Winnipeg, Manitoba (July 28, 2008) – It seems like the nutrition ‘spotlight’ for essential fatty acids only shines on omega-3s these days. Omega-6 essential fatty acids are also important to focus on in order to achieve optimal nutrition. While omega-6 does not share the glamorous reputation of omega-3, it is an essential nutrient. But omega-6 has been maligned over the years due to an overabundance of it in processed cooking oils and other unhealthy foods in the typical Western diet. All sources of Omega-6 are not created equal, and some cold pressed sources, such as organic hemp seed oil, are perfectly balanced and are also rare sources of the ‘super omega-6’ known as GLA.
Balance and Freshness are Important for Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-6 is essential to obtain through the diet because the human body can’t synthesize Omega-6 on its own. The problem, however, is that most people are ingesting too much of it – usually via an unhealthy processed oil or processed food item. The World Health Organization recommends a 4:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 for optimal health. Today, most people in North America are consuming these in ratios ranging from 20:1 to 50:1. Research has determined that an EFA imbalance can be linked to a wide variety of ailments. One reason that organic hemp seed oil is gaining in popularity is that it contains a healthy ratio of 3.75:1.
Some sources of Omega-6’s are better than others. Dietary intake of Omega-6 is out of whack primarily due to the increased consumption of processed vegetable oils and processed foods. It is also noteworthy that omega-6 quality can be compromised easily, so proper oil selection and management is important. Omega-6’s degrade when they are subject to oxygen, light or heat, as is the case when these oils undergo standard processing. In addition, processed oils are usually bleached and deodorized to increase shelf-life and cover up the tracks of rancid or naturally pungent aromas which would otherwise smell unappetizing. “The human body doesn’t recognize poor-quality processed oils,” says Meghan Atkinson CN, a nutrition consultant based in Los Angeles, California. “Perhaps even more disconcerting, bad oils can actually cause a deficiency of essential fatty acids,” she adds.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seed Oil (www.manitobaharvest.com), on the other hand, is an exceptionally balanced source of Omega-6. It is made fresh on demand to maintain freshness, and is cold-pressed, nitrogen flushed and stored in a light-resistant bottle to ensure that all the valuable nutrients remain intact and preserved. There is no bleaching or deodorizing needed.
GLA: The ‘Super Omega-6’
“Hemp is a rare source of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), which is a unique and extremely important Omega-6 in the family of Essential Fatty Acids,” notes Atkinson. GLA is well known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties; hormone synthesis and balance; premenstrual health in women; healthy blood pressure; weight loss; improved joint function; and beautiful hair, skin, and nails. Obtaining GLA in the diet can be challenging. “Besides hemp, there are only 3 significant natural sources of GLA: Evening Primrose, Borage, and Black Courant. Of these, hemp seed is the only whole food source that has a wide variety of culinary functions,” adds Atkinson.
“While the body has the ability to convert Linoleic Acid (an abundant Omega-6 found in many foods) into GLA, most people are not making this conversion effectively, or are missing out on the conversion all together,” says Atkinson. Factors that get in the way of making this conversion include: stress; smoking; sugar consumption; alcohol; low levels of zinc, magnesium, and vitamins B6, C, and niacin; intake of poor quality Omega-6; and certain health conditions (cancer, high cholesterol, viruses, diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid disorders). “Hemp seed oil contains GLA in a readily available form, so no conversion is needed,” Atkinson says.
Hemp seed oil has many delicious culinary applications. It is a delicious salad dressing base for those that make their own, or is an easy and nutritious supplement to a store-bought dressing. It has an attractive emerald green color due to its rich content of chlorophyll, a powerful antioxidant. A tasty hemp seed oil salad dressing recipe is included below, and more can be found at www.manitobaharvest.com/recipes.
Magical Mint Vinaigrette
Makes: 1 Cup; Prep Time: 5 min
1/2 cup Hemp Seed Oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp fresh ginger (peeled & sliced)
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
Manitoba Harvest – An Award Winning Hemp Foods Pioneer
Founded in 1998, Manitoba Harvest is the largest farmer-owned, vertically integrated, fresh-on-demand hemp food manufacturer in North America. In addition to cold-pressed Hemp Seed Oil, Manitoba Harvest also offers 4 varieties of Hemp Bliss organic hempmilk, Shelled Hemp Seed, Hemp Seed Butter and a line of Hemp Protein Powders. The company contracts thousands of acres of hemp seed production in Western Canada with dozens of farmers, many of whom are shareholders. Manitoba Harvest owns and operates a kosher and USDA certified organic facility and their products are distributed to thousands of stores in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan and are also sold as bulk ingredients to food and cosmetic manufacturers.
In the 1990’s activist and co-founder Martin Moravcik worked with the Manitoba and Canadian governments to re-legalize hemp agriculture. The goal of reintroducing hemp farming came to fruition in 1998 when the Canadian government began issuing hemp farming licenses and he partnered with Mike Fata and Alex Chwaiewsky to form Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils. Manitoba Harvest was honored recently with the 2006 Socially Responsible Business Award for their work pioneering sustainable hemp agriculture in the 1990s and for spreading organic farming in Manitoba ever since. For more information, please visit www.manitobaharvest.com.
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Contact: Mic LeBel, 207-563-7695