Hemp Seed Oil and the Longevity Phenomenon in Bama Village

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old man fishing in river

While science and modern medicine play catch up, there is a library of anecdotal evidence in support of the health benefits of the cannabis plant. Not only for its psychoactive and non-psychoactive resins sought as an alternative to pharmaceuticals, but as a health and longevity-promoting foodstuff. Particularly from hemp seeds and hemp seed oil.

In Bama County, high in the remote mountains of Southern China where the automobile is yet to make its presence felt and the local population is only 300,000, there is a curious statistic. They have 73 centenarians, which is one of the highest ratios in the world. These spritely over-hundreds still participate in daily life: hunting, weaving, and housekeeping. Some are still busy in the fields.

Living Longer in the Blue Zones

Having so many people living to be over 100 makes Bama County one of the rare “blue zones” in the world. Hotspots where there are more centenarians compared to the general population. Other “blue zones” include Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa off the coast of Japan, and Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

There is a lifestyle thread that runs through these ageing communities. They all consume a predominantly plant-based diet that also contains several superfoods such as hemp seeds, quinoa, or chia seeds. They all indulge in a local alcohol daily like rice wine or red wine, and get regular moderate exercise. Each culture invests heavily in family and community while having a sense of faith and purpose in their lives.

A plant-based diet combined with a superfood like hemp seed oil has a number of noted health benefits. Plant sterols and antioxidants can reduce the risk for a number of cancers. The essential fatty acids contained in hemp seeds are important antioxidants that eliminate free radicals from the body. While a high fibre content promotes digestive health, fresh local water and fresh air untainted by industrial development add to the list of factors that contribute to long life in these regions.

Optimal Health and Living Longer in Bama County

Hemp as a food, industrial resource, and medicine has a long tradition in China. The locals of Bama County attribute their longevity in part to consuming liberal amounts of hemp seed oil. Usually cooked into houmayou—a broth that is a staple in the region and consumed twice a day—a quick look at what a hemp seed contains can go a long way to understanding why they are so healthy.

image of hemp seed and hempseed oil

Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil contain none of the mind-altering compounds that cannabis flowers have. What they do contain is something far more exciting, especially for those who want to maintain personal health and give the Bama locals a run for their money. Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are very good for you. In fact they are very, very, very good for you. Here’s what they contain:

• Saturated fats
• Polyunsaturated fat
• Monounsaturated fat
• Potassium
• Calcium
• Iron
• Magnesium
• Thiamin
• Phosphorous
• Zinc
• Copper
• Manganese
• Sodium
• Sulphur
• Carbohydrates
• Protein
• Folic acid
• Soluble and insoluble fibre
• Vitamins, E, A, B12, D
• All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids our body cannot produce

Ideal Nutrition and More

Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are almost complete foods in themselves. They have many of the important elements that keep our bodies functioning well. Vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy hair, nails, bones and skin, correct organ function, brain activity, eye health, and disease resistance.

Protein ensures muscle health and natural carbohydrates provide a sustained energy burn. Insoluble fibre aids digestion and soluble fibre can lower blood pressure and balance glucose levels. Folic acid is essential for new cell development and prevents changes to DNA.

Importantly, hemp seeds have an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 3:1, which is ideal for absorption by the body. When these ratios are not in balance, neither of these essential fatty acids can be absorbed efficiently. “Essential” means they are not produced by the body and need to be consumed. Hemp seeds also contain gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid. Fish oil, which also contains high levels of essential fatty acids, is objectively less beneficial than hemp seed oil. This comes down to several factors. First of all, fish oil displays an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio around 7:1, which is far from ideal. Furthermore, fish oil produced from larger fish is known to carry greater amounts of contaminants and toxic chemicals.

Omega Fatty Acids for Healthy Everything

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are a crucial part of human health. There are a number of omega-3 fatty acids that perform different functions, all of which are available in hemp seed oil. They are a vital part of cell membranes and can improve heart health by increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. They can reduce blood pressure, control triglycerides, and prevent plaque building up on artery walls.

Omega-3's can help stabilise mental health by reducing the symptoms of dementia, schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. They also fight inflammation and promote bone health. As DHA—docosahexaenoic acid—they make up 8% of total brain volume and are essential for foetal brain development.

Gamma linolenic acid, one type of omega-6, is a primary building block of prostaglandins. These hormone-like chemicals help smooth muscles contract and control inflammation and body temperature. They are also vital for a number of important body functions. Researchers believe it is GLA supplementation that is responsible for proper hormone health. It has also been observed to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and is an important source of energy.