Hemp Seeds – A Breakthrough for Natural Protein?

Posted on 20. Jul, 2011 by in Alkaline Foods, Blog

Two thousand years ago, the Romans brought hemp to Britain. Hemp seed, a cannabis sativa, can be farmed with small amount or no fertilizer, and without any need of pesticides. It has all the amino acids and the fatty acids that the body cannot manufacture on its own (of which they are classified as ‘essential’) which are needed to sustain healthy human being. No other plant has the same amino acids in its digestible form, nor the fatty acids in a healthy ratio that meets human needs.

Hemp also has traces of calcium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Hemp seeds also contain vitamins such as A, D, and K  and A rich B vitamins. They are a gluten-free food. High in both insoluble and soluble fiber, hemp seeds are consumed to treat hemorrhoids and constipation in Asia. When topically applied, the oil is of use for peeled or laser-treated skin, acne-prone, sun damaged and stressed skin.

Hemp and Protein

Although hemp is not the only one of its kind in having all the amino acids (essential ) inside its embryonic, seed it is however exceptional in quality. What makes it exceptional is that 65% of its protein is made up of globulin edistin. That is by far the highest among any other seeds and the plant kingdom.

Globulins are one of the seven types of simple proteins. Simple proteins, when hydrolyzed,  does not breakdown to non-protein. Globulins are found in animal blood and seeds. Edistins are those which are found in plant seeds while serum globulin is found in animal blood. In other words, edistins are globulins in plant. All antibodies, enzymes, hemoglobin, many hormones, and fibrogin (the one that is converted to clotting agent) are all globular proteins. They are responsible for maintaining life.

Globulin is also part of plasma. Plasma is the liquid portion of the human blood that carries nourishment to tissues of the body. Along with the other two types of protein types, the albumin and fibrogin, they make up 80% of the solids in plasma. The plasma serves as tank of amino acids that are easily available should any tissue in any part of the body be in need.

Globulin is very abundant in the human body. In fact, it ranks as third. They perform many functions inside the plasma itself. They are also in charge for the immunity of a person, both the acquired and natural. In other words, they build ‘armies’ or antibodies against antigens (invading organisms). Globulins , specifically gamma globulin, are absolutely vital to maintain a strong immune system.

Gamma globulins are further divided into five classes called immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulines are produced to battle specific antigens that attack the cells. Immunoglobulins are the first to defend our body against infection and disease. Immunoglobulins are produced by WBC or white blood cell, specifically the B lymphocyte located in the nodes of the lymph system. Antigens usually must be sifted through the body’s lymph system prior to its entry to the bloodstream.
How Protein Works

During digestion, the proteins in food are further broken down into smaller proteins called amino acids. These amino acids are reconstructed by the body to make it into human proteins that tailors the needs. The amino acids that readily available to make specific proteins is important.

There must be enough supply of amino acids to enable the body to make globulins. So even if the body has all the amino acids to prevent deficiency of proteins, it does not necessarily mean that it has enough to build armies of immunoglobulins to fight off diseases and infection. Another extraordinary quality of hemp protein worth remembering is that it does not contain phytic acid like soy. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrients that prevents the body from fully absorbing the minerals.

Hemp and Its Essential Fatty Acids

Hempseed is approximately 30–35% edible oil. Its oil that is composed of 80% of good oil, essential fatty acids (EFAs). Essential fatty acids are so named because the body is not able to synthesize them on its own. A ratio 1: 3 of Omega-6 and Omega-3, polyunsaturated fats, is perfect for optimum health of the heart and boosting the immune system.

Omega-3. Omega 3 is credited with eyesight and brain in fetal development. It lowers cholesterol levels, stabilizes the heart’s irregular beating, and reduces pressure of the blood. It is also advantageous against blood vessel and heart disease because it can lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Omega-3 also works as blood thinners naturally. By reducing the consistency of the blood, complications such as strokes and blood clots are prevented.

Omega-3 can be transformed into leukotrienes and prostaglandin, a substance that decrease pain and inflammation. Lupus,  Raynaud’s disease,  rheumatoid arthritis, and other immune deficiency diseases is found to be improved. In clinical study results, those suffering from inflammatory diseases said to have improved their cases of tenderness, swelling, joint stiffness, and overall fatigue.

The brain, which is 60% fat, is in need of omega-3 in order to be able to function properly. Researchers have found a connection between low presence of Omega-3 in the body and mood disorders. It appears that, omega-3 help normalize problems on mental health because it strengthens the inter-neural connections in the brain.

History of Hemp

It is clear that hemp has been around for a period of time. It could even be one of the crops that was first cultivated. Hemp was used for making paper, clothes, and ropes and oil for lamps.

Galen in the second century recorded that hemp seeds were fried and were eaten with the desserts. In 1950?s, The mothers of Soho tribe of South Africa serve up the ground hemp to children when they are weaned. The dish is called meali-pap. In India Hemp is pressed to supply as table oil, and in Russia,  hemp is made into a kind of margarine or butter.

In Europe, monks were once made to eat hemp daily, whether in porridges, gruel, or soups.  The Lithuanian and Polish people prepared soup from hemp seed called semieniatka. It is for the spirits of their dead relatives who come to visit them during Christmas Eve. The Latvian and Ukrainian people made an offering similar to that on the day celebration of Three Kings. In China, farmers in the north consume hemp seed. The seed  is even listed as food for famine during  the end of the World War II. Hemp seeds were also utilized on two famine incidences in Australia during the 19th century.

Hemp in the Kitchen

For thousands of years, hemp seed was used as a source of nourishment. It can be ground, roasted, or used as flour for hemp cake and protein powder. Hemp products range from cereals to tofu, frozen waffles, to butters or spreads for crackers and bread. Sprouted hemp seeds or its fresh leaves are also used in salads. De hulled or whole, a handful of hemp seed can be blended with juice and fruit of your choice.

Hemp seed can be used to produce a nutritional non-dairy drink and hemp milk. Four cups of water and a cup of hemp seeds is a perfect blend, which is tastier when refrigerated. Baked goods can use its nutty flavor to taste. Its unrefined and cold-pressed oil is available in food stores that support good health. Because it is not a saturated oil, it should be chilled or frozen and should be used according to the expiration date. A tablespoon a day of hempseed oil can provide the nutritional requirement of EFAs in humans.

Compared to flaxseed oil, the oil from hemp does not cause a deficiency or imbalance to other EFA even when used continuously. Hempseed oil has a comparatively low smoke point and should not be used for frying. The oil can substitute olive oil in salads.

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One Response to “Hemp Seeds – A Breakthrough for Natural Protein?”

  1. avatar


    26. Jul, 2011

    A great explanation of hemp’s benefits. Thank you! Do you have any favorite brands that you’d recommend? I’ve been using Nutiva’s products for sometime now and have always appreciated their commitment to organics and sustainable agriculture.

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