Wait, you eat Hemp? Here’s the lowdown on the latest superfood

Hemp pesto

Until November last year, it was illegal to eat hemp foods in Australia. Since the legislation change, hemp has hit the mainstream market and can be found in all health food shops, supermarkets and on restaurant menus.

For those of you new to the world of hemp foods and wondering what the hype’s about, I spoke to the guys at Hemp Foods Australia, the largest Australian certified organic hemp food wholesaler, retailer, manufacturer and exporter in the southern hemisphere. Here’s a 101 to get you up-to-speed.

Banana Blueberry & Hemp Smoothie

Hemp is NOT marijuana

Both sit under the Cannabis Sativa L umbrella but there’s one major difference. Hemp doesn’t contain any amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive function of marijuana – to have any effect. If you smoked hemp, the only effect you’d feel is a headache!

Hemp is a nutritional powerhouse

The easiest way to eat hemp is the shelled hemp seeds. These tiny ‘superfood’ seeds pack the highest source of polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3 & Omega 6) of all food sources and contain the ideal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids.

These omega oils cannot be made by the body and therefore are deemed essential and must be consumed via diet – the ‘good fats’ that promote cardiovascular health and combat bad cholesterol. The seeds alone contain 30% protein and are celebrated as a complete protein. They are hypoallergenic so easily tolerable for those with food sensitivities and contain high amounts of soluble and insoluble fibre.

hemp seeds

How do you eat it?

The seeds themselves have a heap of uses and they can also be cold pressed to create an oil and ground down into a protein powder and flour.

This means hemp’s versatility as a food is second to none. Hemp seeds don’t need to be soaked so can be eaten raw, which makes them perfect for adding to any meal as an additional health benefit.

Hemp foods can be used in so many ways – bread, milk, butter, curries, on top of salads, dressings, burgers, smoothies, dips…the list is endless. For recipe ideas visit hempfoods.com.au

Hemp is good for the environment

Not only does hemp grow in a variety of climates and soil types, hemp crops detoxify the soil and remove 5 times more CO2 from the air than trees.

Hemp is highly pest, weed and drought resistant, so in comparison to corn, cotton, soy, wheat and rice, hemp uses a lot less water. With our population set to soar and the demand for protein rich foods, we must look beyond animal products to fulfil this demand and hemp is the single best candidate!

It’s easy to see why hemp is amongst the fastest growing agricultural crops in the world. To quote Thomas Jefferson – “Hemp is one of the greatest, most important substances of our nation”.

Baba Ganoush