Hemp seeds are the rock stars of health food

Nutrition’s top seed

by Paula Goodyer

Hemp seedsNutritional stars … dietitians seeking to overturn ban on hemp seeds.

This time next year a jar of hemp seed could be a respectable kitchen staple, nudging the rolled oats in your pantry cupboard – and giving chia and flax seeds some stiff competition in the health food stakes.
Although hemp seed in muesli bars, breakfast cereal – or even ice cream – wouldn’t raise eyebrows in the US, Canada or Europe, its use as a food is currently banned in Australia. But this could change in the next few months if a new proposal to overturn the ban is approved by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) – a move that’s backed by the Dietitians’ Association of Australia.
“As good foods go hemp seed is a rock star. It has a lot to offer and it would be a shame not to have it here,” says Accredited Practising Dietitian Camey Demmitt who was surprised to find no hemp seed on the menu when she moved to Australia from the US four years ago. A major benefit of hemp is that it’s a way of getting extra omega-3 fatty acids back into diets dominated by omega-6 fats, says Demmitt, a member of the DAA.

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“One of the problems with a typical western diet is that it includes an over abundance of processed foods which tend to be high in omega 6 fats – but not enough omega-3 fats from foods like oily fish, walnuts and flax seed. But hemp seed provides another good source of omega-3 fats that’s very easy to add to the diet – and it’s also a sustainable plant source at a time when there are concerns about over-fishing,” she points out.
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