Wouldn’t it be great if there was a fool-proof cheat sheet for being healthy (and avoiding those pesky office colds every winter)? Unfortunately, there’s no one way to keep your immune system strong through the cold season, but there is significant research into the long-term healthful benefits of maintaining a balanced diet rich in omegas, protein and essential fatty acids. Much to our delight (but not our surprise) hemp is a major source of three healthful properties. We spoke to dietician Emily Hardman to narrow down the top three health benefits of using hemp and what this means for keeping you well now and into the future.
Good for your gut
Making sure you eat a diet high in fibre can assist with building and maintaining good gut health. “Hemp provides a rich source of insoluble and soluble fibre,” says Emily, who runs her own business on the Northern Beaches in Sydney. “Insoluble fibre is the roughage that adds bulk to the contents of the digestive system and helps to keep bowel movements regular,” she explains. The soluble fibre, which hemp can assist in producing, will form a gel like solution in your gut that can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.
Reduces risk of heart disease
One effective way of reducing the risk of heart disease is to consume foods high in essential fatty acids (specifically omega 3 and 6). Emily explains that by reducing blood pressure, lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of blood clotting this will help with a healthy heart. The omegas 3 and 6 – which can be found in hemp products – also assist in lowering cholesterol levels.
Keeps skin supple
Those fantastic, previously mentioned, omegas also help to form the building blocks of healthy skin. “Eating adequate amounts of omega 3 fats has been shown to decrease the likelihood of skin dryness and breakdown,” says Emily. Whereas omega 6 fats, she adds, are important for maintaining the structure of your skin.
Protein: “The body requires protein to make enzymes that assist in digestion, the production of hormones, the immune system and to build and maintain muscle mass,” says Emily. Although the word ‘protein’ is often associated with gym-frequenting body builders, it is, in fact, a fundamental building block for everything in the body – including skin, hair, bones, organs and muscles. Hemp seeds contain around 30g of protein per 100g (which is about half of our recommended daily protein intake). To put this into context, our recommended daily intake of protein is measured by grams per kilogram of bodyweight – 0.75 g/kg for adult women and 0.84 g/kg for adult men.
Essential fatty acids:
Omega 3 and omega 6 are referred to as ‘essential’ fatty acids as they are important for maintaining good health. These omegas can be found in foods such as fish, nuts, seeds and hemp products. “Omega 3 fats have been shown to improve cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, support mental health and reduce inflammation in the body,” says Emily. “Hemp seeds are very high in omega 3 and omega 6, in the ideal balance of a 1:3 ratio.”
These include zinc, iron and magnesium – and can all be found in hemp seeds. “These nutrients are an essential for good health and play a role in the transport of oxygen around the body, maintaining the immune system and supporting muscle function,” says Emily.