“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison
As the Edison quote suggests, healthy living incorporates diet, exercise, getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated, as well as doing our best not to deplete our own internal resources.
Consider this: for most of our history, hemp, which is chock full of omega-6 and 3 in a favourable 3:1 ratio, as well as all 9 essential easily digestible amino acids (protein building blocks), fiber, minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin E, was a natural part of our diets. If we didn’t eat it, the animals that we ate, ate it. “We are what we eat ate” literally. When cannabis was outlawed, so was hemp. Cue the exit of a huge contributor to health. The feed for much factory farmed livestock (which for a millenia had hemp in the grazing fields) was replaced with soy and corn. This ill advised, prohibition imposed switch up resulted in the polyunsaturated fats in the meat being mostly omega-6.
We can think of anything we put into our bodies (including thoughts and attitudes) as information that our body decodes and processes. That information either supports our mental and physical health, or it detracts from it. Digging a little deeper into the ‘whys’ of how our bodies respond is not only fascinating, but helpful in ensuring that all systems are ‘go’.
The importance of working with all of our systems, including our endocannabinoid system, is pivotal to not only lifespan but health span. And not only physical but mental wellbeing.
For instance, fatty acids, such as omega-6 and omega-3, are among the substances that can be synthesized into endocannabinoids, which interact with the endocannabinoid system. Taking these fatty acids in enhances our body’s ability to synthesize cannabis and receive the full effects of the plant.
Omega-6 and 3 are named ‘essential’ oils because the body cannot produce them on their own, so they need to come from a food source. Omegas affect cell membrane health and inflammation levels.
Some pro-inflammatory response is necessary to help protect the body from infection and injury. Too much inflammation is thought to be at the root of many pervasive modern day diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and some types of cancer and heart disease.
Did you know: diseases that end in ‘itis’ like bursitis, arthritis, bronchitis, appendicitis are literally inflammation based? .
It’s entirely possible that correcting levels of inflammatory compounds vs. non-inflammatory will go a long way in controlling some of these diseases. It’s all about balance and ratios. Scientists believe omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. We do need both.
Consider cannabis within this scenario. We know that non-impairing CBD in cannabis can decrease inflammation levels. Doing your best to keep your inflammation levels down through dietary considerations, like a good healthy omega 6 to 3 ratio, will not only help keep inflammation in check but will help cannabis do its job in keeping inflammation in check.
In praise of hemp: As mentioned, one food that is favorably balanced in omega-6 to omega-3 combination is hemp at 3:1. It’s also great for fiber and protein, minerals as well as some vitamins. Hemp hearts can be purchased at health food stores and supermarkets. They taste great and give a little texture to salads, sandwiches, yogurt and breakfast cereals. Start with a teaspoon a day and eventually work your way up to 2 tbs. There is no CBD or THC in hemp hearts from the grocery store.
There is a lot more to this concept in terms of receptors and how everything interrelates. A simple start though in helping to lower inflammation is to:
- Add things like hemp hearts to your diet,
- Take in a good quality daily cold-pressed omega-3 with an antioxidant like vitamin E, -lower your intake of omega-6 oils by avoiding processed foods and processed vegetable oils. (Processed foods and their oils are infamously high in omega-6, with no omega-3 to balance ratio).
- Check nutrition sites for healthy sources of omegas.
- Try to source grass-fed meat and cold water fish.
- Consider adding CBD strains of cannabis in oil, powder or full flower form to your daily intake.
- As you learn, one of your greatest tools will be a simple journal. Be mindful. Note effects and observations. Give it time.
Syn-er-gis-tic: Relating to the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
Cannabis works best as a synergistic plant. Our bodies work best as synergistic systems.
Here is to mindful, synergistic, healthy self-care!!
— Kait Shane, Community Outreach Educator Natural Health Services and Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant (CHNC). Follow Natural Health Services on Twitter @NatHealthserve.
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