Poppy seeds are a type of oilseed that are obtained from the opium poppy plant (Papaver somniferum) and have been used for traditional remedies for centuries. The tiny, kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilisations for thousands of years. These seeds are still widely used in many countries, especially in Central Europe and South Asia, where it is legally grown and sold in shops.
Health Benefits Of Consuming Poppy Seeds
The seeds are used whole or ground into meals as an ingredient in many foods – especially in pastries and breads – and they are pressed to yield poppy seed oil. Here are a few health benefits of poppy seeds.
1. Rich in nutrients and antioxidants
Poppy seeds, like any other seeds are rich in fibre, various nutrients, and healthy plant fats. These seeds are also rich in manganese, a trace element that is important for bone health and blood clotting. It helps the body utilise amino acids, carbs and fats. In addition, poppy seeds are high in copper, which is needed to make connective tissue and iron transportation in the body.
2. Relieves pain
The poppy plant contains codeine, thebaine, and several other opium alkaloids which are known for their pain relieving, calming, and sleep inducing properties. These alkaloids are at most times present in the poppy pod’s milky white liquid, poppy latex.
3. Aids digestion
Poppy seeds are an excellent source of fibre. Fibre helps in improving gut health thereby promoting digestion, reducing constipation and allowing easy passage of food through the alimentary canal.
4. Keeps several illnesses at bay
The antioxidants in poppy seeds help in protecting the body from cellular damage and various illnesses.
5. Boosts heart and skin health
Poppy seed oil has mono and polyunsaturated fats, which is beneficial for heart and skin. Research also suggests that fats found in poppy seed oil may also support wound healing, as well as prevent scaly lesions when applied directly to the wound on the skin.
6. Good for thyroid and treating diabetes
Poppy seeds play a crucial role in proper thyroid functioning due to its rich zinc content. Zinc is a prominent element helpful for proper functioning of thyroid glands. Poppy seeds should occupy an integral place in a diabetes patients’ diet. The manganese present in the seeds helps in the treatment of diabetes.
7. Promotes mental health
Dry poppy seeds contain very small levels of opium alkaloids, which have beneficial effects on the human body. These seeds help in soothing nervous irritability thereby acting as a painkiller. Poppy seed drinks can also decrease the levels of cortisol in our body, which in turn can help in reducing stress levels and hyperactive emotion.