What’s set to become possibly the biggest superfood trend for 2018 has arrived in Australia — and it was a long time coming.
Hemp foods have been widely available for our friends in Canada, Germany, Japan, and the United States for years now, but it took us a little while to catch up. That all changed in November though, when Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) permitted low THC hemp seed foods for sale down under. Until then, our farmers had been able to grow the plant, but only for the use of the fibres in the clothing and textiles industries. Now, at last, the seeds can be harvested and used as food.
The news was greeted with much enthusiasm by health and fitness aficionados, due in no small part to hemp’s impressive nutrition credentials. Made up of over one third polyunsaturated fats, hemp is particularly rich in essential fatty acids: omega-3, omega-6 and Omega-9.
Another third of the seed is protein, and contains essential amino acids. This makes hemp a great source of protein, as well as being low allergenic and easy to digest, making it a good alternative option to other vegan protein sources available.
Add in the dose of fibre, making it a wholefood superstar, and you’ve got a newcomer that is very deserving of its place in pantries everywhere.
And it’s not just personal health worth considering, but environmental health too. Hemp is an exciting prospect for Aussie farmers, as it’s a fast-growing plant that doesn’t need a whole lot of water to thrive.
So if hemp is the nutritional powerhouse we know that it is, what took it so long to be given the green light? The answer is simple: misunderstanding. There was concern around whether hemp seeds would affect one’s state of mind when consumed. Hemp seeds grown for consumption however—like those contained in the Thompson’s Hemp range—are assessed to ensure they are low in the chemical THC. This means they will not affect one’s mental state or function, so low THC hemp seeds have been given the tick of approval for sale, providing Australia with a healthy and versatile food source.
If you’re new to hemp, you’ll find the whole seeds a great place to start. Their nutty flavour means they lend themselves perfectly to being used as a delicious smoothie topper, or being sprinkled over your favourite salad. And while you’re making that salad, why not try dressing it with a little hemp oil for a dose of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fats?
Most versatile of all though, is perhaps the wholefood hemp powder. Apart from being a potential substitute for brown rice or pea proteins, these powders also lend themselves for inclusion into your favourite healthy baking recipes—and of course, are suitable for vegans and vegetarians!
Thompson’s has released a top-quality range that includes all of the above—seeds, cold-pressed oil, as well as flavoured (chocolate) and unflavoured wholefood powders—which appeared on the shelves of Aussie pharmacies and health food stores last month, where you can head to trial the range. If you haven’t tried it yet, now might just be the time to stock up on what has been dubbed ‘one of the most nutritious plants in the world.’
Head to thompsonsnutrition.com.au for more information, and get ready for the hype around hemp to begin.
1. J C Callaway 2004, Hempseed as a nutritional resource: An overview, Euphytica 140(1-2):65-72, available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-004-4811-6. Accessed 19 February 2018.
2. Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2017, Australian, New Zealand and international hemp regulations (at Approval) – Application A10339: Low TCH Hemp as a Food, available at: https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/applications/documents/A1039_SD5.pdf. Accessed 19 February 2018.
3. NHMRC - Australian Government - Nutrient Reference values for Australia and NZ (including RDI) https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n35-n36-n37