The 9 Benefits of Adding Hemp to your Diet - Women's Health

The 9 Benefits of Adding Hemp to your Diet

And how to do it.

by | Jun 30, 2021

Energising, brain fuelling hemp chia almond bars via The Brown Paper Bag.

There are some misconceptions about hemp. Yes, it does come from the same family of plants as marijuana. But no, it won’t get you high. Hemp is the newest kid to come crashing onto the superfood scene and for good reason – it can deliver huge health benefits when added to your diet. 

Hemp is a fantastic source of plant-based protein and hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids, meaning it’s well-absorbed by our bodies. They are also a fantastic source of iron, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, B-vitamins and zinc, as well as high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. 

To reap the benefits, I recommend adding a tablespoon of hemp seeds daily to a smoothie, porridge or salad. Or for extra ease, look for products with hemp already included such as hemp-based protein powder or simple nourishing baking mixes!

Check out these ten benefits of adding hemp to your diet:

  1. Improve heart health

There are only a few plants, seeds, or nuts that can compete with the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in hemp, which benefit the heart by reducing cardiovascular problems. Fatty acids may assist in enhancing blood flow and arterial function while lowering heart rate and keeping it stable.

  1. Boost your brain

The brain is comprised predominantly of DHA, one of two main omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping DHA levels in the brain high can help improve everything from memory, to creativity and even language. Adults with high DHA intake and levels could potentially prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. 

  1. Aid digestion

A 30g serving of hemp seeds contains 1.2g of fibre which is critical in maintaining a healthy digestive system. It features both insoluble and soluble fibres. Insoluble fibres can help prevent issues such as constipation and stomach aches and healthy digestion can also reduce the chance of developing health conditions such as diabetes and colon cancer. Just be sure to drink plenty of water.

Soluble fibres benefit the good bacteria in our gut which can help following a poor diet or taking antibiotics as well as balancing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 

  1. Stay full for longer

Hemp seeds contain a small amount of complex carbohydrates, which releases glucose slowly into the bloodstream and prevents that dreaded energy spike and subsequent crash. As a source of protein, hemp is also a great ingredient to introduce for healthy weight management. A portion of hemp protein powder in smoothies can help control your appetite – such an easy addition to what is already going into your blend!

  1. Keep skin clear and supple

With the fatty acids found in hemp, alongside anti-oxidants, vitamins A & E, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorous, adding hemp to your diet is a real treat for your skin. Hemp can help to reduce dryness and boost production of elastin and collagen for wonderfully supple skin. 

The anti-inflammatory gamma-linolenic acid can also be found in hemp and is thought to improve acne. Not only do the anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the red swollen spots, but GLA also helps to balance hormones so if your breakouts are hormone-related you might see an improvement on both counts.

  1. Get a better night’s sleep

Hemp is high in magnesium which naturally calms the body and relaxes muscles, promoting good quality sleep. The magnesium and B-vitamins in hemp can also counter the effects of stress, meaning you’ll be able to switch your mind off come bedtime. 

  1. Boost iron levels

Low iron is very common and can cause lethargy, chest pain and dizziness. Eating hemp, with its high iron content is a great way to naturally top up your iron intake. 

  1. A rich source of protein

Our bodies use protein as building blocks for growth, development and repair so it’s important to make sure your diet provides enough to keep up with repairing all your blood, bones, cartilage and muscles. Unlike most plant-based proteins, hemp seeds contain all 9 essential amino acids (amino acids our body cannot synthesis and must acquire from dietary sources), making it a complete protein. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds provide 10 grams of protein. 

The increased popularity of vegetarianism and veganism has demonstrated that meat needn’t be our only source of protein. Add a dose of protein-rich hemp to your breakfast cereals, yoghurts and fruit bowls, or smoothies. At dinner or lunch, sprinkle seeds on top of your salad, grain bowl, or plate of pasta. 

  1. Natural anti-inflammatory properties

The omega-6 fatty acid, GLA, is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects similar to drugs like ibuprofen. There has been a long tradition of using plants rich in GLA to manage inflammation in the body and nerve damage, for inflamed skin conditions and for supporting cardiovascular health. 

Try incorporating hemp into your diet by:

  • adding hemp seeds directly to food 
  • baking with hemp seeds or baking kits containing hemp
  • making hemp milk at home using whole seeds or choosing hemp and oak milk at the supermarket
  • choosing hemp protein powder as an alternative to whey. 

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 

Nagnata

Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 

Nike

Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 

Tracksmith

Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 

Lululemon

Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?