You might know hemp as the plant from which CBD is extracted, but the plant has far many more uses beyond its cannabinoid content. The nutrient-dense hemp seed oil, cold-pressed from hemp seeds, is a frequent ingredient in cooking, adding nutty flavor to dressings and dishes of all kinds. If you’re looking to boost the nutrient profile on your plate, this oil is an excellent place to start.
What is hemp seed oil?
Hemp seed oil is a product derived from hemp plant seeds. To extract this oil, the seeds are cold-pressed under significant pressure. This substantial force separates hemp seed cells from their surrounding fibers. Because it is cold-pressed, the process does not require additional heat to extract the oil, preserving its nutritional profile. Hemp seed oil can be found in nutritional supplements, soaps, skincare items, and, of course, cooking.
Hemp seed oil is celebrated as a vegetarian and vegan source of fatty acids typically only found in fish. Hemp seed oil from hemp seeds has high amounts of polyunsaturated fats in the form of omega 3s and omega 6s, from which key fatty acids such as linolenic acid and oleic acid are derived. While hemp seed oil is used in skincare items due to its moisturizing properties, in cooking, hemp seed oil adds significant nutritional value while giving a slightly nutty flavor to your food.
It’s important to note that hemp seed oil is not synonymous with CBD oil or full/broad spectrum hemp oil, the cannabinoid extract withdrawn from hemp flower. Unlike CBD oil or full spectrum/broad hemp oil, hemp seed oil does not contain cannabinoids. The seeds from which hemp seed oil is cold-pressed do not contain cannabinoids. In mature hemp plants, the trichomes found in and around the flowers are what contain the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes. However, you may see full/broad spectrum hemp oil or CBD oil labeled as hemp oil in the marketplace. Read the ingredients before purchasing if you’re unsure; if the ingredients state “phytocannabinoid-rich” hemp extract, broad spectrum hemp extract, full spectrum hemp extract, or simply “CBD” or mentions other cannabinoids, the product you’re reviewing may not be hemp seed oil for cooking.
Hemp seed oil and health: its impact on the body
Hemp seed oil supports overall wellness both inside and out. Here’s how hemp oil benefits your wellness routine:
- 1. Hemp seed oil can restore balance to your skin: The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, GLA, and linoleic acids and oleic acids found in hemp seed oil can help improve your skin’s appearance. Additionally, when skin creams containing hemp oil are applied topically, hemp seed oil can help to preserve and boost moisture content, creating a dewy appearance.
- 2. Hemp seed oil may help to combat menstrual discomfort*: A 2011 study published in Reproductive Health correlated diets higher in polyunsaturated fatty acids with the alleviation of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. According to this study, these fatty acids – which hemp oil contains – can balance prolactin levels*, which are elevated in people experiencing PMS symptoms such as bloating and breast tenderness.
- 3. Hemp seed oil is an excellent source of nutrients: In addition to its fatty acid content, hemp seed oil contains Vitamin E; carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A; and several minerals, including iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Five delicious ways to eat hemp seed oil
You don’t have to be a culinary wizard to start adding hemp oil to your favorite drinks, meals, and desserts. You can easily add hemp oil and other hemp-based foods to these five recipes without spending excessive time in the kitchen. Here are some of our favorite recipes, and our recommendations for adding hemp oil into the mix.
- 1. Pesto Zoodle Bowl: This anti-pasta packs healthy fats and oils into a delicious, verdant lunch or dinner dish. You can add hemp oil to the pesto sauce or directly to the zoodles for a nutty complement to the walnuts in the pesto.
- 2. Healing Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo: Many pasta sauces are overstuffed with excessive sugars or unhealthy fats. By making your own sauce at home, our better-for-you version lets you control what goes into your alfredo without giving up on the taste you love. The unrefined hemp oil adds a new flavor dimension to this classic dish, one that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next dinner party.
- 3. Crispy Cheezy Kale Chips: When it comes to eating healthy, green is the way to go. Coat kale with hemp oil and nutritional yeast, then bake it for a clean superfood snack. This crispy, tasty snack is sure to be a hit.
- 4. Baked Avocado Fries with Smoky Tomato Mayo: Who says you can’t indulge while staying healthy? With this recipe, you might not even miss all that fried starch. When you mix your dipping sauce ingredients, you can add in a teaspoon of hemp oil directly into the mayo while you’re whisking in the tomato and lime juice. Plus, the hemp oil’s nutty profile adds a new, interesting dimension to this savory sauce.
- 5. Crispy BBQ Cauliflower "Wings": In its unaltered form, the sauce for these vegan, clean cauliflower wings doesn’t call for hemp oil. That doesn’t mean you can’t drop a tablespoon of hemp oil in the BBQ sauce and blend it in thoroughly for an extra boost.
These recipes highlight just a few ways you can use hemp in the kitchen. The sky is the limit when it comes to using this heart-healthy, skin-balancing, plant-based ingredient in your cooking. No matter which recipe you choose, your health and ease of mind will follow.