Hemp’s reputation has markedly improved and flourished as its numerous health benefits come to light. Although derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, hemp does not produce mind-altering effects as it contains only traces of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Hemp has been consumed for centuries and has many essential nutrients required by our body. It has, hence, become popular amongst people wanting to improve their overall health.
Here’s a roundup of the major benefits that hemp offers to its consumers:
1. Hemp Seeds are Incredibly Nutritious
Although technically a nut, hemp seeds are highly nutritious. They have a mild and nutty flavour. Hemp is considered to be a complete protein as it’s a powerhouse of eight essential amino acids present in quantities enough to meet the body’s needs. This makes hemp a good alternative protein source for vegans and vegetarians. In addition, hemp is exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, namely, omega-6 and omega-3. They even contain gamma-linolenic acid, a nutrient linked to several health benefits. A great source of vitamin E and minerals like potassium and phosphorus, hemp seeds can be consumed cooked, raw or roasted. Even hemp seed oil is considered very healthy for dietary intake.
2. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Hemp seeds have the amino acid arginine present in high amounts which releases nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a type of gas molecule that dilates and relaxes the blood vessels, resulting in lowered blood pressure and a drop in the risk of heart disease. Additionally, the gamma-linolenic acid that is found in hemp seeds reduces inflammation, lowering the chances of heart diseases. Animal studies show hemp seeds or hemp seed oil to be effective in controlling blood pressure, avoid the risk of blood clot formation and assist heart recovery after a heart attack.
3. Promotes Healthy, Glowing Skin
Hemp has been shown to promote healthy skin. Hemp cannabinoids have the potential to make skin less oily as oily skin can lead to acne. Cannabidiol, specifically, reduces the secretions of sebocytes – the skin cells producing fat or oil. Hemp contains a good amount of essential fatty acids, vitamins and other vital nutrients. The fatty acids are the building blocks of skin’s surface layers while healthy fats have an important role in maintaining skin health. Omega-3, especially derived from plant sources like hemp, help create a smoother, healthier-looking complexion. Hemp also reduces redness and swelling of the skin caused by inflammation – from the inside out.
4. Provides Relief from Aches, Soreness, and Joint Irritation
A potent, superior-quality hemp extract can help ease muscle tension, joint irritation or general aches and pains in the body. CBD along with other cannabinoids, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), encourage a healthier response to inflammation, thus relieving the swelling in the joints. Hemp products can provide comfort whenever body suffers from systemic redness and swelling, curing chronic body pains.
5. Reduces Symptoms of PMS and Menopause
Due to the sensitivity to the hormone prolactin, many women may suffer heightened physical or emotional symptoms caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found extensively in hemp seeds, lowers the effects of prolactin and reduces the tendency of breast pain and tenderness, irritability, depression and fluid retention, generally associated with PMS.
6. Aids Digestion
Fibre is essential for good digestive health. Whole hemp seeds are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. The soluble fibre is beneficial for regulating cholesterol levels and keeping sugar in check. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to stool and helps food and waste pass through the gut. It even lowers the risk of diabetes.
7. Promotes Sense of Calm and Restful Sleep
The organic hemp extract leads to deep, full-body relaxation which results in a restful sleep. Consumption of hemp seeds enables one to stay calm and focused during the day. Hemp’s natural phytocannabinoids – including CBG, CBD and a little of THC – work together to promote one’s mental well-being.
Although hemp seeds have gained massive popularity only recently, they have been a staple food in many societies and are a source of excellent nutritional value. Many consider hemp to be a superfood and its qualities show that it’s worthy of the reputation.
The author is the CEO & Co-founder of Hemp Horizons.