While commercially available hemp does not contain any traces of marijuana’s hallucinogenic compound THC, the ingredient itself makes for a highly nutritious superfood, rich in healthy fats, protein and minerals, says Jessica Valiant, a nutritionist at Hemp Foods Australia.
“Hemp is one of the highest sources of plant-based protein. It contains all 20 amino acids including the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot make,” says Valiant.
Hemp seeds are over 30 percent healthy fats and are very high in Omega 3, which is essential for brain function, growth, and development.
“Hemp has the perfect omega 6 to omega 3 ratio for proper assimilation in the body,” she says.
“It is high in protein and rich in fibre and essential fatty acids including the unique polyunsaturated fat gamma-linolenic acid, which is believed to be important for preventing inflammation.
Like other superfoods, hemp packs a powerful nutritional punch for its size with around 2-4 tablespoons all that is required to unlock its complete nutritional profile.
The new ingredient can be consumed as a whole seed, which can be eaten raw or toasted, or as an oil, which is obtained from crushing the seeds.
Hemp seeds can also be separated into hemp flour and hemp protein for cooking and baking.
The taste is said to be a combination of pine nuts and sesame seeds.
“It has a slightly creamy, nutty flavour,” says Valiant.
If you’re interested in integrating hemp into your diet, Valiant suggests sprinkling the seeds on salads, porridge or muesli, or using the seeds to make a non-dairy hemp milk or ice-cream.
“Hemp seeds can also be ground into a nut butter and used like you would tahini for dressings, sauces, and dips,” she says.
“Hemp oil has a low smoke point and is best used raw for salad dressing or for bread and balsamic dipping.”
If you would like to give hemp a try, Bare Naked Bowls in Manly are dishing up a Hippie Bowl made from organic acai, bananas, blueberry, hemp protein and macadamia milk topped with granola and hemp seeds.
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