In addition, some also believe that when a greater overall balance is achieved that the body can effectively convert ALA into EPA and DHA.
The general recommendation for a healthy person eating a more balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 2g of ALA a day. This is about 1T of high quality hemp seed oil.
Our brains are mostly composed of fat and 97% of the fatty acid components that make up our brain are DHA. DHA helps insulate nerve cells and feeds our brain serious nutrients needed for proper neurological functioning and needs to be replenished on a regular basis through dietary sources.
Cognitive illnesses such as Alzheimer's, depression, PTS disorder and other degenerative diseases have been associated with low levels of DHA in the brain tissue.
It is therefore important to provide adequate nutritional intake either through the foods we eat or through oil supplementation of some kind.
ARE YOU Hemp Healthy Today?
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article info sourced from: super foods for superhealth
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phots by: Derek Cross