Hemp – Nutrition Rediscovered

Thursday, Jul 21, 2016

One of the most ancient of agricultural crops, hemp’s contribution to the food supply has a long history across many cultures. Its seeds and oil were used as food by the Chinese as early as 8,000 BC. The Buddha is purported to have been sustained by hemp seeds during his fast of enlightenment. During the late medieval era, hemp had begun to be used in German and Italian cooked dishes like soups and as a filling in pies and tortes.

Hemp has waxed and waned in the culinary world due to its erroneous association with marijuana’s psychoactive properties—which are not characteristic of hemp. In fact, hemp is highly nutritious. As awareness and appreciation of its attributes grow, so does demand, and hemp’s availability in our diets is on the rise.

Hemp seed—a little nutritional marvel—is not actually a true seed. Rather, it’s an achene, which is a simple, dry fruit with a hard shell (such as a sunflower seed). Whole hemp seed contains approximately 20-25% protein, 25-35% fat as oil, 20-30% carbohydrates and 10-15% insoluble fiber. It is also a source of numerous vitamins and minerals.