Coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, and all sorts of other popular oils have long been touted as effective and natural solutions to boost health and improve beauty. Although it may be one of the slightly lesser known oils out there, hemp oil benefits your body and beauty in powerful ways too, which is exactly why it's been gaining more attention.
What Is Hemp Oil (and Is It Safe)?
Hemp oil is derived from pressed hemp seeds. Hemp seeds come from varieties of cannabis sativa plants, which contain extremely low levels of the drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The seeds are thoroughly cleansed during the manufacturing process, with only very small trace amounts of THC found in the oil if parts of the plant end up sticking to the seeds’ surfaces. In other words, hemp oil that's been made from industrial hemp plants won’t have any drug-like effects on the people who use it.
Health Benefits of Hemp Oil
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, hemp oil’s linolenic acids, sterols, and aliphatic alcohols may help improve heart health. More research is needed, but some evidence is certainly there.
Hemp oil is mostly made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids, meaning that it could be powerful enough to lower cholesterol levels and reduce atherosclerosis. Linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that has shown to help prevent coronary heart disease and cancer.
While other oils like olive oil and canola oil are good for the heart as well, hemp oil may be more effective at reducing platelet aggregation that cause heart attacks, according to some research. (Despite these findings, flaxseed oil still reigns supreme as one of the most heart-healthy oils out there, showing more beneficial cardiovascular effects than hemp oil in some of the experiments.)
Nutrition Benefits of Hemp Oil
Hemp seeds are recognized as a “superfood” by many loyal consumers. Its oil is known to be the most unsaturated oil you can get from plants and has a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s, which is perfect for good health.
One tablespoon of hemp oil contains about 120 calories (with 1g of saturated fat, 10g of polyunsaturated fat, and 3g monounsaturated fat). It’s rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and contains high levels of minerals like phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
How to Incorporate Hemp Oil Into Your Diet
Hemp oil has a nutty flavor to it, with darker, unrefined varieties tasting more grassy. Use hemp oil in place of olive oil, but cooking with it isn’t exactly recommended since it doesn’t stand well under high heat and loses most of its nutrients that way. Stick to mixing or drizzling hemp oil over foods only that could use a bit of a nutty flavor. For example, you could add it to a smoothie, or a homemade salad dressing.
Hemp oil spoils at a faster rate than other oils, so keep it in the refrigerator if you want yours to last long. Clear, refined hemp oil lacks a lot of nutrients, so do splurge and go for the unrefined, higher quality hemp oil that's a dark green color.
Beauty Benefits of Hemp Oil
Hemp oil is a natural moisturizer that helps nourish skin, hair, and nails thanks to the gamma-linolenic acid it contains. It prevents moisture loss, fights inflammation, improves blood circulation, and it may even aid in the relief of certain dermatological conditions. One study revealed that the polyunsaturated fatty acids in hemp oil helped improve clinical symptoms experienced by people suffering from dermatitis.
How to Incorporate Hemp Oil Into Your Beauty Routine
The simplest way to use hemp oil for its beauty benefits is by taking a small amount, rubbing it in your hands to warm it up a bit, and massaging it directly into your skin. It’s best to do this after a shower or bath so your pores can soak it up better.
If you suffer from acne, hemp oil may be the perfect natural treatment for it. Just wet your face with warm water or leave a warm, damp towel on your face for a minute or so and then apply a small amount of the oil to the affected areas.
If you’re into oil cleansing, you can also use hemp oil to balance the natural oils on your face and help unclog your pores. Try mixing one part hemp oil with one part tea tree oil, warming it in your hands, massaging it into your skin, and then removing it with warm water and a towel.
You can also find hemp oil used in many commercially sold varieties of hair products, skin creams, lip balms, shaving creams, and sun creams. However you choose to use it, your body will thank you for it!
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