Four Sigma Foods 101 – Hemp
Hemp has been used for millennia, throughout much of Asia and the Middle East. In the West, it was first produced in earnest beginning in the 18th century.
Hemp fiber, called “bast,” is used in making a variety of commodities, such as rope, paper and a variety of textiles. In fact, the word “canvas” is derived from another word for the hemp plant, “cannabis.” Hemp fabric is strong and can be used to make everything from sturdy sails to clothing that is both durable and comfortable.
Hempcrete, a concrete-like building material usually formed into blocks, is used in constructing walls and for insulation. It is a mixture of parts of the hemp plant, sand and other materials.
Hemp plastic, a composite material made from hemp fiber, has been used industrially for many years, particularly in Europe and more recently in China. Since 2002, a type of hemp plastic has been used to make composite panels for automobiles. (It was actually invented much earlier, though; in fact, Henry Ford designed and built a car with a hemp plastic body in 1940.)Credit: kooklanekookla
Remarkably, hemp plants have been used to help remove impurities from contaminated environments. In a process called photoremediation, the plants are able to absorb contaminants from soil and groundwater and concentrate them in their tissues, without damage to the plants themselves. As one example, hemp plants have been an important part of a project to reduce environmental contamination in areas surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site.
Since the days of Aladdin, hemp oil has been used as a fuel for lamps. Today, clean-burning, non-toxic biofuels such as “hempoline” can be produced from hemp seeds and stalks. Pure hemp oil can even be used directly to fuel diesel engines.
For more than 3,000 years, hemp has been one of the world’s most important and widely-used medicinal plants. In times past, cannabis extracts were commonly used in the U.S. to fight fatigue, cough, rheumatism, arthritis, asthma, delirium tremens, epilepsy and even menstrual pain. In fact, prior to the introduction of aspirin in 1899, cannabis was the most commonly-used painkiller in the U.S. and in many other countries.
Hemp is an excellent source for protein, containing some 20 different amino acids (and all 8 of the essential amino acids)
Why to Use Hemp
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omegas 3 and 6 are powerful antioxidants – protecting the skin, fighting inflammation and nourishing the brain and eyes.
Hemp is an excellent source for protein, containing some 20 different amino acids (and all 8 of the essential amino acids). The primary proteins found in hemp seeds are edestin (65%) and albumin (35%), both readily digestible. Hemp’s proteins are also hypoallergenic; allergy to hemp products is relatively rare.
Hemp seeds are a rich source of lecithin. This substance can be found in all living cells, and is the primary building block of our cell membranes (the cell’s “skin,” surrounding and protecting its delicate contents). Hemp seeds also contain abundant chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and trace minerals.
Find more information about hemp from our ebook Sovereign Superfoods.Credit: tusnelda
How to Use Hemp
Hemp seeds are a very versatile food. They can be added to soups, smoothies, salads or even sprinkled over ice cream as a tasty, nutritious topping. Hemp seeds also make a delicious addition to cereals and breads.
Where to Buy Hemp
Hemp products may be bought from most health food and natural food stores, throughout America and Western Europe. Though more rare, hemp products may also be found for sale in some parts of Asia. We at FSF have had good success with the following hemp products:
Nutiva Organic Hempseed Oil | Get your vegan Omega 3s
Amazon US (Affiliate): Nutiva Organic Hempseed Oil
Amazon US: Nutiva Organic Hempseed Oil
Nutiva Shelled Hempseed | Mix it with salad or muesli
Amazon US (Affiliate): Nutiva Shelled Hempseed
Amazon US: Nutiva Shelled Hempseed
Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Hi Fiber | Perfect product for protein shakes
Amazon US (Affiliate): Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Hi Fiber
Amazon US: Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Hi Fiber