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The legal hemp market has put hemp nutrition in the spotlight, so we've produced this guide to keep you informed.
For several years, hemp was illegal across different parts of the world. In the US, hemp was a scheduled substance meaning that it was illegal to farm hemp, possess it, use it, or sell hemp in any form.
The Agricultural Act of 2018 removed hemp from the list of scheduled substances and reclassified it as an agricultural commodity. This has led to the creation of hemp programs at the level of the states and Indian tribes. With the hemp programs individuals can apply for licenses to cultivate hemp for personal and commercial use.
Legal hemp cultivars in the US contain less than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound THC. Across Europe the threshold for legal hemp cultivars is set at 0.2% THC. This means that hemp does not have psychoactive properties and consuming it will not get you high.
Hemp has several industrial uses. This includes the manufacture of building materials, paper, bio plastics, textiles, shoes, animal feed, and fuel. The medicinal sector of hemp is the largest in terms of value. The nutritional segment is one that is promising but unexploited. It is multifaceted and presents a unique opportunity for investors.
Given that hemp does not have psychoactive properties, consuming nutritional hemp will offer the many nutritional benefits of hemp without altering one's mental status.
Hemp as Food
Cannabidiol (CBD), which has medicinal value, is abundant in the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant. The seeds and stalks of the hemp plant contain trace amounts of CBD but are high in nutrients.
The leaves and flowers are used to infuse salads and juices to add nutritional value and the seeds are eaten as snacks.
In this article we shall review five segments of hemp nutrition that hold significant potential:
1. Eating Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals and easy to consume. They can be roasted and eaten as snacks. They can also be sprinkled on salads, smoothies, noodles, and other meals.
Most people consume hemp seeds because of the high content of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. They contain monounsaturated fatty acids which are good for cardiovascular health.
Hemp seeds are rich in fiber, iron, and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, and manganese. They also contain vitamin E which is good for the skin.
2. Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is slowly becoming a substitute for cow milk as it is lactose free, vegan, and rich in nutrients.
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It is made from the seeds of the hemp plant which are soaked in water and later grounded. The result is a whitish liquid with a “hempy” taste. Hemp milk can be sweetened with natural flavors. The texture has been compared to that of cow milk.
Hemp milk contains all the nutritional components that are present in hemp seeds. Here is a recipe for homemade hemp milk.
Hemp Milk Recipe – Serves 2
What you will need:
- 2 cups clean water
- 1/4 cup dehulled hemp seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the hemp seeds, water, and vanilla in a blender and run it on high speed. Make sure that the seeds are completely broken and particles are no longer visible. Strain the mixture in a sieve and dispose of the solid matter. The liquid that remains is your hemp milk.
3. Hemp Proteins
Hemp is a rich source of plant proteins. Usually animal protein is digested with greater ease as compared to plant protein. However hemp is loaded with a high amount of digestible protein. It is estimated that about 95% of hemp protein is digestible. This is due to the presence of edestin and albumin which are easily broken down.
Hemp proteins are found in healthy and ripe hemp seeds. First, hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds through cold pressing.
If the seeds are exposed to high temperatures the digestibility is reduced by about 10%. Thi is why cold pressing is ideal for the production of hemp protein.
Hemp cake is then obtained as a by-product of the process. The hemp cake is sieved to produce hemp flour which is rich in fiber. The hemp flour is sieved further to leave behind hemp protein powder.
Hemp protein powder is considered a superfood because it contains all nine essential amino acids that support body functions. This includes:
It is believed that hemp protein is similar to soy protein, both of which are sources of high-quality protein.
Hemp protein can be incorporated easily into different recipes, here is one that you can try at home.
Hemp Protein Waffles Recipe
What you will need:
- 250g of cooked sweet potatoes
- 1 egg
- Dash of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of hemp milk
- 3 tablespoons of hemp protein
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- In a bowl mix the sweet potatoes, whipped egg, black pepper, hemp milk, and hemp protein and mash with a fork onto a paste. This is your waffle batter
- Heat the pan and add olive oil
- Pour the batter and bake for about 5 minutes until evenly brown
- The waffles should be served hot.
4. Hemp Oil
Hemp seeds oil is made through cold pressing hemp seeds. It is a delicate oil that burns easily. Hence hemp seed oil is not ideal for frying. However it works well as a salad dressing that adds to the nutritional value of the salad.
Hemp seed oil can be drizzled on rice, salads, or dips. It can also be used to make homemade hemp pesto or hemp mayonnaise.
5. Eating Hemp Sprouts
Hemp sprouts are basically hemp seeds that have sprouted. Hemp sprouts are consumed in a similar way as hemp seeds. However, sprouts have additional benefits that include:
- More digestible because sprouting inhibits phytic acid and lowers the total fat content in hemp seeds
- Sprouting increases the amount of vitamin C in hemp seeds
- Hemp sprouts have a high amount of cannflavins which have anti-inflammatory benefits
- Hemp sprouts are high in phytoestrogens
If you are looking to invest in the emerging hemp industry the nutritional segment is one that's promising and yet unexplored. We do hope that this guide on hemp nutrition has provided you with some helpful insights into the opportunities in this niche.