The Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Poppy Seeds Or Khus Khus
White Poppy Seeds
About The Poppy Plant
Latin Name ; Papaver somniferum.
The plant is called Opium poppy and its seeds are called poppy seeds.
In India, poppy seeds are called 'Khas Khas'.
Poppy seeds or khas khas have been used by ancient civilizations for their medicinal benefits in folk remedies for over 3000 years.
Poppy seeds are tiny kidney shaped seeds that are used as a food ingredient in various cuisines around the world. They are so tiny that it takes over 3000 seeds to weigh just 1 gram.
The seeds are harvested only after the seed pod has dried fully due to which its narcotic content gets extremely low. Opium is harvested when the pods are green and has a good amount of latex but the seeds have just started to grow. Latex is the source of opium.
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Poppy Seed Grinder
The seeds also yield poppy seed oil. After removing the oil, the resultant seed cake is used in animal feeds. Bird seed mixtures also contain poppy seeds These seeds are also given to pet birds to treat gastrointestinal problems.
Poppy seeds come mainly in white and black colors but they are available in brown and slate blue as well.
Of all the varieties of poppy, only the seeds of the opium poppy are edible, the rest are cultivated for their flowers. Primarily though poppy seeds have been used in food and cooking, also as a spice, condiment and also to garnish and thicken food.
They are used in ayurvedic medicine too. The poppy seed oil has culinary, pharmaceutical and medicinal uses. It is also used in paints, varnishes and soaps.
They are also used in baked goods, desserts, candies, etc
Poppy seeds contain very low levels of opiates.
Poppy seeds can be ground by using a mortar and pestle or by a special poppy seed grinder which produces a fine yet less oily paste of the seeds as compared to a conventional grinder.
Dried Poppy Seed Pods
Black Poppy Seeds
Nutrition In Poppy Seeds
Some of the nutritional benefits of poppy seeds are :
- The seeds are extremely rich in oleic and linoleic acids and also contain many essential volatile oils. The oil content of the seeds is 45 - 50%.
- 100 grams of poppy seeds provide 51% of the daily requirement of dietary fiber.
- They are excellent source of the Bcomplex vitamins like thiamin and pantothenic acid and also contain good amounts of folates, pyridoxine and riboflavin.
- Poppy seeds contain moderate amounts of Vitamin E and potassium.
- However, they have exceptionally high amounts of the minerals calcium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium as well as are moderately rich in selenium.
- Dry poppy seeds have extremely low levels of opium alkaloids like morphine, codeine papaverine etc so when added to food they hardly affect the nervous system.
Nutrition In Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds (Papaver somniferum),
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits Of Poppy Seeds
- The oleic acid in poppy seeds reduces the risk of breast cancer while the linoleic acid prevents risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Since poppy seeds reduce calcium absorption they help to prevent formation of kidney stones.
- Because of the abundance of calcium and phosphorus minerals, poppy seeds help to maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis. additionally these 2 minerals keep the heart muscles and nerve impulses working optimally.
- The zinc and iron help in boosting the immune system as well as performing neurological functions well and maintain the cell and neurological development,
- The dietary fiber and oleic acid aid in reducing cholesterol levels.
- Poppy seeds aid in relieving respiratory problems like astha and cough. They also help in promoting sleep.
- A paste made of poppy seeds provides relief in joint pains.
- The zinc aids in production of sperm.
- In Ayurvedic medicine poppy seeds are used to prepare a moisturizer for the skin.
- Poppy seeds relieve colic, abdominal pain and sciatica. They also control dysentery.
Poppy seeds are the least allergic of all nuts and seeds. They are safe for consumption by even pregnant women. Though the levels of narcotic compounds are low to cause any effects, consuming foods having poppy seeds can give a false result when tested for banned opiates. This can affect people like sportsmen or those who travel abroad and are blood tested.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
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