Recently, we’ve written about hemp’s industrial applications, especially in comparison to cotton and synthetic materials. Today we’ll shift our attention to hemp’s nutritional attributes and value.
Many people call hemp a “superfood,” and for good reason. All hemp foods begin with hemp seeds, which are unique because they contain many of the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy diet. With a nearly perfect balance of omega 3 to omega 6, plus iron, vitamin E, and all of the essential amino acids, hemp seeds are said to be the most nutritionally complete food source in the world.
The seeds may be eaten whole or shelled, raw or toasted, plain or flavored. Seeds can also be pressed for oil, which results in seed cake that can be ground into flour and protein powder. An increasing variety of hemp food products are appearing on store shelves. From seed to oil and cake, it is becoming easy to incorporate hemp into any meal.
Hemp has the same advantages as other plant-based food sources. Its proteins are easier to digest than animal proteins and, because it requires far less carbon concentration, it’s easier on the environment. Hemp foods are an excellent source of protein for everyone, not just vegetarians and vegans!
Throughout history, hemp has proven to be a vital resource, especially for new immigrants who colonized North America. It was so essential, in fact, that colonists were required to grow hemp by law. Although hemp was mostly used for fiber production, hemp seeds were an important food source.
With all that hemp has to offer, one wonders why current laws prohibit its cultivation by American farmers. In 2001, the DEA attempted to ban the sale of all hemp products, including foods, fibers, and nutriceuticals. Many businesses removed hemp products from their stores. Fortunately, in 2004, a permanent ruling was made, blocking the DEA regulations and thwarting the unfounded prohibition policy.
Naturally, we fully support and promote the use of all hemp food products. Unfortunately, almost all raw materials to produce them are still being imported, leaving American farmers out of the equation. The 2014 Farm Bill has permitted universities and Departments of Agriculture in states with industrial hemp legislation to work with farmers in an effort to research the production and market development for industrial hemp. However, this legislation has not yet allowed for large-scale production of domestically sourced industrial hemp products of any kind.
We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it: ALL American farmers should have the right to grow and profit from industrial hemp. Don’t you agree?
Brush up on your hemp 101 and learn more about what it’s used for and why it’s currently illegal:
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