Hemp 101

Hemp Seeds 101

Cold-pressed hemp seeds produce what the 1993 book Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill described as “nature’s most perfectly balanced oil,” delivering generous amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids like alpha-linolenic (omega-3) and gamma-linolenic (omega-6). For decades, hemp seed oil has been a major star in both the healthy fats movement and luxury beauty routines. 

When it comes to promoting healthier, fresher-looking skin, the seed oil is king. A 2014 study concluded that hemp seed oil is an “excellent choice for nourishing the skin and protecting it from inflammation, oxidation and other causes of aging,” highlighting its potential as a treatment for skin issues like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, varicose eczema, inflammatory skin conditions and acne. While many moisturizers clog the pores, hemp oil does not, and other skin-related studies suggest it can help increase moisture content, skin thickness, and collagen and elastic fibers; decrease dryness, redness, itchiness and irritation; and repair the outer layer of the skin. Epitomizing its immense value, eating hemp seeds might even promote healthier skin, per studies. In 2010, Beijing-based researchers summarized these benefits as the “anti-aging effect of hemp seed oil.” 

In its seed form, hemp can produce vegan-friendly milk, oil, grains, breads and other food products that are naturally rich in essential fatty acids, soluble and insoluble fiber, antioxidants, vitamins (A, B, C, D and E, among others) and minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. By weight, hemp seeds provide about as much protein as beef and lamb. 

Studies suggest they may help with symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), rheumatism, digestive issues and inflammation, and, per a 2014 study, “may have favorable nutritional implications and beneficial physiological effects on the prevention of coronary heart disease and cancer.” Food Chemistry published a study in 2018 that suggests seed oil can help protect the brain, while a 2002 study in the same journal suggested it had potential as a broad spectrum UV protectant sunscreen. In 2020, the Journal of Dietary Supplements published a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study that said participants consuming hemp oil “exhibited improvements in HDL cholesterol, tended to support psychometric measures of perceived sleep quantity and stress response [and] perceived life pleasure.” 

To quote the century-old American Oil Chemists’ Society, “No other plants can provide such easily available food, oil, fiber, and even medicine.” However, quality matters. When it comes to hemp seed oil, the best of the best comes from cold-pressed seeds sourced from pesticide-free, non-GMO organic hemp grown in the United States. Quality seeds help maximize the beauty benefits when applied to the skin and simply taste better when eaten, with a flavor comparable to a mix of walnuts and sunflower seeds. Settle for nothing less because lower-quality seeds naturally produce lower-quality oils. 

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