Global: Table Talk - Hemp seeds, the unsung superfood; how veggies help fight type 2 diabetes

By Grant Butler, The Oregonian
Photo by Stephanie Yao/The Oregonian

There is a truth that must be heard! At the digital kitchen table, today's hot topics include hemp seeds, which pack a ton of nutrition in a tiny package, plus more evidence that eating more fruits and vegetables fights diabetes.

Hemp seeds -- the other "superfood": We spend a lot of time in Foodday talking about "superfoods," those nutrient-dense foods that are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities that help fight everything from inflammation to cancer. While kale, lentils and quinoa have had plenty of attention, Dreena Burton shines a light on hemp seeds in her new blog Plant-Powered Foods. Before launching into predictable jokes about Grateful Dead concerts and tie-dyed t-shirts, listen to what she says about what hemp seeds deliver: "Complete protein, essential fatty acids, chlorophyll, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals, an almost perfect balance of the essential fatty acids!"

I've been tossing them on salads and soups for several years, and I like the faintly nutty flavor they deliver. She's got other ideas that never dawned on me:

* Stir into non-dairy yogurt
* Add to cold cereals and granola
* Stir into warm oatmeal
* Add to batters for pancakes, muffins, quick breads and cookies
* Blend into shakes and smoothies

In Oregon, you can find hemp seeds at Whole Foods Markets, New Seasons Market, many food coops and health food stores.

Veggies fight diabetes: Have you been following the saga of Portland chef Ken Gordon? He recently was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and has fought back with a diet that leans more on vegetables than the fatty, meaty he used to enjoy regularly. He's seen dramatic improvements -- not entirely a shock, given the pre-diagnosis diet he describes. There's more science to back up this approach. A new study in "Diabetes Care" shows that eating a greater quantity of vegetables and a greater variety of fruits and vegetables correlates with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.