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What Are Flax Seeds?
In ancient Mesopotamia, flax seeds were grown for their nutritional value. These seeds, also known as linseed, have valuable oils that even today attract the attention of many nutritionists.
They are from Linaceae family, botanically known as Linum usitatissimum. This annual plant grows in both tropical and subtropical climates. It can reach up to 1.5 meters tall, and when it flourishes, one can see little blue flowers that are very attractive. The plant contains brown or golden yellow seeds. There are two types of cultivars; one is grown for its oilseeds and the other for its fiber.
What you must know is that flax seeds are very high in calories; 100 grams of seeds contain 543 calories. Although one must keep in minds this fact, seeds are, on the other hand, a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and other health-benefiting compounds.
One of the most important compounds is oleic acid. Apart from this acid, there are another omega- 3 essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and arachidonic acids. Due to this monounsaturated fatty acid, the seeds are able to lower LDL cholesterol and to increase HDL cholesterol. Omega – 3 acids also help with lowering blood pressure, and decrease the risk of strokes, coronary artery disease, colon, prostate and breast cancer. They are mandatory for normal infant development and the maturation of nervous system.
Due to the lignans they contain, they are great antioxidant food as well. On the other hand, they contain vitamin E, a lipid-soluble antioxidant that is necessary for skin protection and required for maintaining mucus membranes.
Seeds are rich with niacin thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, and folates.
Manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium are all present is flax seeds as well.
As for the side effects, flax seeds can cause stomach pain, and laxative diarrhea when eaten in large amounts. Apart from this, they have no harmful effects on health when used in moderation.
How Beneficial Are Poppy Seeds?
Poppy seeds were very popular in Ancient Egypt, India, and Persia. They belong to Papaveraceae family, and their scientific name is Popaver somniferum. These biennial herb origins are in East Mediterranean countries and Asia Minor. To be able to grow, the plant needs sunny and fertile soil, and when these conditions are optimum, it can grow up to 5 feet in height.
During spring, blue, red, white, or lilac flowers turn into oval or globular shaped fruit, in fact, capsules. One fruit capsule or head contains many tiny, bean-shaped seeds that can be light gray, dark gray, and black depending on the cultivar type. They are commonly used as a condiment in cooking due to their pleasant and nutty taste, but they are known as seeds with high nutritional value and antioxidant properties.
The recognizable nutty taste comes from many fatty acids and essential volatile oils. As well as flax seeds, poppy seeds are rich with oleic and linoleic acids. Many researchers recommend poppy seeds for digestive tract problems due to their ability to increase the bulk of the food by absorbing water. All this is possible because of the rich amount of dietary fiber.
Rich in B-complex vitamins and minerals such as copper, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc, poppy seeds are necessary for the production of red cells, and for blood pressure.
Pregnant women and children can consume poppy seeds safely. The fact that dried poppy seeds contain small levels of opium alkaloids (morphine, codeine, thebaine) does not characterize them as harmful and dangerous.
Moreover, these opium alkaloids have beneficial effects on human organism and body. They are able to soothe nervous system, and they act as painkillers. Some traditional medicinal systems use poppy seeds in tonics as remedies for coughs.
Are Sesame Seeds Good for Health?
Sesame seeds were one of the first seeds known to human kind, and they were grown widely for both culinary and medicinal usage.
Sesame seeds are obtained from tall sesame plant that belongs to Pedaliaceae family. The plant is very famous in China and India, and one of the important commercial crops in Sudan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. When the soil is well drained and sandy, this plant can grow about 5 feet tall. Soon after the pink-white flowers flourish, the pods appear. These pods contain white, brown, or black seeds, depending on the cultivator type. A single pod can contain up to 100 or more seeds.
100 grams of delicious and crunchy seeds provides 573 calories and 18 grams of protein.
Mono-unsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid is also present in sesame seeds. Due to acids and proteins, they are essential for growth, especially in children. On the other hand, sesame seeds contain folic acid that is essential for DNA synthesis.
Sesame seeds contain sesamol and sesaminol that are phenolic antioxidants. They are necessary for removal of the harmful free radicals from the human body. Rich with B-complex vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, zinc, calcium, iron and selenium, sesame seeds reduce LDL cholesterol and regulate cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.
Some people may experience sesame seed allergy. This is a kind of hypersensitivity reaction that causes itching, dermatitis, and hives. Sometimes this allergy may lead to vomiting, and breathing difficulties, therefore, one should consult with a health care provider.
Are Sunflower Seeds for the Optimum Health?
Due to the linoleic and oleic acid, sunflower seeds are food that can help lower LDL cholesterol. Rich in minerals, and vitamins, sunflower seeds are very beneficial food.
All the health benefits mentioned above indicates how important these seeds are for our organism and body. We should keep in mind their health properties and characteristics.
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Joiner-Bey, H., (2004). The Healing Power of Flax: How Nature’s Richest Source of Omega -3 Fatty Acids Can Help to Health, Prevent and Reverse Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes and Heart. Freedom pr Inc.
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Last article update: 02/13/2019