The Hemp Connection + women's health

Been heapin' hemp on your breakfast cereal? Be sure you know what you're doing!

We get many questions about hemp, and its value as a protein and omega-3 source. Time to learn some more.

Here are the basic nutrition facts about hemp, calculated for a 1 tbsp serving.

Calories: 80
Fat: 5 grams
Carbohydrate: 3.5 grams
Protein 5.5 grams

POSITIVE: To put that into perspective, a tablespoon of hemp seed has about the same amount of fat as a teaspoon of butter or oil, plus slightly less protein than an ounce of meat. So as far as fat choices, it's going to give you more nutritional bang for your buck than a pure fat source. That protein is also a complete protein, too!

WARNING: Beware of those calories, though! Someone who commented on the website where I got this information shared that he puts 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds on his cereal every morning. That is 240 calories, which if not removed from elsewhere in the diet, is the equivalent, over a year, of 25 pounds' worth of calories. If you ADD hemp to your diet, be sure you've accounted for it by REMOVING less calorically dense/nutritious food choices.

POSITIVE: With respect to fatty acid profile, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of hemp averages 3:1. This is favorable, as it is lower than the recommended total dietary ratio of 4:1.

WARNING: As hemp is a vegetarian source of omega-3, it provides ALA. It does not contain EPA or DHA, which are primarily found in seafood. Some of the ALA found in hemp will be converted into EPA and DHA, but not in the quantities we have found to be of therapeutic value for PCOS. If you want to use hemp in your diet, it is certainly beneficial, but it does not replace the need for the other omega-3's.

POSITIVE: Hemp contains gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), which can be helpful for some skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis.

WARNING: GLA tends to work best when it is not overwhelmed with omega-6 fatty acids. In other words, if you have a skin condition, and you want to try GLA as a remedy, you are most likely to achieve good results if you cut back on your total omega-6 fatty acid intake (safflower, sunflower, soybean, sesame, corn, and cottonseed oil).

You could say the bottom line with hemp, as with any other food, is that if it is used judiciously and respectfully and not layered onto an unhealthy diet that needs some tuning up, it can be a tool toward better hormone balance.

But it is not a miracle food that will allow you to continue with unhealthy dietary indiscretions without consequence.

For those who are concerned about the THC content of hemp: in order to ingest enough industrial hemp to get 'a buzz', you would have to consume the the equivalent of 2-3 doses of a high-fiber laxative. Thanks to the North American Industrial Hemp Council for that little tidbit!

For starters, here is a recipe for hemp pancakes. As you can see, the oil has been removed and replaced with hemp seed. That is the way hemp should be used; as a fat alternative, not as an additional fat. It could probably be used in many recipes where you are using ground flax seed, with similar results.

Here are some sample hemp food products available at

For more information about the history, politics, and nutritional analysis of hemp, beyond the direct pertinence of hemp to PCOS, try this article on Dr. Bronner's website.

diet, food, healthy lifestyle, hemp, nutrition, omega-3, omega-6, positive, protein, and more:

Been heapin' hemp on your breakfast cereal? Be sure you know what you're doing! + women's health