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Hemp Seed Oil & Essential Fatty Acids

October 20, 2020

Hemp Seed Oil & Essential Fatty Acids

 

Time for a quick nutrition lesson to help you understand why you should consider including more hemp seed oil in your diet!

Our bodies can create many of the fats we need to survive all on their own, but essential fatty acids must be consumed in our diets because our bodies cannot create them. These essential fatty acids include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, nuts, and seeds. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in vegetable oils such as corn oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, as well as grain-fed meat and dairy, and are much more common in the standard American diet. While we need both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to be healthy, we generally need more help getting omega-3’s into our diet. Hemp seed oil naturally contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids! Hemp seed oil is high in an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but does not contain 2 other important omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in seafood.

So what do these fatty acids even do for us and why should we eat them, especially omega-3? Fatty acids help form the structure of cell membranes (the building blocks for our bodies!), are an energy source for the body, and play a role in maintaining functions in the cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune, and endocrine systems. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids have shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, which may have implications in preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease and help with skin conditions like eczema. Although more research is needed to better understand the health effects of omega-3 fatty acids, they are certainly an important part of a balanced and healthy diet. 

To properly use hemp seed oil, store in the refrigerator and never use it as a cooking oil. Part of what makes hemp seed oil healthy also makes it unstable and susceptible to going rancid. The easiest ways to incorporate more hempseed oil in your diet include using it in salad dressings, marinades, pesto, smoothies, sandwich spreads or hummus. Check out our recipe links and enjoy!

 

References: 

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (n.d.) Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/

National Institutes of Health (2019, October 17). Omega-3 Fatty Acids Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

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