In this article, we will show you the amazing health benefits of poppy seeds. Poppy seeds are widely used in Central Europe and Asia, where they are grown and sold in shops. They are used in several dishes and are also pressed to obtain poppy seed oil. The seeds have been mentioned for their various health benefits in many ancient texts from various civilizations (1).
Poppy seeds are a rich source of linoleic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. The rich nutrient profile provides a wide range of benefits essential for maintaining good health. The seeds are not as famous all around the world as it should be. Through this article, we wish to inform you about the amazing benefits of poppy seeds.
Below are the 10 amazing health benefits of poppy seeds.
1. Improve Female Fertility
Researchers have found that using poppy seed oil to flush the fallopian tubes can boost fertility. The oil can dissolve any debris or mucus in the tubes and enhance fertility chances. In the study, 40 percent of infertile women who had their fallopian tubes infused with poppy seed water achieved successful pregnancies. Moreover, 29 percent of the infertile women in the test group achieved successful pregnancies. This technique is called hysterosalpingography.
Poppy seeds also contain lignans which are compounds known to boost libido and sexual desire. Therefore they are quite effective in enhancing sexual health.
2. Enhance Digestion
Poppy seeds are a good source of insoluble fiber. This is very helpful in keeping your digestion functions running smoothly. It also increases the bulk of the stool and helps treat constipation. Fiber increases the bulk of the food by absorbing water down the digestive tract and thereby helps in curing constipation.
3. Cure Sleeplessness
Experts believe that drinking poppy seed tea lowers the cortisol levels in the body. It eventually brings down stress and leads to a calming effect. The study they conducted found that the circadian rhythms in the test subjects showed a marked improvement. Also, the individuals felt less fatigued.
Amongst poppy seeds, opium poppy is known to be particularly effective in inducing sleep. Drink poppy seed tea before you go to bed to enjoy better sleep. Consult your doctor before giving it to kids.
4. Cure Mouth Ulcers
Anecdotal evidence points out that poppy seeds can aid in curing mouth ulcers. The cooling effect provided by the poppy seeds on the body plays a role in mouth ulcer treatment. Scientific data is limited on this, so more research is warranted.
5. Boost Energy
Carbohydrates are macronutrients that our body needs for energy. Poppy seeds are a rich source for complex carbohydrates. Consuming them regularly will ensure you have enough energy to last the entire day. The seeds also absorb calcium, the disruption of which is linked to fatigue.
6. Improve Brain Health
Poppy seeds provide nutrients like calcium, copper, and iron which are highly essential for brain health. These minerals help regulation of neurotransmitters a great deal which enhances brain function.
Poppy seeds are also considered to lower the risk of cognitive disorder. However, further research is required in order to study its effects.
7. Strengthen Bones
Poppy seeds have high calcium and copper contents. Calcium enhances bone health, while the copper strengthens the bones as well as the connective tissue. The seeds are also rich in phosphorus, which, along with calcium, makes up part of the bone tissue. Manganese present in the poppy seeds boosts the production of collagen, a protein that guards your bones against severe damage.
8. Regulate Blood Pressure
The oleic acid in poppy seeds aids in controlling blood pressure levels. The fiber also binds to bile salts and avoids them from getting absorbed in the colon. This further decreases blood LDL cholesterol levels.
9. Boost The Immune System
The zinc in poppy seeds strengthens the immune system and also wards off lower respiratory ailments. Poppy seeds also increase the production of immune cells in the body. The presence of iron in the seeds help in this process.
10. Improve Heart Health
According to one study, the cholesterol content in a food item is lowered with a higher amount of poppy seed oil. Adding the oil to your regular diet will benefit your heart significantly. The dietary fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels which further improves heart health.
Poppy seeds are also rich in omega-6 fatty acids which as we all know come with great health benefits. One such benefit is protecting the heart from disease. Omega-3s are essential for our body and poppy seeds are a great source to obtain them.
11. Aid In Diabetes Treatment
But since research is limited on this aspect, it is better to consult your doctor before consuming poppy seeds.
12. Promote Vision Health
A few studies have shown that zinc is very effective in improving vision health and also in preventing serious eye diseases like macular degeneration. The antioxidants in poppy seeds are also beneficial to the eyes.
13. Prevent Cancer
The drug called noscapine produced from the derivatives of the opium poppy seeds has shown the ability to fight tumors and even shrink the breast and prostate cancer cells. It can also stop cancer cell proliferation.
A study conducted by an Indian team found that poppy seeds can increase the activity of a carcinogen-detoxifying enzyme called glutathione-S-transferase (GST) by as much as 78%. This is high enough to consider poppy seed as a potent supplement for cancer treatment.
14. Help Treat Kidney Stones
Potassium, which is one of the nutrients present in poppy seeds, is known to offer protection against and even treat kidney stones. However, a report published by the University of Maryland Medical Center stated that individuals with hyperoxaluria should limit intake of poppy seeds, as they are high in oxalic acid. SO to be safe, check with your doctor before taking poppy seeds.
15. Enhance Thyroid Function
Poppy seeds can play a vital role in ensuring the optimal functioning of the thyroid gland. This benefit can be credited to the rich content of zinc present in the seeds.
Also in numerous parts of the world, iodinated poppy seed oil has been used in order to treat iodine deficiency, which is often the cause of thyroid dysfunction.
16. Have Analgesic Effects
Poppy seeds have been used as an analgesic or to relieve pain since ancient times. They contain very small levels of opium alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, papaverine, thebaine, etc. which act as painkillers and also help soothe nervous irritability.
According to a report by Purdue University, the analgesic effects of poppy seeds are especially potent in the opium variety.
17. Help Treat Eczema And Inflammation
The high content of linolenic acid in poppy seeds makes them effective in treating eczema. Applying poppy seeds paste mixed with water or milk along with lime juice topically helps in curing burns and skin itchiness. The painkiller properties of the seeds can also relieve the pain caused by skin inflammation.
18. Moisturize Skin
Poppyseed paste can also be used as a moisturizer. The antioxidants and other essential nutrients in the seeds make your skin smooth and soft. For dry skin, you need to add some honey to the paste before applying it all over your face. Wash it off after 10 minutes. Keep applying the paste once in a week and you will get all the required moisture to your skin.
19. Help Achieve Clear Skin
Using a poppy seed scrub to cleanse your face will make the skin look clear and blemish-free. Rub the mixture of poppy seeds and curd on your face and neck and massage for 10 minutes. Remove the paste off using a cotton ball and wash your face with lukewarm water. Doing this regularly will result in clear skin and a glowing complexion.
20. Improves Hair Health
Poppy seeds provide many essential minerals like calcium, zinc, and magnesium and unsaturated fatty acids that are required to maintain the health of the hair.
Using a mixture of soaked poppy seeds along with hung curd and a teaspoon of white pepper on your scalp can help in reducing dandruff. Regular use will significantly reduce the recurrence of dandruff also.
Treating your hair with a poppy seed mask made with freshly extracted coconut milk and pulped onion can stimulate hair growth. It can also help treat split ends. However, the data to back this is limited and further research is warranted.
We hope these benefits of poppy seeds have convinced you to immediately make it part of your daily routine. The seeds are very safe to use as food and contain very negligible quantities of toxic alkaloids of the opium poppy. Just make sure they are fresh and of good quality. They can turn rancid easily due to the high content of polyunsaturated fats making them vulnerable to oxidation. Store the poppy seeds in a cool, dry, and dark place away from moisture using an airtight container. This will ensure they stay fresh for up to 6 months.