GUT FEELING - Is hemp seed good for gut health?

GUT FEELING - Is hemp seed good for gut health?

For so many years hempfoods have been ignored because of confused botanical relationships. Thankfully, over the last few years there has been much research into hempfoods as a health product and let me say, it has a pretty impressive nutritional profile.

But what about our gut health – can hempfoods pack a beneficial punch in that department as well?

Let’s see.

Firstly there’s the Fibre. Now for those of you that missed my article ‘The F Word’, hemp provides both soluble and insoluble fibre. In a nut shell insoluble fibre is the ‘tough- stuff’ or roughage that adds bulk to our digestive waste and helps keep us regular whilst soluble fibre dissolves in the gut into a gel-like substance that helps the bulk move through.

Both are equally important for healthy bowel habits. You can read more about the many wonders of fibre here.

Something very cool about fibre is what it can do for our gut microbiome. Plant based fibre promotes the production of short chain fatty acids {SCFA’s} when it is fermented by the bacteria in the large intestine.

There are 3 main types of SCFA’s and they have many important physiological
functions. Two of the SCFA’s, acetate and proprionate, are transported to the liver for energy production and also play a role in healthy cholesterol function and the management of inflammation.

Butyrate provides an important energy source for the cells that line the colon and
also plays a huge part in the roll of intestinal inflammation and immune function.

So think of Hempfood's fibre like a ‘feeder’ for the good bacteria in your gut. It should be noted that when it comes to reducing inflammation that Hemple is a great plant based source of Omega 3... but we will talk more about that another time.

Now don’t get me wrong there are plenty of other amazing fibre rich foods that provide this ‘feeding’ style benefit and it is very important that we eat a variety of different foods and fibres as this will support and feed a healthy and diverse gut environment.

However sometimes for varying reasons individuals struggle with different plant based fibres. So this where Hempfoods have a chance to shine as they contain minimal lectins or oligosaccharides.

What are lectins and oligosaccharides ?

In short lectins are a defence mechanism of plants that help protect against other microorganisms, pests and insects. Typically lectins are resistant to human digestion and therefore in a ‘not so happy’ gut environment can cause a host of digestive complaints.

An example of this is those all too common gassy and crampy reactions that some people experience when they eat legumes.

Oligosaccharides are a type of carbohydrate found in various foods and they also are the ‘O’ in FODMAP’s and again, for some individuals these can cause a few gastric upsets if the GIT balance is slightly amiss.

So that really makes hemp a great all-rounder for guts of all types.

It should be noted that if you are struggling with the digestion of certain fibres and foods that this is a sign that something is probably not great with your gut and you should seek the help of a qualified health professional before restricting your dietary intake. Long term restrictive diets are not conducive to a happy, bacterially diverse gut.

By Carissa Anne.
Nutritionist {BHSc} – The JCN Clinic
Carissa is an accredited and practicing nutritionist at the JCN Clinic in Brisbane. The JCN Clinic is renowned for their focus on Digestive Health and an individualised, balanced approach to eating and nutrition. Carissa is available for Nutritional Consultations in person or via Skype or phone. To find out more contact the Clinic via email or you book online

1 comment

Jul 17, 2018 • Posted by Aileen Burley

Hi could i book an appointment via phone with Carissa please

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