Poppy seeds or (khus khus in hindi ) are nutritious seeds and are used as condiments in cooking. They are nutty and pleasant in taste. The seeds are obtained from the dry fruits or pods of the poppy plant and are entirely free from any sinister side effects of other poppy plant products such as opium poppy. Poppy seeds are believed to contain rich source of carbohydrates and calcium and are considered to be a good source of energy.
Even though opium and poppy seeds are correlated, poppy seeds do not contain any narcotic properties. Hence one can benefit from poppy seeds nutrition without the effects of opium. The fluid present in the bud which becomes opium is absent in the poppy seeds once the seeds are formed.
»Poppy seeds contain 45-50% of unsaturated essential fatty acids, which make it a good source of nutrition and health food. The poppy seeds health benefits can be seen in a variety of its use in foods and in medicinal properties.
»One of the health benefits of poppy seeds include consuming half teaspoon of poppy seeds to alleviate symptoms of asthma and whooping cough.
»The herbal concoction of the seeds is also beneficial in treating all kinds of nervous disorders. Apart from consuming poppy seeds in its raw form or toasted on bagels and sweet breads, a paste made from the poppy seeds can be used as a poultice in obtaining relief from swellings and joint pains.
»Finely ground powder made from poppy seeds can also be consumed to treat insomnia and diarrhoea. It also supplies essential enzymes and fatty acids as a form of nutrition. In ancient days, athletes would consume blend of poppy seeds with honey to ensure strength and good health.
»The oil derived from poppy seeds is used in various cosmetic preparations for the head and skin as balms and conditioners.
»The seeds are excellent source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamine, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin ,niacin and folic acid. Many of these vitamins functions as co-factors in substrate metabolism especially fats and carbohydrates.
»Poppy seeds contain good levels of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and magnesium. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis.
»Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the powerful anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
»The seeds are especially rich in oleic and linoleic acids. Oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids helps to prevent coronary artery diseases and strokes by favouring healthy blood lipid profile.
»In case you suffer from insomnia or fatigue, the milk extract of poppy seeds mixed with sugar is a great way to combat sleep problems.
»Poppy seeds outer coat is a good source of dietary fibre which helps ease constipation.
»Poppy seeds are highly nutritious seeds but they are known to affect drug tests. Consuming poppy seeds can lead to a drug tests being positive. This is due to the fact that poppy seeds and heroin come from the same plant- the opium poppy. During the collection of poppies, the opiates from the pods or the unripe seed capsules of the plant are transferred to the poppy seeds. This accounts for the positive result on a drug tests. Although having said this, poppy seeds are full of nutrition.
»As they are good source of calcium, they are very much beneficial for pregnant and lactating women.