Hemp Seeds: The Amazing Superfood

Let me start off by addressing the elephant in the room: It is common to associate the word hemp with marijuana, however, hemp is a different strain of the plant Cannabis Sativa that only contains less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (better known as THC) whereas marijuana contains about 10%. The minuscule amount of THC found in hemp seeds has not been found to compromise, influence, or impair one’s cognition or judgment and is completely safe and legal. Hemp is actually considered to be one of the most nutritional plants in the entire world. Its seeds are often described as what is known as a “superfood” due to their low calorie and high nutrient content, and they provide a multitude of health benefits. In short, hemp seeds may be small but they pack a big punch.

Hemp seeds deliver enough nutrition to maintain healthy human life. That means you could survive off of eating hemp seeds, and only hemp seeds, for the rest of your life (not that I would recommend that). That’s how nutritious these little seeds are! Hemp seeds were actually one of the primary treatments used  for nutritional deficiencies brought on by diseases such as tuberculosis. One of the many reasons for that is that these little seeds deliver more essential fatty acids than any other plant source. The human body needs essential fatty acids to manufacture and repair cell membranes, allowing cells to obtain proper nutrition and get rid of harmful waste products. Essential fatty acids also aid in the production of prostaglandins, which help regulate the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting ability, fertility and also play a role in immune function by regulating inflammation and preparing the body to fight infection. Essential Fatty Acids are also needed for proper growth in children, particularly for the development of their nervous system. Hemp seeds also deliver all 20 amino acid, including the 9 essential amino acids your body cannot produce on its own. Amino acids are necessary for such things as  building muscle, strengthening the immune system, enhancing oxygen transport, providing energy, and supporting healthy hair, skin and nails. On top of all of that, hemp seeds are rich in phytonutrients that protect your cells, tissues and organs from damage, which helps slow down the aging process and lower the chance of disease.

Eating hemp seeds may sound a little funny, but the nutritional value they bring is no joke. The Chinese have been consuming hemp seeds for years now, and it has only recently gained popularity here in America. Hemp seeds are actually very delicious and have a sweet, nutty taste that many people seem to like, including myself. You could eat them alone, or sprinkle them on a variety of dishes such as cereal, pancakes or even salad. Thanks for reading, this has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.



Is Carbonated Water Safe?

While growing up, I heard a lot of warnings about such drinks as Coke and Sprite having too much sugar, caffeine and artificial additives, but never about plain sparkling water. I thought sparkling water was just like regular, flat water but with bubbles, and what could possibly be so bad about that? Unfortunately, those cute, little bubbles are not as innocent as you think.

Believe it or not, carbonated water was accidentally created in 1767 by a man named Joseph Priestley while he was trying to invent a concoction to kill mice. Torbern Bergman, a chemistry teacher from Sweden, invented the process of making carbonated water in 1771 for the purpose of drinking after the word got out that the concoction Priestly invented actually tasted good. Carbonated water is made by dissolving low concentrations of carbon dioxide into water, which then creates carbonic acid. This is what makes the water acidic and gives it a slightly sour taste. An alkaline salt, such as sodium bicarbonate and disodium phosphate, is then added to try to neutralize the acidity of the solution. Sodium, as many of you may know, is a major culprit in increasing blood pressure. Even though the amount in one drink is minimal, it can definitely add up over time. Disodium phosphate is a compound of sodium and phosphoric acid, and phosphoric acid is what can potentially displace the calcium in your bones, which can then lead to bone loss and osteoporosis.

Carbonated water can also impair the function of your kidneys. As mentioned before, carbonated water is slightly acidic, which can inhibit the kidneys from effectively removing toxins and waste from the body through the urine. This can lead to crystallization of minerals passing through the kidneys, such as sodium and calcium, which can then turn into kidney stones. Most kidney stones are small enough that they can pass through the body without any pain or problems. However, if the kidney stones become large enough, they can obstruct the ureter and cause very painful spasms normally felt in the lower abdomen and groin.

Drinking sparkling water from time to time will most likely not cause any of the complications mentioned above. However, if you like to substitute normal, flat water with sparkling water all day long because you think they are the same thing, you are mistaken. Drinking 8 cups of regular, flat water each day is one of the best things you could do for your body, and anything else would not suffice. Hope these tips help! Thanks for reading, this has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas.

The Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency

Recently, it has come to my attention that many of my family and friends are low in vitamin D. Is this a coincidence? Not really. Vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods and is mainly produced by exposure to sunlight. However, with the risk of developing skin cancer, who really bathes in the sun anymore? Even though many people do not think vitamin D is a serious necessity, low levels can actually lead to many health complications.

Vitamin D plays a big role in sustaining a strong and healthy body. The main necessity for vitamin D is to maintain bone health. It works with calcium to help bones grow and stay strong. Vitamin D also helps regulate the proper functioning of the heart by affecting its contractility and vascular tone. It also plays a role in cell regulation, which aids in cancer prevention by causing cancerous cells to die before they can proliferate into a tumor. Vitamin D also helps our immune system stay strong to ward and fight off infection.

The average adult between the ages of 19-50 needs about 600 IUs of vitamin D a day and, as we get older, that number increases to at least 800. It is recommended to get at least 20-30 minutes of sun exposure on a daily basis to get adequate vitamin D synthesis, but not everyone has the luxury of living in an area with sunny weather all year long. Also, people have been conditioned to wear sunscreen whenever there is sun due to being lectured about the risks of skin cancer over and over again. So, what about getting vitamin D from food? The main foods that naturally contain vitamin D are fish, egg, and mushrooms, which is not really a large selection. Milk is also a good source of vitamin D, but milk has to be fortified with the vitamin since it only provides a trace amount on its own.

So, what can we do? Being aware of your deficiency and its significance is the first step. Many people disregard low vitamin levels from their blood tests because they do not really know the consequences. Try taking vitamin D supplements, or a multivitamin that contains vitamin D, on a daily basis. Foods fortified with vitamin D are also a good alternative, but the selection is still minimal. Going out into the sun whenever possible should also not be ruled out because 20 minutes of sun exposure on a daily basis is highly unlikely to substantially  increase your chances of developing skin cancer. Lastly, make sure not to over do it and stay within the daily recommended dietary allowance for your age because too much vitamin D can actually be toxic. Hope these tips help. This has been your dose of vitamin Jas.