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ganjalato2Oil Production and Quality
Many plant oils naturally contain unsaturated fatty acids. Unfortunately, a high content in polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as in hemp and flax oil, increases the tendency of an oil to become rancid, especially when exposed to oxygen, light, and elevated temperatures. Rancidity results from the breakdown of fatty acids causing formation of rancid tasting and unhealthy compounds.

Most edible oils on supermarket shelves have been treated by mechanical and chemical refining processes to increase their shelf-life, enhance clarity and remove other undesirable compounds from poor seed quality or from the extraction process. Commercial oil making may include any or all of the following steps: solvent extraction of oil from the ground seeds, de-gumming, alkali refining, bleaching deodorizing, hydrogenation, and others.

Margarines, shortenings, and shortening oils for example are hydrogenated – or hardened – which removes unsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty acids. During the refining processes aroma and flavour as well as valuable compounds, for example vitamin E, lecithin, and minerals are removed.

Trace amounts of solvents may be present, preservatives added, and some of these processes may even result in the formation of unhealthy by-products, for example trans-fatty acids from hydrogenation, or hardening, of oils. Manufacturers are not required to declare these processes on the label, so they don’t.

Until recently, almost all oils on supermarket shelves used to be solvent extracted and fully refined. Such commodity oils aren’t “poisonous”. In fact, they also reflect the trend towards oils with a higher content of unsaturated fatty acids. Sunflower and canola are bland and are missing valuable ingredients and character.

Mechanically cold-pressed (not solvent extracted), unrefined oils have the characteristic aroma and flavour of the seeds from which they were pressed. Hemp oil for example has a delicate, nutty flavour. Unrefined oils still contain most of the vitamins, other antioxidants and minerals present in the seeds.

These oils generally also have a high content of unsaturated fatty acids which increases their tendency to become rancid and thus reduces their shelf-life. To make the most of the natural and healthy ingredients of these oils, they should be consumed fresh.

Unrefined, cold-pressed oils – such as hemp oil – are routinely pressed and bottled in a nitrogen atmosphere and sold in tinted or dark bottles to protect them from light. After opening they should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within six months.

Hemp seed typically contains over 30% oil and about 25% protein, with considerable amounts of carbohydrates, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Hemp seed oil is over 80% in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and is an exceptionally rich source of the two essential fatty acids (EFAs) linoleic acid (18:2 omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 omega-3).

The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (n6/n3) in hemp seed oil is normally between 2:1 and 3:1, which is considered to be optimal for human health. Also gamma-linolenic acid (18:3 omega-6; ‘GLA’) and stearidonic acid (18:4 omega-3; ‘SDA’), are present in hempseed oil.

Subjective concerns over delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in hemp seed foods are not supported by scientific evidence.

Feeding the Revolution!

Feeding the Revolution!


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