Hemp Oil, Hemp Hearts and Protein
The verdict is in! I was the lucky winner of Fitness Goop’s contest for articles on healthy living, and I happily accepted my prize: a giant box of goodies from Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils. They were very generous! My package contained a giant container of hemp hearts (no joke—it’s 5lbs), a container of hemp oil, hemp Pro 50 protein powder, hemp Pro Fiber protein powder, a yoga mat and carrying case, and a reusable shopping bag. Score.
I pulled all of my loot out and sat staring at it proudly until I realized, “Wait a minute. I’ve never used hemp oil or hemp hearts before! What am I going to do with this?” (Happily, the protein powder and yoga mat will be easily incorporated into my yoga and post-yoga smoothie schedule.) Thankfully, a little pamphlet included in the package offers a few recipes for hemp hearts, and the oil has its own suggestions printed on the side.
But now the real question: why should I use hemp oil or hempseed hearts?
The Research Behind the Hemp
Let’s start with the oil. Hempseed oil is naturally rich in important nutrients, like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. It’s also naturally rich in fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties—which may benefit the musculoskeletal system and autoimmune conditions (affecting the appearance of conditions like psoriasis).
Hemp hearts are raw, shelled hemp seeds. They share much of hemp oil’s nutritional benefits. Despite centuries of use as a dietary staple in many cultures, too little research has scientifically examined the benefits of hempseed and its oils. What is known, however, is largely to hemp’s credit: a stellar fatty acid ratio profile, an excellent amount of fiber and protein, and the real deal when it comes to amino acids. When fed to hens, hempseed helps the birdies pop out eggs that are richer sources of important fatty acids for humans. Antioxidants and protective cardiovascular effects (especially in animal trials) add to the list of potential positives for keeping a bit of hempseed or its oil in the daily diet.
Making Use of Hempseed and Hemp Oil
If you end up snagging some Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils, here are a few ways to use them (I’m looking forward to trying these myself!):
- Add hempseed to oatmeal (or yogurt, or ice cream, or baked goods). My nightly dessert is a teacup of oatmeal with a tablespoon of fudge and a tablespoon of peanut butter—tonight it will have a crunchy topping!
- Sneak the seeds into dinner. This is how my husband will unknowingly get his daily helping of hempseed—in stir-fry, casseroles, or soups.
- Making Dr. Oz’s “Stamina Sustaining Trail Mix” with a few additions: peanuts and raisins. Yum.
- Substitute hemp oil for olive or vegetable oil in pesto, hummus, and salad dressings. Hint: don’t cook with this oil, since it loses some of its important nutrients with heat.
All in all, I feel like this Manitoba Harvest gift package was a terrific opportunity for me to learn about the benefits of hemp, begin to incorporate it into my diet, and spread a bit of research to others with curious minds. Happy dining!