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The New Superfood: Dr. Oz, Dieticians Tout Hemp's High Nutritional Value

Move over Cheech and Chong, cannabis is attracting scores of new consumers, but it's hemp products they're after, not the intoxicating marijuana buds. 

With their high protein content, healthy omega-3 and -6 fats, fiber and anti-inflammatory properties, hemp seeds are a good way to build up all those essential nutrients in one shot.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Paper, fabric, rope, animal bedding and even building materials can all be made from hemp, which is specifically bred to have no drug value.

President Obama Signs Farm Bill Legalizing Industrial Hemp

Surprisingly though, shoppers are most interested in hemp-derived foods that contain high amounts of protein and vital omega-3 and -6 nutrients, which are fatty acids that help prevent memory loss and calm stress, according to Dr. Oz. 

Entrepreneur Jeremy Koosed has built a business around hemp and its nutritious seeds whose shop, Plant Kingdom Bakery and Snackery, is tucked inside a Lyndhurst, OH strip mall. Koosed doesn’t sell the usual snacks, instead, his shelves are lined with items like Coconut Currant Hemp Bar, Lemon-Salted Hemp Seeds and the popular Goo Ball.

“We sell hemp seeds and toasted seeds and crunchy seeds, the seed oil and shelled hemp seeds and hemp protein,” said Koosed on ideastream, who continued at length about hemp's various uses, such as on salads or in granola, pudding, dips and smoothies.

Once shelled, he said the seeds are quite soft and delectably nutty.

Cleveland Clinic dietician Laura Jeffers, also interviewed on the show, agreed with Koosed regarding hemp's benefits.

With their high protein content, healthy fats, fiber and anti-inflammatory properties, she says hemp seeds are a good way to build up all those essential nutrients in one shot. 

The demand for hemp products is rising as well. The U.S. imported more than $11 million worth of hemp products—mostly food—in 2011, compared to a paltry $2 million in 2000.

In addition, many contend there are important environmental benefits to hemp.

“It’s a very robust crop,” said Jonathan Page, an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia who has researched the cannabis plant, on ideastream. “It has a vitality that allows it to survive in difficult conditions with insects and fungi and other pests,” he said, adding that it grows so quickly it can outmatch many weeds and requires little herbicide or pesticide.

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD and HEALTH pages for more related news on this topic.

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