Derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, hemp oil can be used for a number of health benefits. Although it comes from the same plant as cannabis, this oil has none of the effects of the drug. Several factors make hemp oil a worthy addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Hemp seed oil contains just 1 gram of saturated fat per tablespoon, and maintaining a diet low in saturated fat is helpful in reducing the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. Hemp oil also has a 3 to 1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, and this ratio is the perfect balance that has been proven to promote heart health along with maintaining the function of the cardiovascular system as a whole.
Fatty Acid Supplementation With Less Risk
Taking fish oil supplements can increase omega-3s in the diet to improve the immune system, brain and mood, but fish is often tainted with mercury. Hemp oil can be used as an alternative to traditional fish oil supplementation without the risk of mercury consumption. This is especially helpful to pregnant women as mercury can threaten the neurological and developmental progress of the baby.
Improved Brain Health
Hemp seed oil also includes the fatty acid DHA that is necessary for proper development of the brain. In addition to its role in brain health, it is very significant for the health of the retina of the eye in the first year of life. Women who take hemp oil during pregnancy can provide better nutrition for healthy progression of the brain and eye for their developing child.
Heightened Immune Response
The EFAs in hemp seed oil have also been shown to influence the growth of healthy intestinal flora to improve function and response of the immune system. It also contains tocopherols that act as antioxidants to fight free radicals in the body and protect its cells from damage.
A Healthier Cooking Oil
Hemp oil acts as a better alternative to fattening ingredients such as lard, dairy products like butter and soy-based ingredients such as vegetable oil. The low saturated fat content of this oil is one of the main benefits when compared to lard and butter. Hemp oil has a nutty taste that can add to the flavor of many foods, and it can be used in recipes where olive oil is needed.
Hemp oil has been used throughout history in the East, but its association with cannabis prevented it from reaching similar popularity in the West. Education about the oil has led to an increasing number of people considering it in the West when sought out for its health effects.