Heralded as one of the next big superfoods due to its unusually high nutritional content, hemp is one ingredient you need to keep on your radar for 2017.
Already used in Australia for topical use, in skincare and as facial/body scrubs, regulators are set to approve the plant for human consumption in April this year which means hemp seeds may soon be a regular staple in the Aussie pantry as well as your beauty cupboard.
These ecofriendly crops are a natural source of B vitamins, D3 minerals and plant-based protein, making them a fantastic source of nutrition. Hemp seeds also contain a range of vitamins, minerals and polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids.
Question: What are the top superfoods for 2017?
Paul Benhaim: Hemp Predicted to be the next big superfood – hemp is a plant-based, rich source of Omegas, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and is also free from soy and diary. Hemp seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids than any other food and are the only food to contain Omega 3 and 6 in just the right amounts to meet our nutritional needs. You might have seen your favourite foodie blogger sprinkling hemp onto smoothie bowls or salads on Instagram, however strictly hemp is still not permitted for human consumption in Australia. If legalised in April this year, Australia will join a legion of other countries already chomping down on hemp, including the UK, the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. For now, you can make good use of hemp in body scrubs and facials as a powerful antioxidant for your skin.
Royal Jelly is known to be one of nature's most nutrient-rich substances. Produced by honeybees to feed their Queen Bee, royal jelly is the reason she lives 40 times longer than worker bees. Royal Jelly contains all three macronutrients; antioxidants; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; minerals; and essential amino acids. Similar to honey, royal jelly is used for a number of health reasons including; healthy bone development, immunity support and when applied topically it can help to transform dull skin into a radiant, healthy-looking complexion.
On the subject of Queen Bee, even Beyoncé has invested in a new watermelon water start up. Produced from the fruit's flesh and rind, watermelon water is set to be as popular as coconut water. High in lycopene (one of the most powerful and protective antioxidants found in plants), potassium and electrolyte minerals, watermelon water has numerous health benefits, which include regulating digestive health, reducing inflammation and improving circulation and heart health.
Ubiquinol is the active (more readily absorbed) form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a powerful antioxidant that is found naturally in the body. Its role is to assist in powering the body's overall energy levels as well as supporting the health of major organs, including the heart. If you're feeling drained, Ubiquinol supplements can actually help to support your natural energy levels to function at your prime. Speak with your healthcare practitioner first to discuss your supplement needs.
Question: What is hemp?
Paul Benhaim: Hemp or industrial hemp is a cannabis plant species called Cannabis sativa. Historically, hemp has been used as a source of fibre and oil and in some traditional medicines. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. It is NOT marijuana as hemp contains no, or sometimes very low traces of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the cannabinoid associated with the psychoactive properties of marijuana.
Hemp Foods Australia is the largest hemp food wholesaler, retailer, manufacturer and exporter in the Southern Hemisphere. Located in Bangalow on Australia's east coast, the 11,000 square tonne facility is 100% Australian Certified Organic and employs purely mechanical, low-temperature processes to seal in nutrition.
Question: How can we use hemp?
Paul Benhaim: Hemp is a highly nutritious plant and can be used as food ingredients like flour, oil and protein powder.
Internationally, it is used to make a range of foods including hemp milk, protein powders snack bars, pasta, bread, salad dressings and even ice cream.
Hemp is not yet legal for human consumption in Australia, although hemp seeds can be used in making skin products like Hemp Milk Soap. Hemp Oil is used as a treatment for various skin conditions and as a general skin moisturiser. It can promote skin softness and also help prevent breakouts.
Question: What are the eight surprising benefits of hemp seeds?
Paul Benhaim: Hemp is a rich source of Omega fatty acids with just one tablespoon of Hemp seeds containing over 7,000mg of Essential Fatty Acids.
Hemp is ideal for vegetarians and anyone with allergies to soy or dairy.
Hemp seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids than any other food.
Hemp seeds are the only food to contain Omega 3 and 6 in just the right amounts humans need.
Hemp is low in sugar, with Hemp Seeds, Oil and Protein Powder all containing less than 1g of sugar (fructose or glucose) per 100g. In other words, less than 1% and is all natural.
Hemp can lower high blood pressure. A study by the University of Seville, Spain found that hemp has an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to providing some compounds thought to lower high blood pressure.
Hemp is a great way to get high quality gluten-free protein into your diet.
Hemp can do wonders for your skin, including softening the skin, preventing breakouts and resisting signs of aging.
Question: Can you share with us the nutritional benefits of hemp?
Paul Benhaim: Hemp seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids than any other food and is the only food to contain Omega 3 and 6 in just the right ratio human's need. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) from hemp oil are important for energy production, healthy skin, mental health and immune function. Just one tablespoon of Hemp seeds contains over 7,000mg of EFAs.
Hemp is also a great way to get high quality gluten-free Protein into your diet. It has a complete Amino Acid Profile and is the only plant to make protein from Edestin, a highly digestible and optimum form of protein.
Hemp is naturally low in Carbohydrates, contains 15 times as much fat-fighting Conjugated Linoleic Acid as fish oil and is a great source of cholesterol-fighting Phytosterols. It also contains Antioxidants, B Vitamins including Folate, Minerals including Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc and is the only known plant food source of Vitamin D3.
Question: Can you share a recipe using hemp seeds?
Paul Benhaim: Hemp Magic Smoothie
50g Organic Hulled Hemp Seeds
50g soaked and pitted Dates
1 cup Rejuvelac
Blend all except hemp, strain and serve mixed with the hemp seeds.
Question: How is hemp currently used for topical use?
Paul Benhaim: Hemp can be made into Hemp Milk Soap. Additionally, Hemp Oil is used as a treatment for various skin conditions and as a general skin moisturiser. Hemp Seed Oil contains more essential fatty acids than any other oil and contains them in the ideal balance for use in the human body. Regularly nourishing the skin with Hemp Seed oil naturally softens the skin.
Furthermore, Hemp Seed Oil provides the raw materials that much of the Endocannabinoid System is actually made of. This combination of features provide the skin with protection and balance to naturally resist the signs of aging.
Question: Why is hemp a popular skincare ingredient?
Paul Benhaim: Hemp Seed oil is a great for skincare as it is a good source of Vitamin E and one of the few known sources of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), a natural anti-inflammatory.
Hemp oils are the perfect moisturisers for all skin types. They're non-greasy, penetrating the skin deeply to carry concentrated amounts of essential nutrients right into the skin. Hemp oils not only prevent the skin from drying out, but they also help to prevent excessive oiliness. You can make good use of hemp in body scrubs and facials as a powerful antioxidant for your skin.
Question: What is next for hemp?
Paul Benhaim: Hemp has an exciting future in Australia. Healthy hemp foods are looking likely to be legal for human consumption in April 2017, with the legislation going to Ministers when the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting is scheduled to take place.
In March 2017, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) prepared and assessed a proposal to develop a food regulatory measure to permit the sale of food derived from the seeds of low-THC varieties of Cannabis sativa.
If the passed by the COAG, the changes will allow Australians to reap the nutritional, financial and environmental benefits of hemp foods.
The international market for hemp foods is currently estimated at $1 billion annually, and if passed the demand for hemp foods is expected to quadruple, provoked by the vast versatility of the plant.
In addition to all the beauty and health benefits there are also benefits to Australia's farming industry. Hemp farmers are excited about the legalisation of the crop as a food and its separation from marijuana – which will help to create a more sustainable farming in Australia in addition to added job opportunities for Australia's farming industry.
Interview by Brooke Hunter