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Benefits and Nutritional Values of Poppy Seeds

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December 2nd, 2016

Poppy seeds are the dried seeds of the poppy seed plant or Papaver somniferum. It is an annual herb that grows to about 3 feet (100 cm). The plant is often grown for its flowers which are up to 1/3 inch (120 mm) in diameter. The impressive flowers come in a multitude of colors such as white, red, mauve and at times with darker colorations at the base.

The small seeds are kidney shaped and have been harvested for centuries in many cultures. Generally the seeds are used either whole or are ground. Today, poppies are cultivated in India, China, Japan, the Mediterranean, Russia, Argentina and Eastern Europe.

Nutritional Value

Poppy seeds are highly nutritious. For instance, just one teaspoon has 4 percent of the recommended daily value (DV) of both phosphorus and calcium. In addition, a teaspoon serving has only 14 calories yet contains 0.50 grams of protein, 0.78 grams of carbohydrates and 1.19 grams of fats. In addition, just 1 teaspoon provides 0.6 grams of fiber. Moreover, the fiber helps absorb water in the digestive tract which in turn eases any constipation issues. The fiber also helps lower blood LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Poppy seeds are also rich in B-complex vitamins as well as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folic acid, pyridoxine and pantothenic acid. They are also an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese.

Health benefits

For centuries, poppy seeds have been used to treat a variety of ailments and are renowned for their health benefits such as:

• Help with diarrhea
• Relive pain in swollen joints
• Treating nausea and vomiting
• Prevent heart disease and strokes
• Reduce dark circles under the eyes
• Lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL)
• Increase good cholesterol levels (HDL)
• Helps respiratory issues like asthma and chronic cough

Taste

Poppy seeds are renowned for their culinary uses. They are often sprinkled on baked goods like cakes and bread, made into delicious muffins, used in protein bars, seeds mixes for high energy and is an ingredient in special syrups and candies.

There are two main culinary poppy seeds:

Elka is the less common of the two types of seed. It is white in color and comes from the somniferum poppy. They are a lot sweeter than the dark blue/gray type. They also contain more oil (fat).

Breadseed poppy (P. somniferum) is the most popular and are dark blue/gray in color. They have a pleasing and nutty flavor with a slight crunch. Breadseed poppy seeds are generally used in sweet tasting baked goods which hide their bitter taste.

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