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Hempseed oil has healthy potential: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – With an ideal ratio of omega-6 and -3 fatty acids and some plant chemicals thought to lower high blood pressure, hempseed oil has potential as part of a heart-healthy diet, according to Spanish researchers.

They analyzed the makeup of oil extracted from Cannabis sativa, often called industrial hemp, which is a cousin of marijuana but with very low levels of the chemical in pot that provides a high.

“This is an interesting study that gives new information on the bioactive compounds found in hempseed that may potentially lower blood cholesterol levels and have an anti-atherogenic action,” Grant Pierce told Reuters Health in an email.

Pierce is executive director of research at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was not involved in the new study.

“C. sativa L., an annual herbaceous plant, is known by its long, thin flowers and spiky leaves. The plant is considered to be native of western and central Asia and has also been cultivated commercially in Europe and in parts of China, Japan, Canada, and the United States,” write Maria Angeles Fernández-Arche, a pharmacology researcher at the University of Seville, and her colleagues.

In addition to a 3,000-year track record in the manufacture of cloth and paper, hemp has long history as a food and folk medicine, they point out in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Hempseed is known to have high levels of vitamins A, C and E, minerals and fiber, the researchers say. But they wanted to analyze hempseed oil to better understand its potential for modern food and medicine.

Hempseed oil has a very interesting polyunsaturated fatty acid composition, Fernández-Arche told Reuters Health in an email, because it has an optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of about 3 to 1.

Her main area of research is natural products and the bioactive compounds they contain.

The researchers examined the fatty acid profile of hempseed oil and found that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) made up about 75 percent of the oil. PUFAs include omega-6 and omega-3, the fatty acids found in some meats as well as flax and fish oils.

The high amounts of one omega-3 fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid, “may have favorable nutritional implications and beneficial physiological effects on the prevention of coronary heart disease and cancer,” the authors write.

Saturated fats and monounsaturated fatty acids each amounted to about 12 percent of the oil.

A high ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fats has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis, so the proportions seen in hemp oil have the potential to help prevent heart disease, the researchers write.

They also detected plant chemicals, such as beta-sitosterol and campesterol, which have been linked to lower heart attack risk, and reduced LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). Sterols may also lower inflammation and slow the progression of atherosclerosis, the team notes.

This study doesn’t prove that hempseed oil has any clinical benefits yet – that will take additional research with human subjects, they point out.

Fernández-Arche said, however, that her team is studying “the effect of the intake of this oil and this effect on the stress induced in animals, and the preliminary results are very promising.”

Pierce, who has studied the health effects of both flax and hemp seeds, says of hemp, “It has several potentially important bioactive compounds that could have beneficial cardiovascular effects. It is a very heart healthy seed and oil.”

He noted that hempseed oil contains less oleic acid than other heart-healthy oils, such as olive or canola oil, but added that studies on animals indicate hempseed might reduce the clotting of blood platelets that lead to heart attacks.

Pierce thinks flaxseed oil has more health benefits than hempseed oil. “In our animal experiments, flaxseed has shown more potent cardiovascular effects than hempseed,” he said.

“We have also shown significant blood pressure lowering effects of flaxseed in human trials,” he noted. (See Reuters Health article of November 1, 2013, here: reut.rs/1ofMCnA).

But to be fair, he added, hempseed has not had similar trials conducted in humans.

With an ideal ratio of omega-6 and -3 fatty acids and some plant chemicals thought to lower high blood pressure, hempseed oil has potential as part of a heart-healthy diet, according to Spanish researchers.

Lady Jane Gourmet Seed Co

8 Benefits of Eating Hemp (Infographic)

In today’s world of health-conscious eating, everyone’s looking for what to eat! Flax seeds, chia, drinking vinegar’s, and the different superfoods. Those who have the slightest idea of healthful eating know the basics: avocado, almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, etc., but many people often overlook one of the best. Hemp!

Hemp often gets a bad rap because people associate it with marijuana. However, hemp is not marijuana. It won’t “get you high.” You won’t fail a drug test from eating it. You will however, reap the benefits of eating one of the healthiest foods in the world. Hemp foods provide some of the best nutrition of any superfood.

Check out some of the awesome health benefits.

1. Protein Packed
Hemp, gram for gram is one of the highest protein packed foods. With just over 31 grams of protein per 100 grams, hemp stands up to other foods that are high in protein. Hemp based plant protein has a rating of 40, meaning that not only is the protein in hemp abundant in a high amount but it’s high in quality as well.

2. Great Source of Fatty Acids
Hemp is a great source of fatty acids. The human body needs proper fats for healthful body function. Hemp seeds contain about 80% of polyunsaturated fatty acids (the good stuff) and only about 10% of saturated fatty acids (the bad stuff). Additionally, hemp seeds are a great source of Omega 3, Omega 6, and GLA’s.

3. Gluten Free
Gluten allergies are becoming more of the norm. That being said, there’s been an increase in the need for gluten-free options. Hemp seeds and hemp based products are completely free of gluten. From farm to table, Lady Jane takes special care to maintain its gluten free integrity. All products are prepared, blended and packaged in a certified gluten free facility. This includes our hemp flour and our hemp protein, Hempagizer.

4. Vegetarian and Vegan

Those who choose vegetarian or vegan lifestyle diets should be extremely happy to include hemp into their daily eating. Hemp is a plant based protein and has more digestible protein than meat, whole eggs, fish, cheese, human milk, cow’s milk or any other source of high protein foods.

5. High In: magnesium, fiber, and vitamin E

Hemp is a tremendous source of magnesium, vitamin E, and fiber. Just three tablespoons of Lady Jane’s hemp hearts provide 50% of your daily value of magnesium and 77% of vitamin E. Also, eating just a few handfuls of whole hemp seeds will allow you to reach the recommended daily amount of fiber.

6. Low In: saturated fat, cholesterol carbohydrates

Hemp seeds and other hemp-based foods are low in saturated fats. They only contain about 10% of the “bad fats.” The complex carbohydrates in the whole hemp seed carry numerous healthful benefits, including helping to lower blood sugar. Additionally, hemp seeds can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol which in turn will help improve your heart health.

7. Bodily functions: great for brain activity, immune function, and weight loss

As little as three tablespoons of hemp seeds per day can help improve your health. It has been documented that hemp improves brain activity, is great for digestive health and helps with weight loss.

8. Beneficial for Beauty

Hemp based food products are great for the health of your hair, nails, and skin. Hemp foods can even help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema.

How to Eat Hemp

In addition to being extremely healthy, hemp seeds and other hemp food products are extremely versatile. Lady Jane Gourmet Seed Co. offers a wide variety of products that can be used in a variety of different ways. Munch on Whole Toasted Hemp Seed for a super nutritious crunchy snack. Lady Jane’s Hemp Hearts make for a delicious and nutritious snack all on their own, or are a great addition to any smoothie mix; adding three (3) tablespoons to your smoothie will provide you with 10g of protein. GalaxSeed Energy Bar Mix is a simple and easy raw bar to make. Just add your favorite sweetener and mix; you’ll have perfect paleo bars that are great for breakfast or a snack. Hempelicious HoneyNut Bar is one of our best sellers. Simply add peanut butter and honey you have 8g of protein per serving; kids love them! And of course, who doesn’t love a nice big stack of pancakes? Our vegan pancake mix makes for an awesome protein packed vegan breakfast.

In today’s world of health-conscious eating, everyone's looking for what to eat! Flax seeds, chia, drinking vinegar's, and the different superfoods. Those who have the slightest idea of healthful eating know the basics: avocado, almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, etc., but many people often overlook one of the best. Hem