Menopause: Hemp vs. Soy


Menopause

Menopause.

For some, the M word brings up thoughts of felonious females flirting with fiery flashes of fitful frustration.

However, not every woman experiences menopause in the same way.

As I stated on an earlier post, some common symptoms of menopause are (this is a partial list):

  • Hot/cold flashes
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Night sweats
  • Dizziness/loss of balance
  • Mood swings
  • Bloating
  • Confusion
  • Hair loss/weakened fingernails/dry skin
  • Depression/panic disorder
  • Headaches
  • Tingling in hands and feet
  • Digestion problems
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Aching joints

The changing levels of estrogen and progesterone can last a few months, or they can last a few years.  Some women may experience all of these symptoms, some may not.

HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is another way, but more women are avoiding that avenue, since HRT has been shown to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer.

One way to manage symptoms is with nutrition and diet. For quite a while soy has been one of the dietary staples of menopausal women, especially those who wish to avoid HRT.  It has been widely thought that soy isoflavones helped prevent menopausal bone loss, but according to JAMA, “Conclusions  In this population, the daily administration of tablets containing 200 mg of soy isoflavones for 2 years did not prevent bone loss or menopausal symptoms.” (http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1106084)

I am seeing more often articles and stories debunking the benefits of soy.

Many menopausal women turn to soy to stave off nasty effects, like decreased bone density and hot flashes, because estrogen therapy is associated with risks for breast cancer and heart attack. But now researchers are calling for alternatives because a new study showed soy might not even work.” (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20090000-10391704.html)

The vast majority of soy at your local market is not a health food. The exception is fermented soy, which I’ll explain more about later and even worse GMO soy that is contaminated with large pesticide residues as the reason it is GMO is so they can spray the potent toxic herbicide Roundup on them to improve crop production by killing the weeds.

Unlike the Asian culture, where people eat small amounts of whole non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities—protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about these products.

Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, points out thousands of studies linking soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.” (Mercola.com)

Today, depending on which source you go by, 86-94% of soy planted and grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. That is reason enough to avoid soy altogether.

If soy were to be avoided, what would be an alternative? HEMP.

Hempseed is a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps to balance and restore the cellular structures.

Hempseed is a natural source of GLA, and is one of the few plants that contains GLA. This is important, because during menopause the body’s ability to convert LA to GLA is lessened.

The Omega 3 fatty acids found in hemp are the perfect ratio for the human body, and it is especially important for women to have a sufficient intake of them.

Low levels of Omega 3s are associated with inflammation, and inflammation is the root cause of many disorders and diseases. Hemp can reduce the effects of muscular pain, hot flashes, headaches, cardiovascular problems, hair and skin dryness and nail strength.

Hemp has been shown to reduce the effects and decrease the instances of depression and memory loss. The brain is mainly comprised of fatty acids, and having enough Omega fatty acids will help improve memory and brain function.

Osteoporosis, another symptom of menopause, is helped by the intake of hemp and Omega fatty acids. The essential fatty acids in hemp help with absorption of the calcium and vitamin D and aid in bone growth and calcification, and reduce calcium excretion in the urine (calcium loss and excretion through the urine can also cause kidney stones).

Hemp seeds are also rich in vitamin E, which is also important for those suffering from menopause.

One last note:

Hemp protein vs other proteins:

The edestin protein in hemp is one of the most easily digestible proteins.  It is very similar to human globulin.

Omega fatty acids help reduce bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and may lessen the possibility of stroke or heart attack.

Hemp does not contain phytoestrogens. Soy does. These hormones mimic estrogen and have been linked to cancer. Soy also contains natural toxins that hinder protein digestion.

There are no known allergies to hemp. Hemp is safe for anyone to consume, from toddler to octogenarians and beyond.

photo: Angry Woman by Vera Kratochvil

Hemp – How It Is Helping Me Recuperate


My self-imposed blogging break has come to an end, and now that my neurons are firing at rapid speed it is time to let the words flow again!

It’s been a challenging month, with a few weeks of health issues – along with that came the emotional and mental turmoil as well. I am now admitting to the world that I allowed myself to get carried away with stress and anxiety which appeared when I was dealing with some significant pain from an injury.

Because I wasn’t feeling well (yes, I know, poor excuse) I did not eat well, both in proportion and quality of foods. So, I’ve jumped back on the bandwagon – more fresh, unprocessed foods, veggies, fruits, and yes…hemp seeds. In fact, at this moment while I am writing I’ve got my bag of Nutiva hemp seeds right next to me.

Yes, I know that I’ve preached about hempseed being anti-inflammatory and good for mental health – for a few weeks I didn’t practice what I preached, and what a mistake THAT was!

I’ll tell you a little of what I’ve been going through, and then will follow that with WHY hemp is so good for that condition. (No, it won’t be a novel, I promise!)

I took a slip in the shower a few weeks ago and wrenched my neck and back. And I did a very good job it it! (I don’t do things half-assed, as a rule.) What followed were daily migraines, cluster headaches, neck and back pain, stiffness, leg pain, and inability to get comfortable, thus resulting in very poor sleep and exhaustion.

Hemp, as I said before, is anti-inflammatory. The Omega 3 fatty acids in hemp (which has the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids for the human body) are the components which work to reduce inflammation by soothing, protecting, and healing the cells.

In addition to the headaches and pain and difficulty moving around, I was also experiencing great amounts of stress and anxiety – resulting in panic attacks almost daily, dizziness, and heart palpitations. I have generally (ok, all my life) been an anxious person. Stress could be my middle name. Now, diet alone will not eradicate stress, but it does HELP, in addition to participating in stress-relieving activities (meditation, yoga, exercise). I had gotten to the point where my mind would NOT SHUT UP. It was a lot of fear-based lack thinking, worrying, and fretting. I was jumpy, emotional, impatient, and just plain frazzled. I would wake several times during the night, either from panic or worry.

Last Friday I was feeling so unwell that I went to the local fire department to get my blood pressure checked. It was 190/110. Yes, I know. Not good. The EMT checked the pressure in my other arm – the result was the same. His partner asked, “Ma’am, are you feeling ok?” I paused, thinking, If I felt ok I wouldn’t be here, right? but I kindly said, “I am not needing an ambulance ride to the emergency room, but I am not feeling really well. I just wanted to try to find a reason for all the stuff that is going on with my body and my head.” They both encouraged me to get to a doctor, but I told them I did not have insurance. I was then sternly lectured. “You do NOT want to wait until this is an emergency and the have to call us, ride in the ambulance, then have a more serious problem to deal with.” They then proceeded to tell me all the signs I needed to pay attention to or look for that would be cause for greater concern.

By this time I was in a panic again and the chest pains and headache had worsened. I drove home; halfway there I decided I’d call my son and have him drive me to the emergency room.

They checked my vitals, blood pressure was still high but not quite as high as when I was at the fire department. They did an EKG, monitored my blood pressure for 30 minutes, gave me Valium, Vicodin, and anti-nausea meds along with Motrin. After a bit they asked me how I was feeling. “The same, no change.”

The doctor came in and checked my neck and back, asked a lot of questions, and then looked at me and said, “Your EKG is fine. I want you to go to the chiropractor as soon as possible, that will help with the pain, and I want you to RELAX. You are fine, you are not having a heart attack, you are not having a serious medical emergency.” They prescribed Valium and Vicodin (which I have NOT had filled) and sent me on my way.

I left feeling somewhat better, because in reality, knowing is half the cure. It was also a reminder to get back on my relaxation exercises and EAT HEALTHIER again.

The brain is composed mainly of fatty acids, and when there is a deficiency it can cause depression, headaches, dizziness, and a reduced ability to handle stress and anxiety.  Hemp’s Omega fatty acids help restore balance in the brain, bringing about calmer thinking and improved sleep.

So, as I sit here writing and munching, I realize that I am feeling better, more rested, in less pain – and I am again reminded of the wonderful plant that really IS an amazing medicine.

Eating Hemp Can Reduce Cortisol, The Stress Hormone Which Can Be A Diabetes Trigger


Did you know that increased stress can raise blood sugar?

Stress releases cortisol into the body, a hormone that suppresses the immune system, aids in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and increases blood glucose levels. Cortisol uses protein to create increased blood sugar; the excess sugar is then converted to body fat.

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland. Prolonged cortisol secretion due to long-term stress may produce insulin resistance, bone loss (osteoporosis), increased blood pressure, and kidney problems, to name a few.

It has been shown that Omega fatty acids reduce cortisol levels due to stress. They also prevent the pancreas from producing an over-abundance of insulin (which causes fat storage). Omega fatty acids have also been shown to help reduce stress itself.

Because the brain is mainly composed of fatty tissue, getting sufficient fatty acids in the diet is important.

Hemp is an excellent source for Omega fatty acids because it has the perfect 3:1 ratio of fatty acids needed by the human body.

*Note : stress is not necessarily a CAUSE of diabetes, but it can be a trigger; stress = higher cortisol = increased blood glucose = insulin resistance and excess body fat = diabetes.

Hempseed Oil – Fountain of Youth?


For many centuries hempseed has been used as food and medicine. One of the wonderful properties of hempseed oil is that it is a component in anti-aging, both for skin and cellular health.

Hempseed oil is rich in anti-oxidants and Omega fatty acids. Hempseed has the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body.

Healthy skin cells contain water. As we age, the cell’s ability to retain the water diminishes. Our skin cells also work to use nutrients that keep our skin healthy. One of the functions of the Omega fatty acids is to KEEP our skin nourished. When our skin is not healthy it ends up being dry, saggy, and wrinkly.

The Omega fatty acids in hempseed oil also help with acne, rashes, and other skin conditions by repairing the skin cell structure, feeding the cells with nutrients, and repairing damage from blemishes.

Hempseed oil does not clog pores. It goes beyond the outer skin layer and soaks deep inside where it is needed.

There are many skincare products that have a hempseed oil base; these products will keep the skin nourished, fresh, and young-looking (along with proper diet and plenty of water intake).

So, if you are looking for that fountain of youth – try hempseed oil!

FAQ About Industrial Hemp


Since I’ve started writing about industrial hemp, I’ve had numerous questions about it. I’ll address the most frequent questions about hemp in today’s post.

Q ~ Can industrial hemp make you high? A ~ No. Industrial hemp has a very low THC level, and industrial hemp that is imported into the US is washed. It must meet very high standards regarding the level of THC that it can have.

Q ~ Where can I buy hemp products? A ~ Hempseeds (hemp hearts), and hemp-based food products can be found online, at food co-ops,  health food stores, and through Versativa (see links in right side-bar). The Nutiva brand of hemp hearts is an excellent and popular choice.

Q ~ Isn’t industrial hemp illegal to grow in the US? A ~ No. Many states have passed legislation to allow growing of industrial hemp. However, it is illegal to grow it without the proper permits from the DEA, and those are almost impossible to get, at least for now.

Q ~ Will I fail my routine drug test if I eat hemp? A ~ No. The hemp that is imported into the US is tested and cleaned. These products are pledged to be extremely low in THC. Even if someone ingests a LOT of hemp, they will not have measurable amounts of THC in their system.

Q ~ Aren’t hemp and marijuana the same thing? A ~ No. Both hemp and marijuana are in the same family of plants, but they are different varieties.

Q ~ How much hempseed or hempseed oil should I eat every day? A ~ 2-5 Tablespoons per day is the daily recommendation for hempseed. Recommended serving size for hempseed oil is 1 Tablespoon.

Q ~ Can I cook hempseed or fry foods in hempseed oil? A ~ If you are going to cook with hempseed or hempseed oil you must use low temperatures. High temperatures will change the composition of the EFAs. If cooking with hempseed oil, it is best to keep the temperature 300 degrees or lower.

Q ~ I have gluten sensitivity. Can I eat hempseed? A ~ Yes! Hempseed has protein, but it is not the same protein as found in wheat gluten. To date, there are no known sensitivities or allergies to industrial hemp.

Q ~ Can hemp be smoked? A ~ Smoking hemp would be pointless. No one can get high smoking hemp, and at the most all they will get is a nasty headache.

Q ~ Is it safe to eat hemp if I am pregnant or nursing? A ~ It is VERY safe to eat hemp while pregnant or nursing, and in fact would be an excellent idea. The nutrients in the hemp (especially EFAs) are excellent for brain and eye health for the growing baby, and seem to cause a higher level of cognitive learning in those babies whose mothers ate hemp.


Why Hemp Is Considered A Superfood


More and more people are becoming conscious of their health and the types of food they put into their bodies. There is a movement to go back to organic.

Our nation became one of convenience. Life became busier and more hectic, and we turned to processed, canned, and quick-to-fix chemical laden foods. Most of these foods are full of chemicals, salt, starches, and preservatives. Many of them also have the nutrients cooked out of them, so they are considered empty calories.

Superfoods are coming to the forefront. But what exactly is a superfood? Superfoods are foods that are extremely rich in nutrients, even to the point that they help treat/heal/prevent disease, and keep the body healthy and at it’s optimum performance.

Hemp seed is an excellent superfood. It is very high in protein, it has all the essential amino acids needed by the human body, and is full of vitamins, minerals, lecithin, chlorophyll, and good fats.

Here is a nutritional breakdown of the hemp seed: (Nutiva.com)

* All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.
* A high protein percentage of the simple proteins that strengthen immunity and fend off toxins.
* Eating hemp seeds in any form could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.3
* Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil.
* A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.
* A superior vegetarian source of protein considered easily digestible.
* A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria.
* The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids

Hemp seed is an excellent addition to the diet, especially for those looking to add superfoods to their daily meals.

Treating Diabetic Neuropathy With Hemp


Diabetes is a condition that affections over 25 million Americans.

Diabetes is the body’s inability to convert sugar (glucose) into energy. With diabetes, the pancreas creates little or no insulin, or the body cannot process the sugar well; this causes glucose to build up too high in the blood. If the blood glucose remains at high levels it can damage nerves, the heart, eyes, and the kidneys.

High blood glucose levels can damage the nerves by irritating the nerve sheath (myelin). When the sheath is injured or damaged, the nerve is laid bare. The exposed nerve can cause severe pain. Over time, the nerve sensation could completely stop.

The other possible reason for the nerve damage is poor blood supply to the nerves. When the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the nerve sheath are destroyed or not working properly, this will cause the nerve sheath to become insufficient and damaged as well.

The resulting pain from the damaged nerves is called neuropathy.

Neuropathy can be treated with essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids). Hemp seed and hemp seed oil are perfect foods for adding EFAs to the diet because they have the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids for optimum human health.

GLA (Omega 6) has proven anti-inflammatory properties, and it helps with the pain of neuropathy.

Omega 3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory. Omega 3s help the nerve cells by improving nerve impulse transmission. In addition, Omega 3s are excellent for cardiovascular health and improving circulation.

Because hemp has the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids, it is the perfect choice for helping to reduce diabetic neuropathy, as well as being a good choice for those who prefer to treat their pain naturally.

*The above article has information based on my own personal research and is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be professional medical advice.