The poppy plant is quite famous around the world.
Why? Because heroin and opium are produced from the sap of its seed pods.
But don't let that deter you from eating poppy seeds (a.k.a khus khus in Hindi). Because these tiny, crunchy black seeds are really good for your health.
So, here are 10 health benefits of poppy seeds and some other interesting facts that you probably did not know.
1. It Is Rich In Dietary Fibers
Every 100 g of poppy seeds contains 19.5 g of dietary fibers. That's a whopping 51% of your daily fiber requirement!
And though most of us are unlikely to ever eat so much in one go, even if you have a small amount of these seeds with your bread or in special delicacies (like aloo posto), you will feel full for a long period of time and will not suffer from constipation!
2. It Reduces Bad Cholesterol In Your Body
There are two types of cholesterol produced within our body. Good cholesterol (a.k.a HDL cholesterol), and bad cholesterol (a.k.a LDL and VLDL cholesterol, and triglycerides). And the reason why the former is better is because it increases fat deposition in the peripheries of your body, thus protecting your vital organs from drowning in fat and developing dangerous disorders.
The fiber-content of poppy seeds can reduce the uptake of fats from your gut, and therefore, is great for reducing the LDL cholesterol level in your blood.
3. It Is Good For Your Bones
One teaspoon of poppy seeds contains 4% of your daily requirement of calcium and phosphorus. That's a lot!
That's why having poppy seeds frequently is a great way to maintain the health of your bones over time.
4. It Can Help You Fall Asleep
Ask any Bengali and they will tell you how potent poppy seeds (a.k.a posto in Bengali) are at inducing sleep, especially the opium and white poppy seeds.
So, if you frequently suffer from insomnia or are quite stressed out, have some poppy-seed-stuffed bread or an Indian-style poppy paste curry, and you will definitely have a good night's sleep!
5. It Is Rich In B-complex Vitamins
The Vitamin B-complex is a set of 8 different vitamins. And from maintaining the shape of your red blood cells to helping you metabolize fats and carbohydrates in your body, they help you maintain your general health.
And poppy seeds are packed with a lot of these vitamins (if not all), namely vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), and B9 (folate).
6. It Can Prevent/Heal Mouth Ulcers
Recurring mouth ulcers are quite an annoyance. Plus, they are painful. And vitamin B deficiency is one of the reasons why we develop them.
So, if you often have these ulcers in your mouth, you should add poppy seeds to your diet, as these ulcers are a clear sign of vitamin B deficiency.
7. It Can Improve The Health Of Your Brain
Your brain might need healthy fats more than anything else to function properly, but it also requires a lot of essential minerals to keep it functioning optimally. And poppy seeds contain a large number of these like calcium, copper, and iron.
8. It Can Improve Your Eyesight
Poppy seeds are rich in zinc, which studies have shown to be beneficial for the macula of your eyes. So having them can improve your visual acuity.
9. It Can Prevent Cancer
According to a study conducted in India, poppy seeds contain chemicals that increase the concentration of the glutathione-S-transferase enzyme by almost 78%. And since this enzyme has the ability to scavenge carcinogens from our body, it is postulated that having poppy seeds can help you prevent cancer.
Plus, there's also the fact that a leading anti-cancer drug, noscapine, was developed from the extract of poppy seeds.
10. It Has Strong Analgesic Properties
Poppy seeds, especially the opium variety of poppy, is famous for its ability to reduce pain. So the next time you have a back ache or muscle pain, prepare a simple cup of poppy tea by boiling the seeds in water and then have it. Your pain will disappear quickly.
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