(NaturalHealth365) Many foods are touted as “super foods,” but hemp seeds have the credentials to back up that claim. In fact, no other plant-based food has such a perfect ratio of all the essential amino (and fatty) acids in such an easily digestible form for human consumption as the hemp seed.
Their notoriety as a super food comes primarily from the significant amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and gamma linolenic acid (GLA) they contain. These hemp seed benefits help to make hemp seeds a natural combatant for chronic inflammation, marking them as an important defense mechanism against chronic disease and the effects of premature aging.
The toll of chronic inflammation on vitality and immune function
When most people think of inflammation, they typically think of physical injury that causes localized swelling, perhaps to an ankle or knee. This is a type of acute inflammation. Your body has a brief, inflammatory response to an injury or illness that usually ends on its own.
Other examples include minor cuts and abrasions, sunburn, fractures and viral or bacterial infection. But chronic inflammation is a different ballgame and evidence is mounting that it is a major factor in loss of youthful vitality and well-being, as well as the development of a whole host of degenerative diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Chronic inflammation occurs when your body’s ability to halt the inflammatory response is weakened. The body attacks healthy tissue in a misdirected immune response. The result can be damage to the intestinal lining of the gut or arterial damage or rheumatoid arthritis.
What causes chronic cellular inflammation?
The imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids in relationship to the lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in today’s Western-culture diets is thought to be one of the primary driving forces behind low-grade, chronic inflammation. Excessive inflammation can be escalated by other lifestyle factors in addition to diet, including lack of adequate sleep, stress, alcohol intake, a toxic living environment, substance abuse and medication.
What can be done to reduce inflammation – naturally?
Correcting this imbalance by diligently reducing the amount of foods packing high volumes of omega-6 fatty acids – such as vegetable oils – is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation. In fact, research now suggests that increasing your intake of hemp seeds can be an even more effective strategy in reducing chronic inflammation than relying on drug therapies.
Hemp seed benefits come from their significant amounts of omega-6 fatty acid GLA, known for its anti-inflammatory properties. GLA is metabolized into dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) by the body, which then intervenes with the ability of arachidonic acid to produce pro-inflammatory molecules.
Furthermore, it is known that DGLA is converted to the anti-inflammatory compounds prostaglandin, adding to its ability to control chronic inflammation and its effects. From a scientific standpoint, as reported in the Journal of Clinical Immunology, it is believed that DGLA likely reduces the output of interleukin-1 from certain white blood cells, limiting inflammation.
What is the best way to add hemp seeds to my diet?
Hemp seeds can be easily added to your diet in natural, unshelled form, and the typical suggested serving size is 1.5 to 3 tablespoons. They are easily incorporated into a diet on a regular basis by sprinkling them onto yogurt, hot cereal or salads; mixing them into shakes or smoothies; using them in baked goods such as muffins or granola bars; or just eating them in raw form as a snack.
Just in case you’re wondering, the hemp seed is high in protein and tends to have a delicious (delicate) taste – similar to sunflower seeds. Most people I know LOVE a well-made basil pesto. So, today, I’d like to offer this simple, gluten-free, low calorie, low carb, no sugar, soy free, protein rich recipe. Here’s what you need:
- 4 cup fresh basil, washed
- 1/2 cup of organic hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (if possible for extra flavor)
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh garlic
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt and pepper to taste
Simply blend all the ingredients together – until it becomes a smooth texture – and serve with your favorite foods. Enjoy!