Cannabis, a superfood?

One of the booms of recent years in the food industry have been the so-called superfoods, a group of highly nutritious foods that bring multiple benefits to the body and which have actually been used since ancient times.

Nutritionally speaking, there is no such thing as superfoods; however, there are exceptional foods that provide a significant amount of nutrients, vitamins and phytochemicals that deserve to be coined super. They are mostly products of plant origin, some dairy products and fish.

The list of so-called superfoods, are increasingly popular according to the benefits they provide. Among these benefits are:

- Increase in energy with significant improvements in physical performance.

- Improvements in memory quality, antioxidant and detoxifying benefits that prevent serious diseases such as cancer.

- Skin improvements.

- Strengthening of the immune system,

- Prevention of overweight and anemia.

- Control and better management of pathologies such as pain or inflammation,

- Contribution of healthy fibers and fats that participate in the prevention of heart disease; among others.

The key to proper nutrition is to consume a good combination of healthy and nutritious foods, including superfoods which give strength to that diet. Superfood can improve the quality of life of the person according to their physiological needs, activities, and environment.

To prevent and fight against diseases, as well as live in the accelerated pace of today's society, having a balanced diet and enriching it with the so-called superfoods is the best alternative to a healthy life.

One of these superfoods known since ancient times, is cannabis. Since the year 6000 BC it has had multiple uses ranging from textiles and paper to being a food high in vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber and omega.

It should be noted that the use of cannabis as food leans towards the consumption of the hemp plant or its seeds, which is where most of the nutrients of interest are found.

The consumption of the cannabis plant is an issue that has to be approached delicately considering the amount of cannabinoid that can occur in the vegetative part of the plant. Depending on the cannabis variety, the plant may include psychoactive components such as THC whose side effects in some cases may not be to the liking or tolerance of the consumer. That is why the use of cannabis as a superfood focuses on the consumption of hemp plants that have little or no THC content (less than 0.2%), and the seeds are a source of nutrients and other elements.

There are multiple hemp products on the market, among which the seeds and their powder dominate sales as well as edible oil that is rich in omega 3, omega 6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids which is optimal according to the nutritional point of view. In addition it is also rich in vitamin E.

According to the Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cannabis sativa L. under number 12012 has the following composition for every 100 g of seeds:

The amount of amino acids, proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, nutrients, minerals and vitamins that cannabis seeds possess make it worthy of being an exceptional food. The ease and versatility of its consumption allows cannabis to be an alternative that improves health and the quality of life.

Among its polyunsaturated fatty acids are linoleic acid which is a type of omega 6 fatty acid, and alpha linolenic acid which is an omega 3 fatty acid. This pair of fatty acids the human body is not able to produce so they are acquired through food consumption. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are components of the cell membrane and also precursors of molecules that are involved in multiple processes; for example, in the prevention of heart disease through the control of triglycerides, Alzheimer's disease, inflammation and depression.

Cannabis seeds have a high content of vitamins A, B, C, and E with vitamin E most predominant (90mg of vitamin E per 100g of seeds). Vitamin E has a high antioxidant power which protects the cells from possible damage that can be caused by free radicals and this helps significantly in the delay or prevention of diseases such as cancer. Through the antioxidant power, the cells of the hair and skin also benefit. The complex of vitamins B such as riboflavin, niacin and thiamine are essential for the development and functioning of cells and nerve tissue, strengthening the immune system, and preserving cognitive function which is directly related to memory and mood. B Complex possesses antioxidant powers, as well as participate in processes of metabolization and digestion where the fiber that cannabis seeds provides is also involved.

This abundance of minerals are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Calcium helps to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis and is also involved in cell signaling and body weight regulation through metabolism. Phosphorus participates in basic cellular processes and its intake also provides strengthening in bones and teeth, regulation of waste processing in the body and management of the storage and use of energy. Another of the most abundant minerals in seeds is magnesium that is useful in the control and prevention of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and iron that is essential to prevent or treat anemia or malnutrition events.

The amino acids that make up proteins are essential macronutrients for the maintenance and development of the organism. Cannabis seeds have 20 amino acids including 9 of the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. This important amount of amino acids provides the energy needed to improve the performance of body functioning, as well as participating in the prevention of neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and cancer diseases.

Indeed, these properties make cannabis a superfood that, in addition to having in its seeds a composition that makes it an exceptional food, presents in them a taste similar to nuts, a crunchy texture and very pleasant to the taste. The edibles that can be made are very varied from smoothies to a multiple variety of drinks and snacks both sweet and salty. Cannabis is a great versatile alternative that nature offers to improve health, and thus maintain a high quality of life.

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