Widely popular in cuisines all over, poppy seeds are extracted from the opium poppy which goes by the scientific name Papaver somniferum. Poppy seeds find utility in different cuisines throughout the world like Indian, Austrian, Croatian, Czech, German, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Lithuanian, Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish cuisines and even find mention in the medical texts and scriptures of most of the ancient civilizations. Contrary to the nature of the opium poppy, poppy seeds do not possess any narcotic property and because of its nutty flavor and nice aroma, poppy seeds are popularly used as condiments and as a vital ingredient in food.
Poppy seeds are well known in almost all the states of India. They are known as ‘Khus Khus’ in Hindi and form a part of almost all kinds of cuisines of India due to its crispy nature. There are three different kinds of poppy seeds which are readily available in the markets and the supermarkets. Among them the variants which are the most used are:
The Indian/ Asian variety of poppy seeds which are white in color.
The Oriental Poppy Seeds which are also known as Opium Poppy
The European variety of Poppy Seeds which are blue in color.
Other than cooking, poppy seeds are also used as a vital ingredient in cakes, pastries, glaze, filling and porridge. Poppy seeds find utility in the manufacturing industry as well in the production of paint, soap and varnish. Besides being a delicious condiment to be used in food and in baking, poppy seeds are quite significant in maintaining the overall health quotient of our body. People generally use poppy seeds for abating asthma, constipation, diarrhea and cough propagated by some kind of infection, for cutting out insomnia, and for treating a medical condition called vesicoenteric fistula.
The health benefits of poppy seeds can be numerous. Among them, the 10 most significant advantages are listed below:
Help improve digestive abilities:
For people suffering from constipation, the dietary fiber content in poppy seeds (which is around 2 grams) initiate the contractions of the smooth muscles that are required for forcing the food through the digestive panel. This works to improve the digestive gaps in your systems and combat constipation in the long run. Poppy seeds can contribute majorly in the daily intake content of dietary fibers which are around 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women.
Help foster the formation of red blood cells (RBCs):
The minerals copper and iron are found aplenty in poppy seeds. A daily consumption of poppy seeds will supply the body with the above minerals to assist in the formation of the red blood cells in the body. Other than the deficiency of RBCs in the body, a dearth in the consumption of iron can result in anemia, muscular weakness and continuous fatigue in a person.
Work as an agent in the body’s antioxidant defense:
A tablespoon full of poppy seeds comprises about 8% of the essential mineral manganese. Manganese is an important component of certain enzymes in the body that contribute to boosting antioxidant defense mechanisms.
Help in the management of the blood pressure of the body:
Poppy seeds are also rich sources of potassium. A tablespoon of poppy seeds consist of 62.9 milligrams of potassium and folate in them. This combination of the essential nutrients present in the poppy seeds function to bring down the hypertension of a person and helps in relaxing blood vessels. This further result in the proper maintenance of the blood flow in the body.
They can fight off insomnia:
Magnesium is a proven element that shows direct results in improving the duration, the quality and the pattern of sleep. Poppy seeds contain a rather higher percentage of magnesium in them which also contribute towards balancing the metabolic rate of the body, in the treatment of sleep apnea and to reduce sleep related disorders and insomnia.
Contribute towards boosting the cognitive functioning of the body:
The presence of iron in the poppy seeds is directly linked to the increased production of hemoglobin in the blood and in augmenting the blood flow in the body. The circulation system is kept regulated by supplying the appropriate amount of oxygen and iron in the body. The brain too needs iron for its proper functioning and to reduce the disorders related to cognitive functioning in the likes of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Strengthen the bones in the body:
Poppy seeds are great sources of zinc as well in addition to the other minerals. Zinc has a substantial contribution towards fostering the mineral density in the bones, bone strength and in boosting the health of the bones altogether.
Help cure and prevent mouth ulcers:
Because of the cooling sensation provided by the poppy seeds, they are known to heal mouth ulcers. Though not yet scientifically proven, a few anecdotal studies have hinted at the possible curing effect of the poppy seeds on mouth ulcers. For instant relief to mouth ulcers, you can mix together a bit of quashed dry coconut, powdered sugar or sugar candy and properly grounded poppy seeds. For a relatively easier and a much effective application, you can mould the mixture in a pellet form and gently suck on it to get immediate relief from the mouth ulcers.
Increases your stamina and your energy:
Since the poppy seeds are high on the complex carbohydrate content, poppy seeds are the direct sources of this macronutrient which is the direct source of energy to the body. The poppy seeds are the absorbers of calcium present in the body, a function that keeps you miles away from feeling tired and worn out all day.
Help enhance fertility in women:
Studies indicate that poppy seed oil has a pivotal role to play in improving the fertility in a woman. The poppy seed oil can absorb and disintegrate any blockages or debris present in the fallopian tubes which reduce the chances of pregnancy. Cleansing the tubes with poppy seed oil helps in the dissolution of any such mucus in the fallopian tubes. This technique, also famously known as hysterosalpingography, improved the fertility of around 40% women, who were otherwise thought of as infertile, and resulted in successful pregnancies. In addition to improving fertility, poppy seeds can also bring a positive change in the sexual health of a person. The regular intake of poppy seeds is known to increase the libido and the sexual desire as they consist of lingus, a compound directly responsible for regulating a person’s sexual desire.