Want A Superfood With Medicinal Benefits? Try Hemp
Not only is hemp a powerhouse of multiple rich nutrients, it also helps cut the risk of heart diseases and provides relief from aches and pains
As a result of awareness and education against consumption, people are now anxious and particular about what they eat and drink. Ever since fitness has taken a new road in the industry, a gradual shift towards a healthier diet has taken place where every little ingredient is thoroughly read and examined before eating. Nutritious seeds, powders, and nubs have become a topic of interest for people who are working towards a healthy lifestyle. Hemp, an herb which has been newly recognised as a super food & gained popularity due to its high nutritional value and is a very good source of protein and other essentials in the human body. All in all, hemp is a powerhouse of multiple rich nutrients in one.
- Nutritional Benefits of Hemp
Raw hemp seeds are one of the richest sources of complete protein packed with 33 to 37 per cent of pure digestible protein. Only algae such as marine phytoplankton and blue-green algae exceed hemp in protein. Additionally, 47 per cent of hemp seed is composed of good fats, a vital composition of omega-3 and omega-6.
Not just the good fats, the fibre content of hemp seed flour is also the maximum out of all commercially grown seeds. The seeds are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B, and vitamins A and E. These seeds are also rich in minerals like potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. A normal serving of 3 tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds has over 14 gram of healthy fats, 165 calories, almost 10 gram of protein, 21 milligram of calcium, approx. 2 mg of iron, 210 mg of magnesium, 495 mg of Phosphorus, 360 mg of potassium, 3mg of zinc. Hemp overall holds a significant nutrition value which can fulfil the required nutrition in a human body.
- Hemp as a Super food
Although technically a nut, hemp acts a super food. It has a mild and nutty flavour and 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. The gamma-linoleic acid in hemp seeds has several health benefits. The seeds can be consumed cooked, raw or roasted or in the form of oil.
- Medicinal Benefits along with Uses
Hemp has had a long-standing cultural affinity with India as it has been used for centuries in the Indian Ayurveda culture due to its medicinal benefits. It reduces the risk of Heart diseases, promotes healthy & glowing Skin, and provides relief from aches, soreness, and joint irritation, aids digestion, promotes calm and restful sleep. Other than being a medicinal supplement it is also used traditionally in Indian Cuisines. In Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, native villagers make ‘Hemp chutney and Hemp Salt’ which is consumed as their everyday food item because of its high nutritional value. Moreover, the hemp seed offers various other usages. The protein in its seeds is used to prepare tofu, cheese, etc.
Hemp is a good product to be included in one’s daily diet for maximum health benefits.
- Hemp Cultivation, Cost and Availability in India
Although Hemp has been consumed for centuries for its generously nutritional profile along with its therapeutically active constituents containing a great potential to help many processes of the body, there is still a mass taboo attached to its consumption as it is compared with the psychotic drug marijuana. Therefore, the need to work towards creating more awareness about hemps consumption, its availability, and its medicinal benefits along with its super food values has risen all the more.
The hemp plant has been cultivated in the world for more than 12,000 years. In India, this plant’s unique properties were recognised thousands of years ago and it can also be used in several medicines, including for the treatment of cancer. Currently hemp is legalized in two states in India, Uttarakhand & Uttar Pradesh and recently Himachal Pradesh’s CM Jai Ram Thakur announced that the state government is coming up with a policy to allow controlled cultivation of hemp or cannabis in the state.
The average cost of cultivation of Hemp is 1L per acre and for retail hemp seeds is Rupees 1500-2000 per kg. The price for Cannabis leaf extracts Rupees 1000-10,000 per 10ml depending on the strength. Fabrics range from 400-1500 per meter depending on the type of blends (100% hemp, hemp and silk etc.). Hemp also has carbon negative footprints which allow it to absorb carbon dioxide leading to a cleaner environment.
In conclusion although Hemp has been traditionally used for cuisines and medicinal purposes in Ayurveda, and is even a great source of getting various nutrients, it still isn’t easily available & accessible to people. There are companies which source Hemp for industrial purposes like Hemp Horizons, India Hemp & Co. and others in India. However, there is a mass taboo around the consumption of hemp due to its comparison with Marijuana. A herb which holds so much significance in fulfilling body nutrients, needs to be more accessible to people and thus, needs more awareness & the government should intervene to make it more easily available for the masses.
(The author is the Co-Founder & CEO , Hemp Horizons)