A group of centenarians in a Chinese village seem to have stumbled upon a veritable fountain of youth in the form of a well-known seed. Revered for their life expectancy of 100+ years, inhabitants of Bama Yao live in one of the few longevity hotspots of the world.
Sharing similar characteristics with other long-lived people, residents of Bama Yao thrive on a nutrient-rich diet and enjoy a pristine environment. The secret to their exceptional life span, however, appears to be their high intake of hempseed.
Not surprisingly, hemp seed is a nutritional powerhouse that is rich in many disease-fighting nutrients. Contained within this small seed are a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats — including calcium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and iron, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E and D.
Brimming with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, hemp seed is one of the best foods we can eat for a sharp mind and robust cardiovascular health. Since hemp seed also provides a noteworthy level of phytol (a potent antioxidant), consuming the seed on a regular basis can help reduce the chance of developing cancer. Hemp seed also tames inflammation.
Powerful Healing Properties
Linked with a variety of age-related disorders — such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer — chronic inflammation takes a considerable toll on health. By reducing inflammatory response within the body, we can substantially reduce our risk of disease. Hemp seed is an important player in this respect.
Abundant in omega-6 fatty acid GLA, hemp seed blocks the production of pro-inflammatory molecules. What’s more, hemp seed’s GLA further reduces inflammation by eventually converting into prostaglandin, a strong anti-inflammatory compound.
Eczema — another inflammatory condition — also responds well to the healing balm of hemp seed. Affecting an estimated 17 million adults and children in the United States alone, eczema is marked by an uncomfortable rash that oftentimes becomes infected. As reported by William Gamonski:
“To test the effects of hemp seed oil on the clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis, Finnish researchers performed a randomized, controlled crossover trial wherein participants ingested either 2 tbsp of hemp seed oil or olive oil daily for eight weeks, followed by four weeks of no treatment. Participants then switched to the opposite treatment for another eight weeks. Subjects were instructed to maintain their normal diet and avoid skin creams.
“During the hemp seed oil phase, participants experienced a statistically significant decrease in skin dryness of 29.4% and skin itchiness of 39%, whereas no significant changes were seen during the olive oil phase. These positive changes in skin quality are believed to be related to the beneficial improvements in subjects’ plasma fatty acid profiles.”
Easy Ways to Add Hemp Seed to your Diet
If you would like to reap the benefits of hemp seed, but don’t know where to begin, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Blend 1 tablespoon of hempseed oil into smoothies
- Sprinkle the seed over oatmeal or yogurt
- Mix whole seeds into baked goods like homemade granola bars and cookies
- Substitute hempseed for pine nuts in your favorite pesto recipe
- After cooking, drizzle oil over pasta, grains and soups
- Use as a replacement for butter on toast
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