Hemp seed oil has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of numerous diseases. Let’s see what its nutritional properties are, the benefits it brings and how it can be used.
Hemp seed oil is a vegetable oil that is used not only as a seasoning oil, but also as a supplement due to its many properties. In Ayurvedic medicine it has always been used as a therapeutic remedy against ailments of the body and also of the mind, to maintain the well-being of the immune system and the nervous system, but also of the digestive system and skin.
What is hemp seed oil and how is it obtained
Hemp seed oil is an oil that is obtained from the seeds of the hemp plant, whose botanical name is Cannabis sativa, a plant native to Central Asia, which has also spread to America and Europe. It is a plant used for various uses, in fact a very resistant textile fiber is obtained, but also paper and, in the pharmaceutical field, cannabinoid substances. However, it is useful to underline that hemp oil does not contain cannabinoids as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient behind the amazing effects of cannabis, is produced only by hemp leaves and flowers, not by seeds.
The oil is obtained from the seeds of the plant and the first step is always the grinding and subsequent squeezing of the seeds, which can be done mechanically through crushers and presses, or with chemical solvents. From the pressing, a crude oil and a bran are obtained, which are then used to obtain a flour; the oil then undergoes further refining processes, until a liquid with a green color and a very pleasant and delicate flavor is obtained, with a slight hint of hazelnut.
Hemp seed oil: calories and nutritional values
Hemp oil consists of 100% fats, in the form of triglycerides, of which about 90% is represented by unsaturated fatty acids and 10% by saturated fatty acids.
It has an optimal content of omega 6 and omega 3 with a ratio of 3: 1. The composition is completed by substances such as vitamin E and phytosterols , antioxidant compounds with many properties. It is therefore a very balanced and healthy oil that is also well suited to be used as a seasoning oil. Of course, being an oil, it provides a lot of calories, equal to about 833 kcal per 100 grams.
Nutritional values per 100g of hemp oil:
- Kcal: 833
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Total fat: 93.3 g
- Saturated fatty acids: 6.67 g
- Monounsaturated fatty acids: 13.3 g
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 73.3 g
- Proteins: 0 g
- Fibers: 0 g
- Waterfall: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Hemp oil: properties and benefits
The particular composition of polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant compounds gives hemp seed oil many beneficial properties for the health of our body, so much so that it is traditionally used as an invigorating, carrier of vital energy and well-being. In short, hemp oil is good for the cardiovascular system, carries out anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, is useful for the nervous and immune systems, but not only. Let’s see the properties of edible hemp oil.
✓ Anti-inflammatory properties
The polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in hemp oil (linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid) are precursors of eicosanoids, compounds with a protective action on the cardiovascular system and with an anti-inflammatory effect. This results in a beneficial effect on the joints and muscles and also on the cardiovascular system as eicosanoids are antiplatelet and therefore antithrombotic.
✓ Lowers cholesterol levels
The phytosterols and polyunsaturated fatty acids of which hemp oil is rich, help to regulate the balance of fatty acids in the blood by lowering cholesterol levels. Fats also improve the fluidity of cell membranes and bring benefits even in the case of diabetes.
The high levels of linoleic and linolenic acid also give this oil antioxidant properties, as some in vivo studies suggest. These properties are important for all tissues of our body and to counteract the action of free radicals.
✓ Beneficial for the nervous system
Taking hemp oil could also benefit the nervous system. Since there is a suspicion of a link between the genesis of multiple sclerosis and the excessive intake of saturated fatty acids in the diet, a hemp seed oil supplement containing cell-beneficial unsaturated fatty acids may help in prevention of this pathology of the nervous system but also of other inflammatory pathologies.
Hemp oil also has antibacterial activity, in particular against Staphylococcus, a bacterium responsible for infections of the skin, but also of the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.
✓ Ally of the immune system
By improving the fluidity of biological membranes and thus acting on the well-being of cells, hemp seed oil could also have positive effects on the cells of the immune system and in general improve the functioning of all the tissues of our body. Unsaturated fatty acids also provide an excellent substrate for the development of a healthy bacterial flora, a fundamental condition for the proper functioning of the immune system.
✓ Beneficial for the digestive system
With its emollient properties, hemp seed oil facilitates intestinal transit and calms any irritation of the gastro-intestinal system, such as the symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux.
✓ Attenuates inflammation of muscles and joints
For external use, hemp oil is also recommended to soothe muscle contractures and pain from joint inflammation.
✓ Prostate health
Thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect, hemp oil could help in the case of prostatitis.
How much hemp oil to use
As a condiment, hemp seed oil should be used like any other condiment oil, i.e. in controlled quantities, because although it has many beneficial properties, it is still a fat, so don’t overdo it. The recommended daily dosage of oil is a maximum of 30 grams , which is up to 3 tablespoons, of course for the average healthy person. We could also think of alternating it with extra virgin olive oil to season our daily preparations, without exceeding the total dose of 30 grams.
How to use hemp oil in cooking
Thanks to its delicate flavor, hemp oil lends itself well to being used as a seasoning oil and the best use that can be made of it is raw, in order not to alter its nutritional properties. Furthermore, given its low smoke point, it is not recommended to cook it, let alone use it for frying, because it could release harmful compounds. We could therefore use hemp oil to dress salads and prepare vegetable pinzimonos, or to season soups and broths cold. It is excellent for preparing vegetable pâtés for bruschetta, pesto for seasoning pasta dishes, cold sauces for meat or fish main courses.
How to store hemp oil
Like all other oils, hemp oil must also be stored in airtight containers so that it does not come into contact with the air, which could oxidize it, and in the dark as it is sensitive to photo-oxidant action, therefore in containers. in dark glass or in cans. Unlike other oils, such as olive oil, which must be kept cool, hemp oil should be kept at lower temperatures, because the ambient temperature would risk denaturing its precious compounds, therefore ideal would put it back in the refrigerator. However, it is a perishable product, so in order not to lose its beneficial properties, it would be better to consume the oil within 6 months of opening.
How to use hemp oil as a supplement
Hemp seed oil, as we have seen, for its beneficial properties, as well as as a seasoning oil for our dishes, can also be used as a food supplement . For this purpose it is marketed in different formats: we can find it in drops, capsules, pearls or pills and of course in different concentrations.
As for the dosage, it is necessary to follow the quantities indicated on the label of the product purchased and after asking your doctor or a nutrition expert for advice. The supplement can be taken with meals or on an empty stomach, even in the morning. Used as it is, for example as a condiment, the recommended amount ranges from one teaspoon to three tablespoons a day. Using hemp oil as a supplement will guarantee us all the benefits of this product that we have already seen above.
Hemp oil on skin and hair: the benefits
The beneficial effects of hemp seed oil on skin and hair are well documented in the scientific literature. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing action it contributes to the well-being of the skin even in cases of atopic dermatitis, significantly improving the symptoms thanks to its composition in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition and the use of hemp oil has been suggested as a valid alternative in cases where there is no response to traditional therapies.
Due to its anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and antibacterial properties, hemp oil is in fact widely used in cosmetic products designed for both skin and hair, to which it gives shine and softness, as well as having positive effects on the management of dandruff.
To obtain benefits on the skin and hair, it is possible to take hemp seed oil by mouth as a supplement or apply it directly to the skin and hair, for example by making compresses on the scalp and along the entire length of the hair. Furthermore, many types of cosmetic products based on this oil are available on the market, with moisturizing, anti-wrinkle, emollient and antioxidant properties. To find other ideas and practical ideas on the uses of hemp oil on skin and hair, we invite you to read our in-depth study: Hemp oil on skin and hair: benefits and how to use it.
Contraindications of hemp oil
When taken in the recommended doses and as a dressing oil, hemp oil has particular side effects. Of course, it is always advisable to consult your doctor if you plan to use it regularly as a supplement and check for any interactions with drugs and therapies.
In case of pregnancy, breastfeeding or in children, special precautions must be taken. Of course, it is advisable to check for any individual allergies to the product, especially if you want to use a supplement or a cosmetic based on hemp oil, which may contain excipients. Pure hemp seed oil, for example, does not contain nickel, but nickel could be an excipient in a cosmetic or supplement.
Hemp oil: where to buy and which one to choose
You can find hemp seed oil for food use in stores that specialize in organic food or online and in herbalists. It is usually sold in dark bottles and it is advisable, in order to benefit from all its properties, to choose a cold-pressed oil from organic farming. It would be better to choose an unfiltered oil, which in this case will have a darker color and a more full-bodied consistency. It is not a cheap product, since the price ranges from around 30 to 40 USD per liter.