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Poppy Seeds: Benefits, Side Effects, Nutrition & More

3 min read
Poppy Seeds: Benefits, Side Effects, Nutrition & More

What Are Poppy Seeds?

Poppy seeds are tiny kidney-shaped edible seeds in grey colour. As per the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the edible oilseeds present in opium are called poppy seeds. Opium is a light drug manufactured from the poppy flower. However, the poppy seeds do not contain the narcotic elements in opium like codeine or morphine. The seeds are used to produce oil or added to foods for taste and decoration.

Poppy Seeds Nutrition

Poppy seeds are rich in minerals. 100 g poppy seeds contain 525 calories. The total fat component in 100 g poppy seeds is 42 g, and protein is 18 g. These seeds also contain 19.5 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar, 26 mg sodium, 1438 g calcium, 1.63 mg copper, 9.7 mg iron, 347 mg magnesium, 870 mg phosphorus, and 719 mg potassium.

Poppy Seeds Benefits

The following are some of the most significant poppy seeds benefits:

1. Helps In Constipation

Poppy seeds are an excellent ingredient for improving gut health. As they are rich in fiber, poppy seeds aid bowel movement and help get relief from constipation.

2. Helpful In Cancer Treatment

Study suggests that poppy seed oil is beneficial in removing tumours from the body. A mixture of iodized poppy seed oil and other anticancer agents used as arterial-injection therapy resulted in the reduction of tumor size in the body.

3. Prevents Goiter

Poppy seeds contain high amounts of iodine. Interestingly, the iodine content in poppy seeds is more than iodized salt and iodized peanut oil. Therefore, poppy seeds are beneficial for people with iodine deficiency. Since one of the causes of goiter is iodine deficiency, consuming an adequate amount of poppy seeds can prevent the disease.

4. Helps In Insomnia

As per research, magnesium promotes the synthesis of serotonin hormone in the body that relaxes the mind. It promotes better sleep. Since poppy seeds are a rich source of magnesium, they help treat insomnia. Research also suggests that protein in poppy seed drinks stimulates serotonin hormone and regulates the sleep cycle.

5. Prevents Kidney Stones

Poppy seeds contain oleic acid that prevents the formation of kidney stones. As per research, oxalates present in poppy seeds reduce calcium intake in the body. It also prevents kidney stones.

6. Improves Skin Texture

Since poppy seeds are rich in antioxidants, they improve skin texture. The fatty acids present in the seeds make skin smooth and soft and give a healthy glow.

7. Boosts Immunity

Poppy seeds contain vitamin C that acts as an antioxidant and helps fight infections.

8. Reduces Joint Pain

Poppy seeds are also helpful in treating pain and swelling in joints. The morphine alkaloid in poppy seed oil is beneficial in reducing pain.

9. Improves Bone Density

Since poppy seeds have high amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and other minerals, they improve bone density.

10. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases

Poppy seeds contain unsaturated fatty acids like oleic and linoleic acids that improve heart health by regulating the bad cholesterol level in the body. Therefore, poppy acids improve heart health and prevent strokes.

Poppy Seeds vs Sesame Seeds

The texture and look of poppy seeds are similar to sesame seeds. Therefore, sesame seeds are also added to foods as a substitute for poppy seeds. However, sesame seeds have low fiber content. The amount of protein, carbohydrates, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Potassium in poppy seeds is higher than in sesame seeds. On the other hand, sesame seeds have more food energy, lipids, Iron and Copper, and Magnesium. The amount of sugar in sesame seeds is also less as compared to poppy seeds.

How to Use Poppy Seeds in Cooking?

Poppy seeds are used as toppings on baked pieces of bread, cookies, and rolls. They are also used as salad dressings for a crunchy taste and as spices in various foods. Poppy seeds can either be roasted or added to a variety of foods for garnishing. Many people also grind poppy seeds to make a thick paste. You can also add it to curries for flavour.

Poppy Seeds Side Effects

Poppy seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition. However, there can be some adverse effects of poppy seeds. Even though poppy seeds do not contain addictive narcotic substances like morphine, they can still enter the seeds due to poor harvesting. Excess consumption of poppy seeds may result in drowsiness or difficulty in breathing. There are some cases where adding poppy seeds while boiling tea proved fatal because the alkaloids were added into water and led to oxygen shortage in the body.


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