Hemp Seed products are a protein packed, nutritious addition to your diet – but what about the oil? Let’s take a look at the differences between Hemp Seed and Hemp Oil, and why you might like to swap out your normal vegetable oil for a Hemp Seed Oil for your favourite recipes.
What is Hemp and Hemp Seed Oil?
Before we talk about Hemp Seed Oil, we need to properly introduce the humble hemp seed. Hemp Seeds sold in Aotearoa are the seeds from a Cannabis plant that doesn't contain cannabinoids like THC. Hemp Seed Oil is the cold pressed extract from the Hemp Seed itself. Taking the hemp extract oil instead of the seed conveys a number of extra benefits, which we will cover soon.
Is Hemp Oil legal in New Zealand?
Both hemp and marijuana are common names for plants in the Cannabis family. There are two main species used in Cannabis products – Indica and Sativa. Within each species you will find various concentrations of cannabinoids, including THC (the psychoactive). A plant that contains a negligible amount of THC is legally considered ‘hemp’, and anything over 0.3% is considered ‘marijuana’.
Hemp plants are grown on regulated farms in NZ (as they need to be tested for THC concentration), with most of the hemp seed related products on our shelves being grown locally. All hemp food products became legal in 2018.
Hemp is a very sustainable plant to grow, with the industry seeing huge growth in recent years. Hemp has many other uses aside from a food or supplement. Hemp fibres are used to make hemp paper, and hemp cloth, which is a very sustainable material used in the fashion and textile industry.
Are Hemp Seed products good for you?
Well, the short answer is – yes! Hemp seeds are a complete protein – this means that they are a perfect wholefood vegan protein.
Hemp seeds contain nine essential amino acids, which are needed for healthy muscles and body tissues. This is harder to attain in plant foods, which makes hemp seeds a popular plant-based choice for gym regulars. On that note, protein also supports healthy muscles and hemp seeds deliver around 5.5 grams of protein per tablespoon – about the same amount as an egg, so hemp has become increasingly popular as a vegan or vegetarian protein powder.
How to use Hemp Seed
Hemp seeds have a tasty, slightly nutty flavour, so there are many ways to incorporate them into your daily meals. Hemp seeds can be sprinkled on salads, cereals, yoghurt, or on top of stir-fry vegetables. Savoury or sweet – you’ll love the addition! Hemp hearts are the softer inner part of hulled Hempseeds, they can be used in the same way.
Hemp protein powder is an ideal vegan alternative to whey and soy protein in smoothies and can be used to add a protein and nutrient boost to breakfast bowls and baked goods such as bliss balls, cookies, and muffins.
Is Hemp Oil good for you?
The oil extracted from hemp seeds is rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are recommended as part of a healthy diet. In fact, humans need EFAs to survive, and we can’t produce it ourselves, so it must come from the foods we eat, or the supplements we take. If we compare Hemp Seed Oil vs fish oil – the Hemp Seed Oil would win hands down. Unlike fish, Hemp Seed Oil has an ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, so it’s a vegan-friendly way to get EFAs into our diet. There are so many more hemp oil benefits – let’s go into a bit more detail below.
How to use Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp Seed Oil’s nutty taste makes it a delicious ‘finishing oil’ drizzled over roast vegetables, pasta, eggs, or salad. Its low smoke point means it can’t be used for cooking, so be sure to use it after the dish has been cooked and plated.
Hemp Seed Oil capsules are super convenient as they can be taken on the go, although you’ll need to take a few per day. For the best quality, look for hemp seed oil capsules made from extra virgin and cold pressed Hemp Seed Oil.
4 health benefits of Hemp Oil
We have had a look at the difference between Hemp Seed, and Hemp Seed Oil – so what is hemp oil used for? And how can it support your health?
- Hemp oil is a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant which scavenges free radicals, along with minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron and zinc.
- The oil contains high levels of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is important for supporting hormonal balance, particularly for women during PMS.
- The essential fatty acids are used by the body to support a healthy heart, healthy brain, healthy joints, and your vision.
- Applied to the skin, or added to the bath water, Hemp Seed Oil nourishes and soothes dry skin.
As you can see there are so many good reasons to add some Hemp Seed Oil to your diet. Hemp Seed Oil is a great way to ensure you are getting enough EFA’s to support the health and function of your body.
4 Hemp Oil uses in the kitchen
With its delicious nutty flavour, Hemp Seed Oil is a great way to get essential fatty acids omega 3, 6 and 9 into your daily diet. Here are 4 easy ways to add it to your meals:
- In a smoothie – simply blend into your daily smoothie.
- Add to your favourite dip – try this delicious Cashew Dip recipe below.
- As a dipping oil – dip fresh bread and sprinkle with slightly toasted and salted sesame seeds.
- As a salad dressing – try this easy cherry tomato salad with Hemp Seed Oil dressing below.
Recipe: Creamy Cashew Dip
- ½ cup cashew nuts, soaked
- 2 TB lemon juice
- 2 TB filtered water
- 1 TB apple cider vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 TB hemp seed oil
- Add all ingredients, except hemp seed oil, to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a small dish and drizzle with hemp seed oil. Enjoy with veggies sticks or with your favourite crackers.
Recipe: Cherry Tomato Salad with Hemp Seed Oil Dressing
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cucumber, cubed
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 TB hemp seeds (optional)
- 1 TB hemp seed oil
- 1 TB apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt
- Combine all prepared salad ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar, tighten lid and shake well.
- Dress salad and enjoy.
Best Hemp Seed Oil Products
Hemp is a hardy crop, therefore it does not require the use of pesticides or other agrichemicals whilst growing. Most of the hemp products growing in New Zealand have been grown using the best that nature provides – sun, rain, healthy soil, and some good old-fashioned tending from people who love what they do.
Below we have listed some of our favourites so you can have confidence when choosing your Hemp Seed Oil product.
Waihi Bush source their hemp seeds from certified organic farmers from around the world. These are then processed and clarified in New Zealand, without using heat or chemicals, then packaged in a monitored environment to ensure that your oil is as fresh as the day it was extracted, and free from oxidation.
- Versatile bottle can be used for multiple purposes.
- Unique processing to ensure freshness from farm to shelf.
The Hemp Farm is New Zealand’s largest grower of hemp. They are proud to bring you Hemp Seed Oil in its ‘au natural’ state – which gives it a characteristic buttery, nutty flavour perfect for sprucing up your salads and other favourite dishes.
- Raw, pure, and unprocessed Hemp Seed Oil.
- Spray free and chemical residue free.
New Hemisphere were the first in New Zealand to bring us New Zealand grown hemp related food products like hemp oil, hemp protein, and hemp flour – so they know what they are doing! As well as this 100% pure Hemp Seed Oil, they have infused their oils to create a range of delectable, flavoured oils for the ultimate kitchen experience.
- Extra virgin, cold pressed, and chemical residue free.
- Check out their Garlic and Chilli flavoured Hemp Seed Oils.
BioBalance capsules contain Hemp Seed Oil that has been grown organically in New Zealand, is cold pressed, and is unrefined. If you are wanting a convenient fish oil free option to supplement your intake of essential fatty acids, then give these a try.
- Convenient capsules for on the go support.
- Sustainable and renewable source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Hemp Seed Oil for health and wellbeing
Hemp products benefit some very key areas of our health and wellbeing, including protein (in the case of hemp seeds), and essential fatty acids that are found in the extracted oil. We hope that this article has inspired you to add a little hemp into your day – let us know if you try one of these oils or recipes!