Hooray for Hemp: Why Hemp Is The Sustainable Superfood To Watch

As of November 12, 2018, the New Zealand government amended its law to allow the sale of hemp seed as food for human consumption. Predicted to generate up to $20 million of export revenue within three to five years, this is not only a huge win for regional economies, but for foodies, too.

While it is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant, hemp’s incredibly low levels — less than 0.3 per cent — of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) means you can’t get high from consuming its seeds. However, the humble hemp seed is still creating a buzz.

Hemp seeds are a complete protein and contain all nine essential amino acids, which are needed for healthy muscles and tissue. They deliver around 11 grams of protein per two tablespoons – about the same amount as two eggs. Hemp seeds also have an ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, the essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are recommended as part of a healthy diet. In fact, polyunsaturated EFAs are used by the immune system and are part of nourishing healthy joints. They also provide fuel for the skin's own healing and self maintenance, part of that beautiful glow we all want. These small but mighty seeds also contain high levels of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which are important for hormonal balance, particularly at that time of the month. To top it all off, they're a great source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron and zinc. Phew.

Boasting a mild, nutty flavour, hemp is a versatile and flavoursome addition to any meal. Hemp seeds add a tasty crunch to yoghurt, salads or cereal, while hemp oil is perfect for baking or smoothies, or to drizzle over roast vegetables, pasta, eggs or salads. Its low smoke point means it can't be used for frying so is best saved for after the dish is cooked. Hemp protein powder is an ideal vegan alternative to whey and soy protein.

I spend a lot of time cooking for hungry boys, so I appreciate that there are a number of 'HealthPost approved' ways to get healthful hemp into the family diet, Je t'aime explains.

  • Capsules are convenient, but you'll need to take quite a few per day. Both New Hemisphere Hempseed Oil Capsules, and Radiance Hemp Seed Oil Capsules, are extra virgin and cold pressed.
  • I love hemp seed oil; it's extremely versatile and easy to get it into my children's meals. As skin care oil, it is super nourishing when applied directly to parched skin or added to bath water. Try Thompson's Hemp Seed Oil, or New Hemisphere Hemp Seed Oil, – the easy-pour spout makes drizzling it a mess-free task.
  • Radiance Hemp Protein Powder, is hemp seed in a raw, unflavoured, finely milled form. Three tablespoons added to smoothies, breakfast bowls and baking gives you 8.8g hemp protein. I found the texture to be slightly gritty, so I'd reserve it for baking only.
  • Nutra Organics Hemp Protein Salted Cacao Maca, is a certified organic blend of hemp protein, sprouted and bio-fermented pea protein along with zinc, magnesium, prebiotics, probiotics and fibre. The taste is a little salty, but becomes more palatable when blended with a ripe banana.

Discover Je t’aime’s hemp picks online at HealthPost.co.nz/hemp

Supplementary to a healthy diet. Read the label and take as directed. Health Post, Collingwood

Makes 8-10 large ice pops

Prep time: 5 minutes
Set time: Overnight

3 ripe bananas
1 can full fat coconut cream
6 Tbsp Nutra Organics Hemp Protein Salted Cacao Maca
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 pinch of sea salt flakes

100g good quality dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp BioBalance Bee Pollen granules
1 pinch of sea salt flakes

1. Add all ice pop ingredients to a high-speed blender and process until smooth.

2. Pour into your favourite ice block moulds and place in the freezer overnight or until set.

3. For the topping, drizzle melted chocolate and sprinkle bee pollen and sea salt over the ice pops just before serving. The ice pops can be decorated and stored in the freezer until ready to eat.

Recipe by Lena Fischer, nutritionist at HealthPost.

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