The cannabis plant, hemp in particular, is so versatile that you can use it to make fabrics, improve skin health and build houses. But one Chinese village is also proving how by adding hemp seed to your diet it may be possible to live to over 100 years old. In the village of Bama Yao, China, there are no cars and a population of only 300,000 people. But this tiny hemp-eating community is boasting 73 centenarians, or residents with ages way into the 100’s – one of the highest numbers in the world.
These amazing individuals also rarely suffer from health problems. So what’s the secret to a life of longevity? Scientists have studied the population of the Bama county and found their secret is their diet, which actually contains lots of hemp seeds.
Blue zone living
Although it’s technically not considered one, many people believe that Bama Yao should be added to the list of ‘blue zones’ because of its statistically high number of residents who live to be over 100. Essentially, this means that people from this area have a healthy life which results in a high proportion of centenarians. Others include Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, Okinawa in Japan, Icaria in Greece and Loma Linda, California.
One research study discovered 9 main commonalities within blue zones. Similarly, the communities live mainly from a plant-based diet.
All of these ‘centenarians’ have diets that feature superfoods like chia seeds, quinoa or like the people of Bama Yao, hemp seeds. They also get daily moderate exercise and have a sense of faith or purpose in their lives. In blue zones, the water and air quality is also very clean.
It’s becoming more well known that plant-based diets have a number of health benefits. Especially when you include superfoods like hemp seeds. This high fiber way of eating is great for digestive health. Not to mention that all the antioxidants and plant sterols you consume with this type of diet can reduce the risk for cancer.
Hemp seeds are Bama’s health secret
The people of Bama Yao say eating liberal amounts of hemp seeds and hemp seed oil contributes to their population of centenarians. As a result, they consume them twice a day in the form of a broth called ‘Houmayou’. This broth is a staple in the Bama region. But hemp as a food, medicine and material also has a long history of tradition in China.
By looking at what hemp seeds contain, we can understand why this village’s residents are incredibly healthy.
Why are hemp seeds so healthy?
Hemp seeds come from the cannabis plant just like CBD. And similarly, they also have no psychoactive effects. When it comes to hemp seeds, there are numerous health benefits which make them an excellent addition to our diets.
They’re high in fiber, which is great for the digestive system and helps deliver nutrients to our bodies’ good bacteria. (1) They pack tons of perfect ‘whole’ protein too – 25% of their total calories. In fact, hemp seeds are the only one of the only plant-based proteins containing all 20 amino acids, including the 9 vital ones which we can only obtain from food (2).
Among some of the essential vitamins and minerals hemp seeds contain are: potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.(3). Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in hemp seeds which is known for balancing cholesterol and fighting ‘free radicals’. Vitamin E reduces the damage that free radicals do to our bodies and in turn that lessens the ageing effects they have.
However, hemp seeds’ main health kick comes from the Omega 3 and 6 oils that they hold. These are ‘good’ fats which are crucial to our health. The benefits are endless; they contribute to brain function as we age, they’re anti-inflammatory which is great for dry skin, and they improve heart health.
GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is a type of Omega 6 found in hemp seed oil. It’s been linked to health benefits like reducing inflammation, improving arthritis and helping diabetes. A 2014 study linked reduced inflammation in the body and with a reduced risk of heart disease.
So, there you have it. If you want to live a long and healthy life, take it from the Bama Yao people that hemp seeds are a great addition to your daily diet.
Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Crucially, they’re also rich in Omega 3 and 6. This contributes to health benefits like great skin, better brain function and improved heart health, just to name a few.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out my article on how you can incorporate these little miracles into your diet. Just remember to combine hemp with daily exercise, a plant-based diet and a little purpose in your life for the winning formula of centenarians.