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Hemp: A Recipe for Brain Health

Culinary medicine for better brain nutrition

My clients obtain consistently positive results for their brain health and savvy mental health nutrition when they add hemp into their diet. I suggest to them that they eat hemp daily in the form of organic hemp oil, raw hemp seeds and hemp milk. It is an ideal way to provide support for brain focus, balanced mood and a pain-free body. Culinary hemp oil may be added to salad dressings or smoothies (just a tablespoon a day) and I provide you with two recipes below.

Hemp is a rich source of plant- based protein, and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Hemp is also an excellent good source of GLA (gamma linoleic acid) and it is an ideal to decrease the inflammation of depression, autoimmune disorders and hormonal imbalances, that can occur with peri menopause, menopause and andropause. Auto immune and hormonal imbalances occur at a significant rate in people with PTSD, histories of chronic stress. I write extensively in my book Rhythms of Recovery: Trauma Nature and the Body about the relationships between PTSD and physical illness. GLA from Hemp is especially useful for helping children and adults who experience the co-occurring complex of dermatological and mental health imbalances of psoriasis, eczema and acne along with depression and anxiety.

Hemp milk is an excellent substitute for dairy and may be used in coffee or cereal for children and adults. Cow’s dairy has been linked to auto immune diseases like diabetes type one, chronic ear infections in children and food allergies/sensitivities in individuals with neurodevelopmental challenges.

 Theodor von Hörmann [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Source: Hemp Harvesting: Theodor von Hörmann [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Another form of Hemp oil is called CBD hemp oil. It is a non-psychoactive form of hemp oil enriched with Cannabidiol (CBD). Ethan Russo, MD, a neurologist who is one of the leading proponents of the medical application of CBD and medical cannabis for the treatment of a variety of disorders, has coined the term "endocannabinoid deficiency" which he suggests underlies a number of mental health symptoms including eating disorders (which I address in an earlier blog).The landscape for purchasing CBD-rich hemp oil is changing weekly so explore your options.

Enjoy these hemp recipes from my latest book:The Good Mood Kitchen: Simple Recipes and Nutrition Tips for Emotional Balance (Copyright 2017 Leslie Korn Norton Press.)

Cold-pressed hemp oil and seeds are available the refrigerated section of your health food store.

Brain Bolt Dressing

One of the essentials of mental health is to make your own salad dressing. It can be simple or elaborate, but homemade can be medicine for the brain whereas store-bought dressings will never be. Nearly any dressing will do, but this is one of my favorites. You can make a jar of it and then add some different herbs each day so it is varied for your week of salads. This recipe makes about 2 cups of dressing.


3/4. c. extra- virgin olive oil

¼ c. organic hemp oil

10 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

8 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. dark agave, pure maple syrup, or raw honey

1 tsp. sea salt

2–3 minced cloves garlic, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Whisk all the ingredients together and store in a glass jar. Will keep for 1 week.

Optional add- ins: 4 tsp. Dijon mustard, 2 tsp. curry powder.

Mood- Savvy Salad

Every ingredient in this salad is rich and nourishing for the first and the second brain. The kale nourishes the microbiome, celery is a natural sedative, the beets and lemon support the gallbladder and mood, sea salt supports adrenal function, and the fats from avocado, olive oil, and walnuts nourish the mood and cognition. Eat this salad for lunch or dinner or use it as a raw side dish to a hearty stew.


1 bunch lacinato kale

1 tsp. sea salt

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 avocado, peeled and pitted

2 tbsp. olive oil

1–2 tsp. fresh minced garlic

1 c. shredded beets

Raw walnuts, as desired

¼ c. Hemp seeds.

Wedge of goat cheese (optional)


1. Remove stems and chop the kale leaves. Place them in a bowl and add the salt; gently rub the salt into the kale. Add celery and lemon juice and mix.

2. Mix the avocado and olive oil in a bowl with the minced garlic and pour over the salad, mixing well. Top the salad with beets and walnuts. Serve with goat cheese, if using.

Enjoy! To learn more, or contact me:


Korn, Leslie.The Good Mood Kitchen: Simple Recipes and Nutrition Tips for Emotional Balance
Norton, 2017

Korn, Leslie Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health, Norton, 2016

More from Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, FNTP
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More from Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, FNTP
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