The big immunity benefits of eating hemp

Hemp vs. hemp seed oil: two immunity-boosting powerhouses to add to your diet

Hemp-based nutrition is on the rise, and it’s no wonder why. A couple of spoonful's of the ECS Botanics’ delicious, nutty hemp seeds will pack a serious punch when it comes to getting in your essential nutrients. They’re easy to cook with, incredibly versatile and absolutely chockablock full of essential amino acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid).

Not content to just be sprinkled on your smoothie, hemp seeds can also be pressed to make hemp seed oil — a delicate, tasty oil that contains more essential fatty acids than any nut or seed oil. There are huge health benefits to incorporating hemp hearts, hemp protein and hemp seed oil into your daily diet. In this post, we’re going to explore the differences between each nutrition source, how hemp may improve immunity, and ways to consume this delicious and healthful food.

Let’s take a look.

ECS Botanics Extra Virgin Hemp Seed Oil (250ml) bottle, available online or in Coles, Woolworths and specialists health stores, Australia Wide

Boosting immunity with hemp

As you’re likely aware, the immune system defends against disease and infections, and its primary function is to launch an immune response against viruses, bacteria and parasites. While there are plenty of things we can do to ‘boost’ our immunity (think: eating fruits and vegetables, getting a good night’s sleep, exercising and avoiding sugar), many people are also looking into alternative supplements to further improve their immune function.

 Essential fatty acids are one of the most important sets of nutrients for a strong immune system. The essential fatty acids important in human physiology are omega-3 and omega-6, both necessary for the body to function correctly. These fatty acids create compounds known as eicosanoids, which are hormones that control the immune system, among other things.

 The human body cannot create essential fatty acids, and therefore must get them directly from food sources. Hemp seeds provide the optimum ideal ratio (3:1) of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They contain nearly 85% of the essential fatty acids that are crucial for brain and heart health. Currently, there is no other plant that has such a high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids as hemp.

Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is one of the only five known sources of gamma-linolenic acid (or GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid. For centuries, people have been using it to treat swelling and decrease inflammation, particularly for symptoms of arthritis and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Hemp seed oil also contains 15 times more conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA) than fish oil. CLA, another omega-6 fatty acid, is an immunity-boosting powerhouse, with anti-inflammatory properties that help the immune system fight infections and function in the most optimal way.

Did we mention hemp seeds are also a complete source of protein? Not only that, but hemp seeds also contain an array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and other antioxidants. Antioxidants are a fantastic immunity booster, helping your body fight off invading bacteria and viruses, while also widening blood vessels to prevent blood from clotting.

Hemp is the only known plant food source that contains the bone-building and mood-boosting ‘sunshine’ vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the immune system, controlling infection and reducing inflammation. There are many people who rely on getting their vitamin D from sunlight, and so can be deprived of this essential vitamin when sunlight is low. It’s especially important to have a regular dose of vitamin D, especially throughout the winter when colds and flu are on the rise.

Boost your immunity with hemp

How to consume hemp hearts, protein and hemp seed oil

As a complete protein, hemp is the perfect alternative to meat and fish, and an ideal protein for vegans. It contains more protein than chia seeds, quinoa and pea protein, while also being highly digestible, making it the perfect protein source for athletes.

Hemp hearts are hulled hemp seeds and can be sprinkled on top of smoothies and soups, mixed into salads and yogurt or incorporated into your baking. If you’re gluten intolerant or coeliac, you can substitute hemp hearts for breadcrumbs in cooking. Their delicious nutty flavour also makes them a perfect substitute for nuts, especially when they are toasted to bring out their flavour.

Hemp protein, on the other hand, is a smooth, naturally sweet protein powder that can be used in place of other protein powders in smoothies, shakes, pancakes and baked goods.

Hemp seed oil is very delicate — its omega fatty acids actually break down during the cooking process, which strips the oil of its nutritional benefits. For this reason, we recommend using hemp seed oil to make salad dressing and pestos, drizzle over your meals or use in place of olive oil on your popcorn. Hemp seed oil can also be used as a dietary supplement, by taking tablets or a tablespoon of oil at night. It’s a great plant-based alternative for people who want a more sustainable oil without the heavy metals or ecological impact of fish oil.

Buying hemp hearts, hemp protein and hemp seed oil

Our hemp food products can be purchased online, in Woolworths and Coles, and in a range of health food stores around Australia. Our hemp products are grown in Australia, with the majority grown in Tasmania, which has the perfect environment for our crops.  We partner with the best-in-class manufacturers and are able to deliver high quality, healthy products to our customers all around the country.

At ECS Botanics, our commitment is to providing excellent products, without compromise. We are passionate about the hemp industry and the health and wellbeing benefits that hemp food can deliver. For hemp food products packed with nutritional benefits, browse the ECS range online. To find out more about how to integrate hemp into your diet, make sure you check out our recipes.

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