Portland, Maine – Paying attention to vegetable oils is an easy and delicious way to ensure optimum nutrition. As more and more clinical studies demonstrate the critical role played by Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) for enhancing and maintaining health, people across North America are finally realizing the incredible versatility of hemp oil.
“Loaded with nutritional value and benefiting from a nutty flavor, hemp oil is emerging as an essential item in the healthy gourmet’s kitchen,” states Arthur Hanks, Executive Director of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance. “It’s a bonus that it is derived from an eco-friendly crop that requires no pesticides,” notes Hanks. “We grow excellent hemp in Canada.”
“Hemp oil is a delicious gourmet oil that is nutritious and good for the planet,” says Nora Pouillon, chef and founder of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C., the first certified organic restaurant in the U.S. (www.noras.com ) To meet new demand from chefs like Nora and home gourmets, food companies in Canada and the U.S. are stepping up production. Hemp oils and hemp oil-based dressings are now showing up on more and more supermarket shelves including national chains such as Wild Oats and Whole Foods.
Nutiva (www.nutiva.com) is a leading California-based seller of certified organic hemp oil. Many Canadian companies are also selling products in the U.S; these include Hemp Oil Canada (www.hempoilcan.com), Hempola (www.hempola.com ), Living Harvest (www.livingharvest.com ), Manitoba Harvest (www.manitobaharvest.com), Mum’s Original (www.hempmanagement.com ), and Ruth’s Hemp Foods (www.ruthshempfoods.com). Farmer Direct Management (www.farmerdirect.ca) helps buyers source organic hempseed at the farmgate; Ailements Trieone and Georgian Highlands are other leading hemp oil processors and distributors.
A Nutritious Alternative to Toxin-Tainted Fish
Although consumption of fish is widely touted by medical and nutrition experts as good for the heart and overall health, in large part due to its essential fatty acids (EFA’s), more and more medical studies are raising concerns about toxic levels of mercury in fish. In the past year, several newspapers, health journals and wire services have published articles warning of the dangers of mercury in the diet.
“The good news is that there is a delicious and healthy alternative that provides essential fatty acids and other key nutrients recommended by leading medical experts - Hemp Oil,” says Charles Holmes of Living Harvest. “Hemp oil’s essential fatty acid profile is closer to fish oil than any other vegetable oil,” agrees John Roulac of Nutiva.
Why “EFAs” in Hemp and Fish Oil are Important for the Modern Diet
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are the good fats that humans need, but are not produced by the body and must be obtained through the diet. It is estimated that 90% of Americans do not consume enough EFA’s -- particularly Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids -- partly because modern diets have been depleted of EFA’s by modern food processing methods.
“Hemp oil is one of the few seed oils containing significant quantities of alpha-linolenic acid (20%), an important Omega-3 EFA,” says Mike Fata of Manitoba Harvest. “Hemp oil is also the source of a rare super Omega-3 EFA called stearidonic acid that is the “first metabolite” in the Omega-3 family and therefore easy for the body to process.”
Although omega-6 EFA’s are found in foods through the use of common vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, and safflower, many people are unable to properly digest these fats as their body's production of enzymes needed to metabolize these oils are hampered by stress, environmental toxicity or aging. Hemp can help.
“Hemp oil is a unique plant source of the rare and valuable super Omega-6 EFA called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) that is easy for the body to process and it bypasses the enzymatic blocks to allow proper Omega-6 utilization,” notes Ruth Shamai of Ruth’s Hemp Foods. “Medical professionals including the renowned Dr. Andrew Weil recommend hemp oil due to its ideal ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 EFA’s,” she adds.
In his respected book Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, nutrition expert Udo Erasmus sums it up nicely: “The best-balanced plant source of EFA’s is hemp seed oil.”
Research has shown that regular consumption of EFAs is beneficial for a number of health conditions including cardiovascular problems, digestive challenges, arthritis, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. EFAs also provide benefits for people with a poorly functioning immune system.
NUTRITION IS NICE - BUT FLAVOR SELLS
“A strong nutritional profile is nice, but American consumers always care about flavor,” says Shaun Crew of Hemp Oil Canada. Crew says that many people consider hemp oil’s delicate “nutty” flavor to be a better tasting alternative to other vegetable oils, especially Omega-rich alternatives such as primrose, borage and fish oils that are sold mainly as supplements. Hemp’s nut-like taste encourages its use in many diets, recipes and products. It also benefits from an attractive emerald green color.
Greg Herriot of Hempola agrees, “Hemp oil is a great addition to salad dressings, pasta, veggies, sauces, dips and smoothies. For those that like a dressing pre-blended for them, Hempola offers a line of ready-to-eat salad dressings that feature hemp oil.”
While hemp oils are getting noticed, many other hemp food products such as whole seeds, dehulled seed, cereals, breads, pastas, bars, butters, nondairy ice cream and protein powders are also now on the market. Not only is hemp a source of healthy oil, it is also an excellent source of fibre, and readily digestible protein.
“The diversity of hemp food products is astonishing, and new products will continue to be introduced into the market over the next year,” says Martine Carlina of Hemp Management Group, a company that markets its Mum’s Original brand and sources hemp oil for other companies.
To help the emerging industry continue to grow and expand into new markets, the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) was formed earlier this year. The CHTA is composed of farmers, processors, marketers, and researchers in Canada and the United States. The Canadian government recognizes the economic value and potential of the hemp industry; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is one of the primary financial supporters of the CHTA. For more information about hemp foods and the CHTA please contact Arthur Hanks at (306) 757-HEMP.
3 HEALTHY HEMP OIL RECIPES
Creamy Organic Hemp Oil Salad Dressings
2 tablespoons hemp oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini (raw sesame butter)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon miso
1/8 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
dash of celtic sea salt
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a glass jar, stir and serve on salads, vegetables and grains. Store any remaining dressing in the refrigerator. Also consider adding cayenne pepper, lemon juice and/or coconut oil.
Hemp / Almond Pesto
1/2 cup toasted shelled hempseeds
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1 bunch basil leaves
3 tablespoons hemp oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Crush seeds, almonds, basil, hemp oil, and olive oil to a paste with a pestle in a mortar. Mix in the Parmesan. Heat pesto in a pot, being careful not to over-cook it. Remove from stove, mix in hemp oil, and then serve this tasty sauce over your favorite pasta. Consider adding finely cut tomato cubes to add a refreshing taste and color.
Hemp Breakfast Smoothie
350 ml fruit juice (apple or orange works well)
2 tablespoons certified organic hempseed oil
Directions: Place in blender until adequately mixed; very flexible: add spirulina, other fruits, juices, herbs and vegetables. For those wanting to gain weight, substitute hemp oil with hemp rotein powder: both are an incredibly nutritious and easy way to start your day.