As a foundation for overall optimum health, hemp as a majority or independent source of daily food intake is perhaps unrivaled on Earth. Where hemp provides even a small contribution to your overall daily diet, its health benefits will be felt by anyone looking to improve or maintain their overall health and wellness. Offering a complete, easily digestible protein source for everyone from infants to the elderly and an ideally balanced combination of essential fatty acids, hemp truly is an amazing and nutritious food source.

Hemp use dates back to the Stone Age. Imprints of hemp fibers have been found in 10,000-year-old pottery shards in Asia. Clothing, shoes, ropes, paper, and, probably, wallets, were all made from these fibers. Later, in medieval Germany and Italy, hemp was a common ingredient in recipes like pies and soups.

Hemp Oil


Hemp Oil is used mainly as a supplement and has a fairly strong nutty flavor. It’s nutritionally superior to both olive and flaxseed oils and can be used in salad dressings, smoothies and other recipes but shouldn’t be heated or cooked. You’ll find it in opaque bottles, in the section of refrigerated supplements in natural foods stores. When buying, look for an organic, cold-pressed and raw variety, and always store hemp oil in dark-colored bottles in the refrigerator to maintain its chemical stability and freshness.

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Hemp Powder

hemp protein powder
Hemp Protein Powder can make a quick, high-protein meal on the go. Just add it a scoop to your favorite smoothie combination, or mix it into juice, milk, yogurt or other liquids. You’ll find hemp protein powder in the protein supplement section of natural foods stores. Unlike the whole hempseeds and oils, the protein has been isolated, so these powders are fat-free. Just two scoops add 11 grams of high-quality protein and 3 grams of fiber for 120 calories. Also try Nutiva’s Hemp Shake mixes, which boast flavors like Berry Pomegranate and Chocolate.

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Hemp Seed Butter

Hemp Seed Butter can be used like peanut butter. Spread it on crackers or bread; use it as a dip for apple slices; or replace it for any nut butter a recipe might call for. It’s a rich source of healthy fatty acids and protein, too. Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Seed Nut Butter is a great choice. Like natural peanut butter, which has no additives, you should stir it to mix the oils and store it in the refrigerator to prolong shelf life and prevent oil separation.

Hemp Seeds

Hempseeds can be eaten raw, added to smoothies, cereals and other recipes, and used in baked goods like muffins, breads and granola bars. You can find shelled/hulled hempseeds in the bulk foods section of natural foods stores, online, and sometimes packaged in the baking aisle of the supermarket. Because they contain primarily unsaturated fat, hemp seeds should be stored away from light and heat, preferably in the refrigerator.

Hemp Milk

Hemp Milk is a dairy-free alternative to milk that is widely available in natural food stores, and comes in original (plain), vanilla, and chocolate flavors. You’ll find it on the grocery shelf with other shelf-stable milk alternatives (like soy milk, rice milk, etc.).Although all flavors are nutty and delicious from a cup, in recipes, and on cereal, Living Harvest’s Chocolate Hemp Milk tastes especially smooth and decadent, and is soy, dairy and gluten free.

Hemp Is Easy On The Planet

Besides having an abundance of uses, hemp is also easy on the eco-system. It requires little to no pesticides while cotton, for example, is one of the most heavily-sprayed crops in the world. Hemp also replenishes the soil with nutrients, controls erosion, and produces oxygen. Just as growing hemp is a boon to the environment, eating it is a boon to your health.

The Nutrition Is In The Seeds

Although the leaves of the hemp plant can be eaten, the part of the plant best known for nutritional value is the seeds. These small seeds are highly nutritious, containing essential fatty acids, amino acids, and minerals. About a third of the weight of the seed is made up of oil, and most of that oil is the healthy variety: ALA (alpha-linoleic acid, a type of Omega-3 fat) and linoleic acid. These essential fatty acids (EFA’s for short) can benefit your health in many ways. Hemp seeds also contain complete, high-quality protein and all eight essential amino acids.

A continually expanding variety of other hemp food products, like granola, snack bars, protein powders, waffles, and even hemp milk, hemp tofu, and hemp butter are available these days, usually at natural foods stores and online retailers. Keep in mind that the least processed products will be the most affordable, so if you’re itching to add the healthfulness of hemp to your diet, try plain hemp seeds and create your own recipes. Here are just a few examples of what you’ll find at the grocery these days.